I’ve done the whole postpartum thing four times now, and let me tell you, it isn’t easy!
Those first 6 weeks after childbirth can feel like a strange Twilight Zone.
Your hormones are out of whack, you suddenly have a baby to take care of, and you’re trying to figure out how adding a child to your life is going to work.
Well, that time doesn’t have to be miserable.
Here are my 6 tips for surviving the first 6 weeks after childbirth.
How to Survive the First Six Weeks After Childbirth
This one is the most important. The best thing you can do for yourself after having a baby is communicate with everyone around you. Talk to anyone who will listen- your husband, your parents, your children, your nurses, or your doctor.
For those times that you need to talk but no one is available, read a good book.
I know that the thing that helped me get through the postpartum period was being able to vent to my friends and to my husband about how scared I was feeling, or how sad I felt about the last chapter of my life being over. I always felt better after just talking to someone. Talking about life can also be a key in preventing postpartum depression.
2. Pain Management
You’re not going to enjoy the postpartum time if you are miserable and in pain. Don’t try and be a hero and suffer through it without medicine if you really are hurting.
I learned this the hard way with my first child. I tried to tough it out for those first couple of weeks after having my baby, and I was miserable. With my second kid, I had learned that being in pain does not make for a happy and well-adjusted mom. So I took the prescribed pain medication, and I ended up enjoying things a lot more.
3. Long Term Perspective
Let’s be real. Sometimes you have to remind yourself in those first six weeks after childbirth that everything that’s happening to you is temporary. Yes, your child is now a permanent fixture of your life, but everything else – the pain, the uncertainty, the crazy emotions – is temporary.
You’ll be back to feeling human again before you know it. Your family will fall into a rhythm on its own in no time. And while that 6-week mark seems so far away, it really goes so fast. So just breathe and get through it!
4. Special Time with Your Kids
Having my second child was a lot harder than having my first! I felt so guilty for the first couple of weeks because I was spending so much time with the baby instead of time with my son like I always had. But what I came to realize is that this is a special time with both of my kids. Those first six weeks are the best time to snuggle up and just enjoy how much your new baby needs the comfort of you simply being there.
This is also a special time for older kids. Let them spread their wings. I’m sure that your kids will pleasantly surprise you just like mine did. Just be sure to take time for your older children. Whether it’s a five-minute story during a brief baby nap, or a mom and child walk around the yard to get some fresh air, make those extra few minutes here and there for your older children.
5. Take It Easy on Yourself
I’m one of those moms that thinks I can do everything all the time. And there was no exception to that during those for 6 weeks after giving birth. Even though I could barely walk, I still felt like I had to cook, clean, and be a perfect mom and wife and friend. Let’s all laugh together at how crazy that is! You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, and even trying in those first 6 weeks after having a baby is going to drive you and the people around you nuts.
During this time, take it easy on yourself and just do what you can do. If that means that the kids cereal and fast food for a couple weeks or that you stay in the same pajamas for 3 days straight, then that’s okay! Just survive. Don’t worry about your house, your family, or even your body. All of those things are going to get right back to where they should be in good time.
And if you need time to relax, take it! Put your baby in a great baby bouncer and do what you need to do to let off some stress. Be kind to yourself, whatever that looks like.
6. Rest and Enjoy!
One last note: rest and enjoy this time. Please remember that your baby will never be this small again. They’ll be rolling, crawling, walking, and talking before you can even blink your eyes.
Take this time to really sit back, rest, and enjoy what you have in front of you. Take the time to look at their tiny little toes, the way they curl up their little fist, and the way their lashes rest on their chubby cheeks when they’re sleeping.
You’ll survive the first 6 weeks after childbirth. And while it might not seem like it in the midst of it, it’s a time that you’ll actually treasure the rest of your life.
About author Becky Hunt: I’m a mother of 4 children and I’ve been changing diapers for 23 years! Seriously…which is why I call myself an Experienced Mommy – the name of my blog =)