Motherhood is rewarding and wonderful, but can also be filled with plenty of stress and anxiety.
Don’t worry too much, all new mums find this time challenging.
Here are just a few of the things you’ll soon understand about raising a child for the first time …
1. Sleeping in the daytime is difficult
The average newborn sleeps a lot more than you do, but they don’t have a set cycle yet. During the first month or so, babies tend to sleep and wake around the clock instead of bedding down for long periods.
This means you’ll need to grab sleep whenever you can. It’s bad enough being woken up so frequently during the night, but sleeping in the daytime is difficult too. Make sure you try to get as much sleep as possible when your baby does – it will get easier.
2. Breastfeeding can be challenging and painful
Babies know how to suckle, but they aren’t born with any awareness of how to latch onto your nipple. You’ll probably spend quite a lot of the first few weeks manoeuvring your baby into the right position.
This is just the start. Your nipples might bleed or crack, and may not drain properly after each feeding. It isn’t uncommon to feel pressure and soreness from a full milk duct, which can lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breast).
3. There’s a fine line between ‘baby blues’ and post-natal depression
You’re picturing post-birth life as blissful and idyllic, right? It certainly can be, but ‘baby blues‘ are remarkably common. This refers to the mood swings and feelings of mild depression that many new mums experience after birth. This includes moodiness, appetite changes, sleeping problems, and difficulty concentrating.
Be aware of how you’re feeling, and make sure you get help if you feel you could be experiencing from post-natal depression.
4. Recovering from the birth itself is physically demanding
Films and TV consistently portray new mums as radiant and glowing after the birth. In reality, this is rarely the case.
It’s likely you’ll feel extremely tired during the first few days, which may be worsened by post-birth complications. Accept help from your social network, and don’t be afraid to take the time your body needs to recover.
5. It can be hard to ask for help
Most new parents feel guilty about asking for help. You’re not alone, and you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to do everything yourself.
After the birth, you’ll be physically and emotionally drained, whilst trying to master the new skills required to look after your new baby. Asking for help might feel like the wrong thing to do, but it never is.
The one thing you’ll truly understand after the birth of your child, is that you’ve just met someone who will be a part of your life forever. No matter the difficulties, remember never to let them outweigh this wonderful new addition to your family.
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