In Germany, a new mother gets 10-30 midwife- home visits, paid for by health insurance. Although we don’t have this service in the United States, moms can still ensure a wonderful postpartum experience by preparing early on. While the big event, the baby’s birth, is itself only one day long, the postpartum period goes on for weeks. After 15 years of visiting the homes of new parents, I can say that getting ready for your baby’s first few weeks ahead of time can make newfound parenthood that much less stressful. Here are 5 ways you can get used to living with that little bundle of joy:
Catch up on your zzzs
Your little one is at last quietly lying by your side. This is the perfect opportunity to get some of your own well-deserved rest - those emails and dishes can wait. The first rule for new moms is: sleep when your baby sleeps. Running off that initial rush of endorphins is exciting, but no less exhausting. Once you have mastered getting your daily 8 hours of sleep, you can start staying up when the baby is sound asleep.
Remember, you don’t have to do it alone
Being a new mom can be a grueling experience. Hiring a postpartum doula can offer welcome supported during the first weeks after birth, giving you time to both tend to yourself and your new baby. A postpartum doula lowers the risk of postpartum depression, helps make breastfeeding more successful, and gives both you and your partner much needed rest while your doula runs errands or prepares a healthy meal.
While it’s great to pre-cook and freeze that chicken soup- you will have a lot of questions after birth that your postpartum doula can answer, even when she is not visiting you that day!
Don’t worry, be happy
While being worried about your newborn is normal, make sure you chat with a professional to ease your worry and make sure you’re not frowning too much - whether it’s your pediatrician, your postpartum doula or a lactation counselor. You might ask yourself if you should sign up for any baby-classes yet (no), if your baby can be carried in a sling (yes) and if those squeaky sounds of your little one while being asleep are normal (yes). Book a new moms group to meet other new moms and babies to socialize with!
It’s not a competition
Every birth is special in its own way, and it would do no good comparing yours with your friends’ and wishing for that ideal experience. If it happened to be rush-hour on the delivery floor when you arrived, you can still make a good story of it. Still have questions about childbirth ed, where to take the best class, and what is included in the package? Contact Stephanie at the New York Doula and she'll be happy to explain more!
Take advice wisely
Once you have a newborn you will receive a lot of advice, whether it’s from your doula, your pediatrician, your in-laws who know “that one special trick” or neighbors (“trust us, we’ve done it all before!”). Make sure you take everything with a grain of salt and follow the advice from a few you trust – especially professionals like your doula or pediatrician. There are many different ways to raise a baby, but you only need to find and heed the one that suits you most. And most importantly, trust your instincts! Don’t ever do anything that you don’t feel is good for you or your little one.
If you ever need another helping hand, contact us for post partum help. We have amazing packages tailored to the needs a new family has and we leave you strong, empowered and rested after a home visit.
More information on home visits here.
Stephanie Heintzeler is a German educated midwife, acupuncturist and US-educated doula and Lactation Counselor. She offers private counseling and doula services during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum stages.