Preparing for new mum challenges and learning to make confident decisions will help you avoid an over-anxious motherhood. The goal is to focus on what matters to you and your partner, which can be overwhelming when you’re constantly bombarded with loads of information.
Here are some of the more common new mum challenges and tips to overcome them:
As a new mum, you’ll probably feel uncertain about most of the day to day decisions to start with. Is your baby wearing enough layers to stay warm, should you change their nappy now or later, and are they sleeping too much or not enough? If there’s anything left to question, you’ll find it.
Tips to overcome uncertainty:
The only real solution to uncertainty is time, as eventually, you’ll find the things you once worried about are a distant memory and there are many new and exciting things to second guess. This is one of those inherent parts of motherhood that never really fades. There’s also something to be said about following your mothers intuition, maternal instinct, gut feeling – whatever you want to call it. Follow it, it’s often right! You are the expert of your child; no one else knows them better.
The day your baby arrives they carry along with them a suitcase full of hormones, and these tend to stick around for quite some time. In the weeks after having your baby, you’ll probably experience a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and find yourself getting emotional over just about everything.
Tips to overcome hormonal changes:
Although some of these hormonal outpourings can be unpleasant, your body will also receive some good ones too. Research shows that oxytocin is released not only during labour but pregnancy and breastfeeding too, allowing us to cope better with certain situations. Just remember that your body has been through a lot, and things will balance out eventually.
- Sleep Deprivation
The tiredness you’ll feel as a new mother can be overwhelming, and no amount of pregnancy napping can prepare you for it. New babies can wake every couple of hours for feeds and comfort through their first few weeks, and some even more often than that!
Tips to overcome sleep deprivation
Although it can be hard when you’re in the midst of your third wake up call for the evening, do try and remember that this stage will be over fairly quickly. For now, you’re the best source of comfort for this beautiful bundle of joy, so try to take daytime naps when you can. It’s surprising how well you learn to function on little sleep.
Unfortunately breastfeeding is not always easy. Although it may come natural and problem free for some it’s good to be aware of some of the issues you may encounter. Struggles getting baby to latch correctly, cracked nipples, engorgement, or possibly mastitis in the first weeks and months.
Tips to overcome breastfeeding concerns:
If you find yourself having breastfeeding issues, seek help from a professional lactation consultant through the Plunket website. They can completely change your breastfeeding journey for the better! It’s best to see them as soon as possible when issues arise. The solution could be as simple as changing your babies latch. The joys of breastfeeding are so worth it if you can push through the struggles. The process of breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which is a love hormone that promotes bonding between mum and baby. What's more, your baby will be calmed by the simple smell of your breast milk.
Although you might be surrounded by loved ones, it can still be a somewhat isolating time. New mums are alone during night feeds, they’re alone in thoughts about their baby, and they’re alone in this mammoth new role as a new mother.
Tips to overcome feeling lonely:
Never be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from friends, family, or health care workers. Accept help from that friend who offers to fold washing, cook meals or someone asking to hold the baby so you can enjoy a hot shower or a relaxing bath in peace. Antenatal groups can also be a very supportive safe place/group to share your journey with. It’s sometimes nice, knowing you are not the only one up throughout the night.
Whether it comes internally or you’re feeling pressure from someone else, it can feel overwhelming as a new mum. Everyone has an opinion on how things should be done, and they’ll want you to follow their advice closely.
Tips to overcome pressure:
Although people mean well, the best thing to do with unwarranted advice and pressure from outsiders is to ignore it, plain and simple. Smile and nod on the outside and let it pass over you like a wave, as there’s no need to add any more stress to this already challenging time as a new mother.
- Post Pregnancy Body
Your post pregnancy body may be a bit of a shock to you. For weeks, sometimes months after birth, you may have a protruding stomach, be carrying extra fluid, and your breasts may be doing some pretty weird and wonderful things too!
Tips to overcome post pregnancy body
Treat yourself to some items that can help you embrace your post pregnancy body. Luxurious maternity bras, comfortable pants, and beautiful breastfeeding tops can add a bit of style to an otherwise frumpy time in your life. But most importantly remember the journey your body has been through, the incredible life it has just created and accept that your body has changed and you are still beautiful.
Motherhood is a wonderful and exciting time full of challenges. No one ever said this motherhood gig was going to be easy, so the number one thing to remember is to be kind to yourself.
Don’t forget to include your partner! As women, we tend to try and take on everything ourselves. But there are so many things you can allow your partner to do. Give them a chance to change a nappy or give a bottle - you'll probably discover they're pretty good at it!
Eventually, you’ll learn how to tackle these challenges, often just before the next one pops up, so just enjoy the ride as it won’t be long and you’ll be hearing yourself say those words we’ve all heard, and it’s so very true … “They grow up way too fast!”