8 Self-Care Tips for New Parents

http://mommysbliss.com/8-self-care-tips-new-parents/

Imagine sitting up in your bed nursing your babe at 3 am. Quietly looking out the window, while your partner sleeps blissfully next to you.  Your baby coos and finally drifts off to sleep.  You gently place your sweet little baby in the bassinet next to the bed, simultaneously saying a prayer for a successful transfer.  It worked! Now your eyes close.  Dreams enter.  And then, not five minutes later, baby cries and you do it all over again.  Sound familiar?

How about this one?  Home alone with your darling baby.  You offer a bottle.  Baby, with a full belly, spits up between your breasts all the way down to your elastic waistband and you realize that you are desperate for the shower that feels so far away.

I could create a million of these scenarios with a million variables. Older siblings, twins, single parents, visiting family, social pressures, public places, you name it.

As a parent, doula, educator and lactation support person, I hear and see new parents regularly with their shoulders hovering somewhere around ear height.  If not fully at the end of their rope, they are darn close to it.  And why?  My guess is because we are constantly hammered with the idea that babies are more precious than their parents are.  It’s simple really.  We will suffer so our children don’t have to.  Makes sense, right?  They are just babies after all.

But by setting ourselves up in this way, we all suffer, babies too. In the short term and the long.  And, you know what, we know this.  We know that if we are going to take care of others we have to take care of ourselves as well.  We know this because on airplanes, every single time the flight attendant tells us we have to put our own mask on first.  It’s hard though, right?  I mean, how can we put our mask on when we can’t even find it?

(Click link at top to read the rest of this guest post from the amazing Samantha Huggins, Carriage House Birth co-owner and certified intuitive birth doula.)

The Lonely Terror of Postpartum Anxiety

https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/the-lonely-terror-of-postpartum-anxiety.html

(click link to read this really important piece on thecut.com)

I’m lying awake, gazing at the gentle rise and fall of my 3-month-old’s chest. He’s a delicate infant, constantly surprising me with his smallness, like his sister did when she was born four years earlier. In recent weeks, my son has begun stretching out the number of minutes between nursing sessions. He can go for two hours without eating now, or two and a half if I’m lucky. This means I have more of a chance to sleep, at least in short spurts. But every time I drift off, I jolt awake in a sweaty panic.

I am on high alert all the time these days. I tell myself that this panicky feeling is normal — I have a new(ish) baby, after all. But it doesn’t feel normal. I have constant visions of my son suffocating in the night. I think of waking up to his cold body. I spend nights imagining a thousand unlikely, tragic things that could happen to him.

HERE’S HOW TO HELP A NEW MOTHER (ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE DOESN’T ASK)

http://raisedgood.com/how-to-help-new-mother-especially-when-doesnt-ask/

As a new mother, I had a knack for giving the impression that I didn’t need help.

My village lives on the other side of the globe, so it was borne out of necessity, but I wonder if it was more than that. As new (or not so new) mothers, I wonder if we feel as though we’re letting ourselves down if we show that we’re vulnerable. Are we falling short if we admit that we simply can’t do this alone?

That we have one hairy leg because our survival strategies have devolved into shaving one leg one day, and the other the next. And we forgot the second leg…for a week. That we eat breakfast for dinner on a semi-regular basis. And that if one more well-meaning person tells us (as if we’ve forgotten) that we really need to take care of ourselves, we’ll scream.

Because, before becoming mothers we were used to feeling productive. To meeting deadlines. To getting the job done and feeling like a valued team member.

But motherhood shatters that reality. And although it’s bittersweet, thank goodness it does. It softens us. Slows us down. Stops the treadmill of a results driven society, forcing us to reassess what we truly value in this one short life of ours. As parents, we need to redefine success in the context of a journey, with a destination we will never see.

(click to read on raisedgood.com)

The Neonatal ICU Gets a Makeover

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-neonatal-icu-gets-a-makeover-1498443000

Hospitals are taking premature infants out of isolated incubators and into rooms where they can have close contact with their parents.

Hospitals are rethinking the way they care for premature babies.

The traditional neonatal intensive-care unit puts preterm babies—those born before 37 weeks—into incubators in a room with six to eight other infants. But hospitals are starting to realize that premature infants benefit from close physical contact with their parents.

One of the latest NICUs, in Beacon Children’s Hospital of South Bend, Ind., was designed around this idea. There, families can stay together for weeks or months in private rooms that facilitate skin-to-skin contact—also known as kangaroo care—between parent and baby.

(click to read on WSJ.com)

Your baby does NOT need to ‘learn to self-settle’

http://www.kidspot.com.au/baby/baby-development/baby-behaviour/your-baby-does-not-need-to-learn-to-self-settle

If you’re questioning the rightness of your desire to pick up your baby when he cries, or lie beside him as he falls to sleep, read this.

“He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.”
“She’ll never learn if you do whatever she demands.”
“He needs to learn to self-settle.”

These are phrases every new parent is inundated with by well-meaning strangers. Despite the journey to becoming parents being one filled with much anticipation and joyful excitement, we live in a world that seemingly undervalues normal physiological behaviour in babies, and places way too much emphasis on the quest for them to be independent in their own entities. We are warned of creating “bad habits” with our children by being there for them when they need us, and we are chastised for wanting our babies in our beds near us at night time or for feeding overnight.

(click link above to read the rest of this post)

What No One Tells You About Bonding With Baby

http://www.mothering.com/articles/what-no-one-tells-you-about-bonding-with-baby

(click to read the entire article on mothering.com)

If we spend time thinking about it (which we often don’t), most of us believe we’ll transition into motherhood easily. I’m sure lots of women have no problems in those early heady days of being a first time mom. But I’d also be willing to bet that even the moms who look like they were born to smile at their babies (and manage to find time to take a shower) have ups and downs at the beginning.

With the vantage of hindsight, a lot of parents confess that the early days of life with a new baby were hard. Many moms I’ve talked to over the years have had trouble bonding with their babies, a process they assumed would be natural and easy. (I’ve written about my difficulties bonding with my second born here.)

Asking for Help Doesn’t Make You Less of a Parent

http://wellroundedny.com/asking-help-doesnt-make-less-parent-2/

(click link above to read the entire post on wellroundedny.com)

A mom of twins explains why she said yes to every offer.

I was 40 years old when I got pregnant with my twins. Because of my age, I would have been happy to have one baby. Having two was icing on the cake. I was really excited to be a mom. I would daydream about all the fun I was going to have with my babies — what we would do, where we would go. Only joyful thoughts. It never occurred to me to be nervous or that having twins was going to be incredibly hard. I just assumed that I was going to be able to do it. The plan was for my husband to go to work while I stayed home (alone) with the babies and took care of them. Naive? Crazy? Maybe. I like to think I was blissfully unaware.

When I came home from the hospital with my babies (my little guy came home the same day as me, my little girl spent a few days in the NICU and then came home) I was so happy to take care of them. I was happy to feed them, bathe them, hold them and so on. I was running on pure adrenaline.

Within a few days, the adrenaline wore off. I was tired. I was doing all of the feedings (both day and night) and taking care of them for the most part by myself. I thought I could do it all and actually believed that it was my job to do so. I was wrong.