New moms may have no idea what they will face after giving birth. They may have heard other moms' stories, but they won’t be able to understand unless they’ve experienced them firsthand. The first few months will be the most challenging part of caring for a newborn. New moms can be overwhelmed and exhausted as they encounter new daily experiences. Some moms may find it hard to adjust, but as they go on each day, they begin to adapt and cope with the changes. So what are the new mom struggles that you should be aware of? And how do you cope with those struggles?
Breastfeeding can be challenging
Everyone has advised you to breastfeed your baby to have good health. It may sound easy at first, but as soon as you have tried it, you may realize that it can be pretty challenging. Baby feeding struggles include not producing enough breastmilk, sore leaking nipples, and being able to be available 24/7 for your baby.
To make it easier, learn how to latch your baby right, and if you are having more difficulty, you may consult with a lactation consultant. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and rich protein foods that can help increase your milk supply. Have a comfortable place for breastfeeding, have a comfy chair, nursing pillow, clothes, etc. And if you are outside, have a breathable, light nursing cover. If you are away from your little one, get some suitable breast pumps and the proper milk storage and have your milk appropriately stored and use it when needed. For breast milk leaks, you can wear clothes that can protect you from leaks or wear a breast pad.
Your body needs time to heal, so do not rush on weight-loss diets or exercises. Give yourself time to recover and regain your strength. If you had an episiotomy (procedure during normal delivery), the wound might take up to two weeks to heal, but the area around the incision may take six weeks. A way of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is by doing Kegel exercises. Ask for a doctor’s advice before starting any exercise.
Make sure to follow your health provider’s advice, eat healthily, have time to rest, and take your medicines on time. Contact your doctor if you have signs of infection like fever or if the incision hurts with a pus-like discharge.
If you underwent cesarean delivery, the abdominal incision healing could take up to six weeks. Rest if you can, especially when the baby sleeps. Support your belly when you do certain activities like nursing your little one. Stay hydrated, and drink plenty of water. Do not lift heavy things. Clean your wound every day. Check for signs of infection like having a fever, swelling, or redness, or any discharge at the incision site.
Less time for yourself
You may never have expected that caring for a new baby requires all your time and energy. You may be missing the freedom to do the things you love. Staying late at night, watching your favorite TV series, reading your favorite book, taking time in the shower, and getting enough sleep is far from happening now. Still, the role of being a new mom and caring for your newborn does not need to be complicated.
Adjusting to the new role may take some time, and you are not required to learn everything in a snap of a finger. But what you can do to make it easier is to change your mindset and actions. You have to embrace motherhood and accept that you are no longer alone. You do not think just for yourself, you must include your little one in everything you do. You can find ways to still include your old life in your new life with a baby. Celebrate small wins, and break from a routine once in a while. Challenge yourself to some complex tasks with your baby, and celebrate and be proud of your accomplishment when you finally do it.
The pressure of being a new mom
Today’s society can pressure new moms to do things perfectly. Mothers may also fear being criticized by family members, mom friends, etc., for choosing their parenting style, how they raise or care for their newborn, and even for being a stay-at-home or a working mom. Many can mom-shame you, compare your baby to their babies, and you can ignore them. Protect your mental health and believe in what you can do. The perfect parent does not exist, and we are all trying our best and learning from our mistakes. Disregard what other people think and instead listen to the advice of experienced mothers. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. Focus on your own personal growth as a parent and never compare yourself to others. In case no one tells you, you are, and you will always be, a great mom.
Too much worry
It is natural for us to worry, especially when something seems to be off with our babies. It is our duty to keep them safe, and we feel responsible if they are gassy, not feeling well, or if something happens to them. Since our little ones can only communicate through crying, we tend to assume the worst, causing us to panic and stress out.
If something bothers you, talk to a mom friend and share ideas or interventions on how you can help your little one. If it is about your baby’s health or emergency, it is best to contact a pediatrician.
It is also essential to observe yourself; if thoughts of uncertainty are always present, causing mental exhaustion, and if these thoughts are already affecting your daily life. Know the signs of anxiety and postpartum depression. Do not be ashamed or afraid to consult a mental health expert or talk to a postpartum support group. Anxiety and depression should not be a topic to be avoided, nor should they be a stigma. Remember that your baby needs a dependable mom who is physically and emotionally healthy.
Lack of Sleep
Meeting your newborn’s needs 24/7 can lead to fatigue and lack of sleep. You have to feed them every 3 to 4 hours, change their soiled diapers and help them soothe, etc. You must learn to adjust to your baby’s sleep and wake times to make it easier. Have some rest if your baby sleeps. Ask your partner for assistance. You can have shifting schedules to care for your newborn. Other than that, eat healthily, exercise, and ask for help so you can take a rest.