Getting ready for your newborn includes eating whole food, drinking clean water and promoting a positive attitude: eat, drink and be merry!
Take care to understand what your body needs and trust your instincts. That will help you adjust and be more resilient as a new parent.
In the first two weeks, what your body needs is very specific: skin-to-skin contact with your newborn, frequent nursing and napping. Holding your newborn is calming, gets you in synch with your child, stabilizes your baby’s body temperature. And, with frequent nursing in the first two weeks, it helps a mother establish an abundant milk supply. (*If your baby is in the Special Care or Neonatal Intensive Care, nursing, frequent expressing or pumping will help establish your supply.)
You are learning and responding on an new hormonal level and your gut feeling is important information. Around the world, there are many traditions that honor this transition with four to six weeks for recovery. In those first two weeks, at least, follow the Golden Rule of Postpartum.
Two Naps and One Event. One nap in the morning, one nap in the afternoon. At night, you can anticipate more naps. One event means a pediatrician appointment or a friend’s visit, only one each day. That ‘schedule’ will respect your body and mind at this time. You’re less stressed and that builds your resiliency as a parent.
Your child’s birth is, essentially, a major change in your work, your life, your time. In an article about managing changes, Dae Williams, a career consultant, outlined six elements for a successful transition. These are entirely relevant to postpartum.
The six elements are :
• good health
• support at the time of transition
• emotional security
• prior transitional skills
• supportive environment
• economic security
Reviewing previous changes in your life, what worked? What would you have changed? Consider what’s supportive to you now, what else you need. And consider what strengths you have, though you may not see them as such.
The first weeks are like riding a bike. You learn as you continually adjust your balance. Someone can help you with your stability at first. Eventually, these will be easy habits and you’ll be on your way.