Congratulations! You’re having a baby, or multiples! The moment you discover your family is growing, so many thoughts cross your mind … baby names, nursery themes, are you going to breastfeed, maternity leave, what hospital or birth center will you deliver at, child care and the list goes on.

Fortunately (and unfortunately), all of these things to ponder tend to trigger a million different opinions and ideas. There are thousands of “how-to” books and videos that will give you all the instructions you need to enjoy successful parenting. And, don’t forget all of your friends and family offering up all the baby advice you could ever need!

So, how do you figure out what parenting style, nursing bra or baby wrap fits you? What do you really need to know about that itty bitty baby and the fourth trimester? (Oh, they didn’t tell you there was a fourth trimester?)

Plan to stay in bed as much as possible! The first two weeks of motherhood should be spent resting. Mum and baby should spend a lot of time getting to know one another, cuddling (skin to skin helps with establishing mum’s milk!) and healing. Giving birth and being born is the hardest work out. Ever.

Breastfeeding. It requires learning, trial and error, tears (sometimes sad tears, but hopefully most are happy tears from “getting it right!”) and support. If mum chooses to breastfeed, she will absolutely need support.

Babies are hungry. Really hungry. And sometimes it seems like they want to do a lot of eating in the middle of the night … for months! Plan to be exhausted. You can’t really change that part (well, maybe you can… keep reading), it’s part of parent initiation. While you are pregnant, you can plan to make sure your family is taken care of in the food department by cooking and freezing meals, collecting take out menus (never a better time to try out those new places!) or having a meal train set up for you.

Swaddling, rocking/swinging/swaying, white noise and maybe some shhhhing… Babies have been used to the same comfy environment for nine months. Re-creating that environment helps calm a crying a baby.

Hire a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula can help with everything listed above, offering evidence-based, non-judgmental advice and support. In fact, mothers who have used Triangle Mothercare doula services report having a faster recovery, more confidence, more successful breastfeeding outcomes, more sleep and less postpartum depression. TMC doulas also can dish out more of these postpartum life hacks!

 

Original post published on:  Wral.com by Heather Smith, assistant director of Triangle Mothercare and a postpartum doula, share tips for caring for baby and yourself once you bring your bundle of joy home. Triangle Mothercare is North Carolina’s first doula agency, founded in 2002.

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