Preventing Mommy Meltdowns – what Mommy should know before the baby comes home.
You walked out of your OB’s office, you were pregnant and so excited. After 9 months you were looking forward to the time when you were able to get back to your “normal” life. You had the baby shower and went on line to get everything you thought you needed. You knew exactly what to do; you read all the books and even went to a great baby basics class. You were ready.
Finally the baby arrives. It is at that point you realize you are now responsible for this new life and surprisingly, the baby is not very appreciative. The hospital staff helped you care for the infant for the first couple of days but now you are home and all your baby does is sleep, eat, poop and cry. You are sleep deprived from the on-going feedings; day and night, night and day. The baby continually demands your attention. You are either feeding, changing or rocking your sweet little one. Your husband is helping as much as he can or he has shut down and is seeking refuge in work. Your hormones are raging, your breasts are sore and you have not slept in days. You can’t remember the last time you showered or even had a good meal. Everyone told you this was suppose to be wonderful. There has to be an easier way.
Drugs probably sound really good right about now! If you find that you need a little medical help with drugs, don’t feel embarrassed. Your OBGN can be very helpful in these times. Don’t be afraid to talk to him and express your fears and concerns.
Please know that you are not alone. Believe it or not, all mothers go through the same feelings of being overwhelmed. I have had desperate mommies confess to me “At this point, I don’t even like my baby.” My heart goes out to them. I know they love their baby, but I also know they are sleep deprived and desperate.
Be prepared, really prepared. Talk to mom’s who have recently gone through this. Join a Mom’s group. Accept suggestions and support from them.
Consistency and scheduling are the two most important things you can do in this process.
Being a Newborn Care Specialist, I talk to new mommies everyday about this issue. Here are some of the suggestions I’ve give them:
Babies need to be on a schedule. Babies thrive on schedules and so do you. You feed them every 3 hours during the day and let them wake up by themselves at night. Bottle feeding should take approximately 20 – 30 minutes and about 30 – 40 min. if breastfeeding. There are acceptable ways to do this and it is extremely important for you to learn how.
Heating the bottles is not necessary. It is possible to prepare a bottle in under 30 seconds so when baby is crying, you are not wasting precious time using a bottle warmer or other means to warm a bottle.
You only have to sterilize bottles when you bring the bottles home from the store. The dishwasher is a great cleaning mechanism after that.
Know how to properly swaddle. This is extremely important. A properly swaddled baby will sleep longer and more peacefully. How great is that!
There is a very workable schedule that will allow you to get a 5 - 6 hours stretch of sleep every night. Learn what that is.
Have a recommended Lactation Specialist on call if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should never cause cracked or bleeding nipples. I would also recommend that you rent a hospital grade *** pump as soon as the baby is born.
Have a non DHA/ARA formula on hand, even if you are going to be entirely breastfeeding. Doing this will take off the extreme pressure of “what if I cannot produce enough for my baby?” or of making a midnight run to the store for formula while a baby is crying with hunger and won’t latch on.
The last thing I would suggest is that if you can afford to hire someone to help you during the night so you can get a good night sleep, you should do that. If you get a good night sleep, you can handle anything during the day.
Having a new addition to the family is manageable. Yes, the first couple of months can be extremely difficult, but with the proper tools and knowledge, you will be able to navigate those times with confidence.
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