For most pregnant women, it is often the thought of the birth which preoccupies their mind. However, the birth is really only just one part of the incredible journey that you will face becoming a new mother. It is of course extremely important to be well prepared both mentally as well as physically for the birth, however it is also incredibly important to have support mechanisms in place for the first few weeks after the birth, so I wanted to share my top tips for new mums.
Those first few weeks can be a physical as well as emotional rollercoaster as a new mum may experience joy, exhaustion, euphoria, anxiety and incredible love all in the same hour let alone the same day! It is now estimated that up to 20% of women find this experience so overwhelming that it leads to deeper challenges such as post-natal depression. As so many women are no longer living in close-knit communities where they have tremendous support both physically as well as emotionally from women around them, it is even more important to have support mechanisms in place.
15 top tips for new mums
I remember those first few weeks with my first son so vividly. Even though I have an amazing husband and family, there were still so many times that I felt lonely, overwhelmed, exhausted, confused and challenged. So here are a few of my tips for new mums about things you can do / plan to have in place during those first few weeks after birth:-
- A support group – join as many local support groups as possible such as the Positive Birth Movement, NCT groups, La leche league, BabyCalm, mother and baby toddler groups, baby massage groups.
- Create an “I’m an amazing woman!” play list – choose all your favourite, inspiring, uplifting music that just makes you FEEL good. Every time you feel a bit low, anxious, daunted or exhausted then put that on and see how amazing it makes you feel.
- Plan daily outings – make sure that every day you have at least one outing planned – even if it is just to the supermarket. Knowing that you are not going to be in the house or alone all day gives you something to look forward to.
- Find a “new mum” buddy – either in real life or on social media and agree to contact each other daily to have a chat, a whinge or share of how things are going with your baby. it can be so nice to have someone else to share things that you are going through.
- Treat yourself – spend some of your precious energy looking after yourself, taking a long bath when your baby is sleeping, binge watch your favourite TV series, having your hair cut or a massage, reading a trashy (or not so!) book – I read three Penny Vincenzi novels back to back – mostly whilst breastfeeding or whilst my baby was a sleep in my sling and I had no energy to move!
- Make your food a priority – how you are coping physically and emotionally can be really helped by eating well. If you have the energy pre make a load of meals for the freezer before you give birth or accept an offer of meals from friends or family. After your baby is born treat yourself to great food, lots of nutrient rich fruits and veggies and even buy in healthy ready-made meals
- Prepare or buy a load of positive affirmations about you as a strong woman and you as an amazing mother then read these or put them up to keep you motivated and inspired.
- Don’t be a super hero! You may have been a superwoman in your life before your baby but you don’t need to be one now – take any help that is on offer, forget the hoovering or the dusting, watch day time TV
- Plan as many hugs as you can! Being hugged when you are feeling tired, exhausted or emotional can be such a release. It helps you feel supported, loved, heard and cared for. it also helps release oxytocin which helps you cope so much better with the challenges as a new mum.
- Do some exercise with your baby – wrap your baby in a sling and go for a walk, join a yoga baby class, join a mum and baby dance class – it is a great way to get exercise, get out of the house, and to meet other mums.
- Join social media groups – these are a great way of getting support 24 hrs a day – however remember that not all advice will be right for you.
- Be kind to yourself. Allow the emotions to come, allow yourself to have a good cry, accept your vulnerability, feel OK asking for help, allow yourself to talk about your worries
- Take time to actually enjoy everything you are experiencing – the good the bad and the ugly. It is such a short time in your life and a time that you will never have again so even when you are exhausted, take a moment to really think about how it is feeling, what you are experiencing so that you can cherish this time.
- Laugh! often when you are in a tough situation people say “we will look back on this and laugh one day” – well why not laugh about it now. so if you are covered in baby poo, have not brushed your hair all day, still in your pyjamas, are drinking cold tea then stop and have a good laugh! Watch some of the comedy channels, dig out you favourite old comedy DVDs, and read a funny joke book. laughter releases stress relaxes your muscles, boosts your immune system and improves your mood
- Relax and use Hypnosis – One of the ways that has helped me deal with all the challenges in life is to actively take time to relax and use hypnosis. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will be aware of my hypnosis tracks to help during pregnancy and birth. If not then here are a few of the words from women who have listened to my Fast Postnatal Recovery – Audio track, explaining how it helped them cope in the first few weeks of mother hood.
“I had to write and let you know what an amazing impact the postnatal track has had on me. This was my third child and with the other two I suffered terribly from post natal depression – each time it went on for well over a year. I had planned not to have any more kids as the depression had been so bad. I then got pregnant by accident with Chloe – I was petrified that I would have to go through the PND again.
I then heard about your hypnobirthing range and decided to give them a go (the other 2 births had been pretty awful as well so I wanted anything that would help). I listened to the tracks as much as I could and went on to have a really positive birth – so different from the others. However, for me, the main effect as been post natally. I started listening to the postnatal track as soon as I could on the post natal ward – the others thought I was a bit weird! Amazingly, I felt really great after the birth and bonded straight away with Chloe. I had not even thought I would breast feed, but something in me felt like giving it a go (I am still breast-feeding now – 3 months on). I carried on listening to the track when I got home, whenever I had a chance, and even though I still got really tired, none of the depression came back. Thank you so much – words can not express how wonderful it is to feel normal and to even enjoy those first few weeks with my daughter. ” Camila
“The postnatal recovery track was a tremendous help after James was born. I am so much calmer this time round and have actually found breastfeeding enjoyable! Because I am so much calmer, he is really chilled out to. Many thanks and make sure everyone hears about these tracks!” Jay
“After the delivery I listened to the postnatal recovery track – fantastic. My feet have not touched the ground since she was born and I am sure my sanity is down to the hypnosis. It helped me with relaxation, breast feeding and being able to juggle a new born and 2 small children, running a house and being a wife.” Natasha
“I had such a great birth that I forgot about the postnatal track until a week after the birth. When I then played it, it was so lovely to get back into that “zone” that had really helped me during my pregnancy. Since then I have played the track loads and Abbey just loves it – she always seems to calm down and often falls asleep when I have it on. I feel a lot more confident about breastfeeding and am actually beginning to enjoy it” Helen
“This was the fourth Natal Hypnotherapy track I have used from their range and I found it amazing helpful. As this was my third pregnancy I wasn’t so concerned about the birth but was worried about how I would cope afterwards with three children especially as I had suffered with depression after previous births. I listened to the postnatal track almost every day for the first six weeks which not only enabled me to have a proper rest but also gave me loads of encouragement. The track itself has the same music and style as the rest of the natal hypnotherapy range and so can be used as part of the series or on its own and all you have to do is relax and listen to it. It was just what I needed and I can’t believe the difference between how I feel now with a four month old baby and how I felt at this stage with my previous children. I have been able to stay very calm and relaxed during the first few months after birth and as a result have a very calm and relaxed family”. Chloe
Click here to find out more about the Postnatal Recovery track