For your baby to be safe, it’s important for mommy to take care of herself. For new moms, with sleep deprivation, the steep learning curve and life’s regular demands, it can be hard to slow down and spend a little time focusing on yourself. The dividends, however, are a great reward, not only to you, but to your baby and the rest of your family as well.
Social Isolation: When you first have your baby, everyone will want to get a peek, but that soon drops off for everyone but the grandparents. You may find that some friends without children may no longer have as much in common with you now that you're a new mom. You will also become a slave to your baby’s schedule - eat, sleep, change, eat, sleep, change, play, eat, sleep, change – making it hard to schedule social time.
What to do? One of the best tips for a new mom is to find a playgroup, a group of other mom’s with babies who you can share ideas and experiences. Many are available through local organizations and hospitals. If you don’t have one in your area, you can try to find one online through meetup.com, yahoo groups or google groups.
Another tip is to visit the local library or bookstore at story time. You’re sure to meet other mom’s who could use a little social stimulation as well. Be open and invite her for a cup of coffee at a local shop. These people know what you’re going through and can develop into your best friends.
Post-partum Depression: People talk about the baby blues and it’s normal to have a variety of emotions after your baby is born. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and the total change of focus and routine in your life can definitely get you down, but generally it passes within a few days to weeks. Post-partum depression however is much more serious.
If you’re feeling a lack of joy in your life, having difficulty bonding with your baby, withdrawing from friends and family or having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, seek medical attention right away. Over 10% of all moms experience post-partum depression. It’s a medical condition involving the brain, not a reflection on your character or your parenting, and it is very treatable. For your own safety and for that of your baby, new moms need to take the signs seriously and get help if you need it.
Back and Body Pain: Even though your little one is only a few pounds to start with, because new moms are not used to carrying a little one, not to mention the mountains of gear they require, you may experience back or body pain. Sleep is great to help renew your body, so sleep when your baby sleeps.
Carrying baby in her infant car seat can be tempting when you don’t want to disturb baby, but it can wreak havoc on the rest of your body. Consider using a baby sling or carrier that keeps baby close to your body instead. With both my children, I spent a fortune at the chiropractor’s office. Do your best to spare yourself the pain and expense by thinking ergonomically about the ways you carry baby.