I remember clearly the moment of pure terror that my husband and I felt when we left the hospital with our first baby in tow. They were letting us go home with this tiny little person when we had no idea what we were doing. Sure, we had read the books and gone to the antenatal classes, but that was a very different thing to being in charge of a baby. It is safe to say that every new mum feels nervous about taking care of their little one. Here, we will run through some of the biggest stress factors and give you a few tips to manage them.
Is my Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Almost all new moms worry about whether their baby is getting the nutrients they need. Are they producing enough breast milk? What is the best formula for newborns? Should they be feeding more often? Less often?
Babies commonly lose around 7% of their birth weight in the first few days of their life. It is a good idea to get your baby’s weight checked at the end of the first week to make sure they are on track. The easiest way for you to monitor their intake daily is to check that they have five to six wet diapers each day.
My House is a Mess!
You may have been a meticulous housecleaner, or maybe you were used to a bit of clutter. Either way, the washing, dishes, and other household chores are likely piling up more than ever. It is hard to comprehend how much time a tiny baby takes up until you have one of your own. There are two ways to approach this dilemma.
The first option is to ignore the mess. Everyone expects your house to be messy when you have a baby. However, if the mere idea of this is causing you mental stress, then the other option is to try to attack the housework in very manageable five to fifteen-minute bursts. For example, put on one load of washing. Or clean the bathroom sink but maybe leave the toilet for another spare five minutes. It is all about setting realistic goals and expectations.
I Resent My Partner
If you’re raising a child with your partner, it is a pretty safe bet that there will be times when you want to punch them. The urge may be particularly strong when they’re snoring their head off while you get up for what feels like the 29th time that night to feed the baby or resettle them. Some secondary carers also struggle to bond in the same way with the baby or need some time to adjust to no longer being the priority. These feelings are entirely normal. Try to be patient and kind to one another as you navigate this new chapter in your relationship.
Feeling Completely Overwhelmed
When you have a baby, your life is turned completely upside down, so it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed at times. On those days that you think you can’t do it anymore, make sure that you accept help from your friends, family, and partner when it’s offered.
If you have severe feelings of anxiety, unhappiness, and mood changes, and these feelings last beyond the first two weeks, you may have postpartum depression. This condition affects one in ten women and usually doesn’t go away without treatment, so make an appointment to see your doctor if you are feeling this way.
Most of all, mumma – remember that you are doing a fantastic job!