Postpartum can be a challenging time for families. It involves recovery from birth, a change in routines, sleep deprivation, learning new tasks, not to mention the introduction of a new family member into your life. I asked some of my previous doula clients for their best advice for new parents, and received in return many insightful replies. Here is my take a postpartum advice. In her words.
"Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things I have ever embarked upon in my whole life! Like with any new thing, there is a learning curve (learning to diaper, feed, understand what each cry means) but the rewards are not even measurable! The benefits begin with things like health, smiles, snuggles, and end with things like hugs, tears, and tugs at the heart strings. The moments only get larger and more precious with each moment of my children's lives! My children, now 9 and 7, continue to teach me lessons and show me love in ways that still make me stop, ponder, and relish their preciousness! I am very thankful for them!" -mother of two
"You CAN survive on very little sleep though it may not seem like it!!" -mother of two
"Stay home as long as you are able to with the baby if you're working parents because you're also adjusting to a new life, having the baby around. My husband took first two weeks off and I took five months off of work. With the newborn, it is very difficult for both of you to get rest at the same time. We felt we allowed ourselves enough time to adjust. Also know that babies grow so quickly, why not spend much time as you can with them? We also co-shared our bed with our baby for the first couple of months, this made it easy for me to breastfeed him as many times as we both woke up. Our baby fell asleep quicker laying on the bed, rather than picking him up to feed him and putting him back to bed. Know that babies will sleep longer hours as they grow, even if you get discouraged! Our baby loved being swaddled, it really works!" -mother of one
"Mamas should remember that it's the first several weeks of nursing that are challenging and then it will become so easy. If you are having troubles seek out a lactation consultant to help. Stay strong, as there are so many who will (and often unknowingly) challenge your decision to breastfeed. Once you and baby get into the swing of things (about 6 weeks) it can be one of the most special memories of their baby days and an excellent start to their nutrition!" -mother of two
"It is okay to be afraid and cry - you will feel much better." -mother of two
"Its okay to ask for help, ask your partner to take over for one hour while you go into your bedroom and sleep. During that time, if the baby cries you are not allowed to respond." -mother of two