Congratulations! – you’re back home with your newborn baby! And hopefully you’re not short of offers of help in your postnatal period. Here are some tips for making that help work for you – and for the people offering it…
Tiredness after childbirth, frequent neck and lower back pains in your postpartum body, lack of self-time and stress of the first year of parenting. Are there any mothers who can’t relate to that?
Understandably, new mums feel the pressure of the responsibility that comes with motherhood. 43% of mothers that we questioned (BeHappyMum survey, 2014) felt their lives didn’t belong to them anymore. Also, six in 10 of our mums (63%) said that motherhood had made them more stressed, with mums with two or more children being a shade more stressed. However, how many of us actually ask for help during this challenging postnatal period?
Friends and family can be a fantastic source of help for new mums in their postnatal period. But their idea of help may not match yours – and you may be too tired or embarrassed to tell them! Follow our handy tips for getting the best help from the people that LOVE YOU.
She’s probably the first person you’ll turn to for help in the first few weeks of motherhood.
And because she’s your mum, you’ll be comfortable asking her to do pretty much anything! But even if your relationship is more formal, don’t forget that you’re her child and the mother of her new grandchild, and she will want to support you.
So don’t be afraid to ask her to do the things that REALLY help you most, like cooking or giving you time to sleep – it’ll be a bonding experience for you both.
And don’t feel embarrassed by asking her to look after you – you’re still her baby, after all!
Most of us will agree that, like her or not, it’s a whole different ballgame accepting help from your mum-in-law than from your mum!
Her well-meant advice may feel more like criticism and you could find it hard being around her all day in your postnatal period. So if you don’t want to be in her company 24/7 why not ask her to look after baby while you take some valuable me-time?
You could escape to a leisurely bath, take a walk or a 5 or 10 minute workout (after your six-week check). And she gets to spend time with her new grandchild and get used to being a gran – result!
Most partners are only too willing to provide love and support in those first few weeks, but can often feel sidelined by mums and other female helpers.
So do make sure your partner gets a fair crack at the childcare as well as tea-making, holding the bath towel and binning used nappies – it’ll help him feel involved and you’ll be getting help at the same time.
Leaving your partner at home with a baby can be less stressful for him if you download our PlayMama app with early learning games on his mobile phone that help the time fly quickly (there is no more questions like ‘What to do with a baby?’), entertain your child and develop their early years skills.
It’s also important that the two of you spend time alone with your new baby, to bond and to celebrate the new life you’ve created together…
It’s easy to lose touch with your friends in those busy first few weeks of your postnatal period. But they’re a wonderful source of advice on the realities of new motherhood, as they’ve been there themselves so recently.
Whether it’s advice about the mysteries of your new baby or the mysteries of your post-baby body, we’ll bet they can help – and you’ll end up having a good laugh too! Not to mention catching up with the latest gossip…
Though they may approach small babies with caution, your childless friends will probably be happy to take your older children off your hands for a while – something that friends with children don’t have the bandwidth to do.
And we bet they’ll be delighted to take you out on the town when you need to remind yourself you still have a life!
(Because me-time = happier mum…)
It’s important that your older children feel valued when a new baby comes on the scene. So giving them their own jobs to do is a real win-win – it boosts their self-esteem and helps you out too!
They can choose baby’s clothes, help out at bath and changing time by handing you things, and can also be given little jobs around the house like sorting washing or clearing the table (depending on age, of course!).
The older one was waiting for a little to come and play with them. They need to be reassured that this moment will happen soon. And how about giving them the privilege of baby’s last kiss before bedtime?
And how about giving them the privilege of baby’s last kiss before bedtime?
Sometimes, even your friends and family can’t help you with some of those new mum problems.
But don’t worry, there are many sources of expert help – and no matter what your concern is in your postnatal period, they’ll have heard it all before. There’s your own healthcare team, of course, as well as the NCT and other charities – a web search will give you plenty of leads.
And don’t forget the variety of apps out there that can help
Remember, accepting help is part of BEING A GOOD MUM – because it gives you quality time to spend with your baby, and on yourself. All of which makes you happier, healthier and more connected with the people who love you. How good is that?!