If you’re lucky enough to have a partner who scored some time off alongside you for parental leave, you may feel a rise in pressure as the time creeps closer to them returning to work. As you’ve been blissfully enjoying the early days of baby gazing and sharing the load, having one half of the team suddenly be whisked back to reality can be tough to manage.
All of a sudden, it’s just you and this lovely bundle of joy, and you may be feeling downright terrified. However, these feelings are completely normal and necessary for survival. Try to think of them as your honed maternal instinct kicking in and preparing you to do the very best job you can to take care of your little one.
So, what can you do to lighten the load and make things easier for yourself?
Reach Out to Others
As a new mum, it can become very easy to isolate yourself once your partner goes back to work. Sometimes the stress of packing the car and getting a crying baby into a capsule is enough to keep you indoors forever, so try to take it one step at a time.
Begin by doing just one thing each day, even as simple as a five minute stroll in the pram, to get you moving and out of the house. When you’re feeling up to it, have a look at local mothers’ groups or playgroups where you can meet like-minded parents, and keep an eye on social media for events happening near you.
Not only is it great to find someone you can talk to who understands what you’re going through, but it can help pass the time each day so you’re not sitting around, watching the clock and waiting for your partner to walk in the door.
Go Easy on Yourself
As great as it would be for new babies to come with their own written schedule of when to expect feeding, sleeping, and pooping, the reality is anything but. In the early days especially, it’s all about learning to adapt to your new life with a baby, and so is the baby!
One of the easiest ways to calm and connect with your baby while also getting things done is to invest in a baby wrap or carrier. Studies have shown that wearing your baby results in less crying, and an increased bond between mother and child.
Although you might think it’s important to fold the washing or get an early start on dinner, if they’re causing you stress these are things that can wait. Just worry about getting yourself and the baby fed, catching some sneaky sleep when you can, and enjoying the time that you have with your little one.
Make Time for You
It might sound like an oxymoron when you have a new baby, but you still need to make an effort to show yourself a bit of love each day. Something as simple as a hot shower can feel like a day at the spa when you have a new baby, so wash your hair and lather up when you can. Try to put the baby in their bouncer and seat them in the bathroom so they’re in view, and let the hot water work its magic.
Little things can help improve your mood, so find what works for you and try to spend a few minutes each day doing it. Some might like to put on a little bit of makeup, others spend five minutes relaxing and meditating before the day begins, or take a brisk neighbourhood walk. It all depends on what boosts your spirits.
Don’t Listen to the Negative Voices
As soon as you have a baby, it seems that everyone suddenly becomes an expert on how things should be done. Prepare yourself to hear a lot of “back in my day,” in the early stages. If you didn’t ask for suggestions or help, this unsolicited advice can take its toll on you pretty quickly.
Rather than getting upset with those offering suggestions, just give a polite smile and nod then change the subject. Quite often people are just trying to be helpful, no matter how frustrating it can sound.
Ask for Help
The first few weeks of motherhood can be an emotional roller-coaster. One minute you might be smiling with joy and the next you’re sobbing uncontrollably. Keep an eye on your emotions and if you find that the hard times don’t seem to be getting any easier you might want to speak to someone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. People are often just waiting for a chance to lend a hand. Remember that every baby is different and as their mother, you will be the most in tune with what they really need, so have confidence that the journey will get easier.
We have a great range of tips and suggestions here on the Peachymama website, and invite you to browse them at https://www.peachymama.com.au/