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Supporting you through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood
Post natal care
how you might feel
The few days after your baby is born can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, you might experience relief, that your baby is finally here safe and well, joy, that you are at last a mother with a beautiful baby to hold and lots of other positive emotions but you might also feel sad and tired, no make that exhausted, and worried about how good a mother you'll be. The hormones in your body are running wild again and it is more common than not to feel down at times during the first week of your new baby's life especially around day 3 and 4 when your milk will start coming in. Any problems are intensified, like difficulty breastfeeding, and things that you might feel anxious about like bathing or changing your baby will seem like impossible tasks that you'll never achieve without help. I remember before I had my son I thought I was very experienced, there were lots of young children in my family and I wasn't worried about a thing, nappy changing - easy!! Or so I thought, I had never changed a tiny 7lbs 3oz newborn baby's nappy before, and sure I had read all about the first poo, meconium, but I didn't read that it gets absolutely everywhere and that I'd have to change the crib sheets as well as his nappy. I shook like a leaf but I managed it with a little help and the next day I had a little laugh when his daddy had a go. Try not to worry and remember that most first time mothers are going through exactly the same thing. Accept help and advice from the midwives and any experienced mothers on your ward, try to learn from them and you'll soon be taking it in you're stride. A new baby is so tiny and delicate at first that you might be terrified you'll hurt him but practice makes perfect and you'll soon realise that they're not as delicate as they look.
If you find that you are feeling more than just a bit low and that is has gone on longer than two weeks you should speak to your doctor or midwife, don't allow depression to drag on thinking that it will go away, early intervention can help diffuse the problem ignoring it simply means that it will go on for longer. That said, feeling low is perfectly common, the sudden drop of hormones to a more normal level can play havoc with your emotions and can result in lots of tears, anxiety, irritability and moodiness. Once the initial euphoria of becoming a mother has worn off the reality can be difficult to cope with especially when you come home from hospital and there are no midwives on hand. Don't expect it to be easy because it won't be, juggling motherhood and running a house takes time and plenty of practice, ignore the unimportant tasks, no one will expect the housework to be up to date or the washing basket to be empty, accept help when it is offered and use this time to get to know your baby because at the moment that is your most important job. Newborns will need fed and changed at least twice during the night and they don't always know the difference between night and day so the best way to cope with sleepless nights is to nap during the day when your baby does.
After the birth of your baby the volume of you blood is cut by 30%, meaning that a sufficient volume of blood cannot reach your muscles for them to work efficiently, leaving you feeling weak and tired. Remember this and take it easy, it will take several weeks for you to adjust to this enormous change and even simple tasks can leave you exhausted. When my baby was a week old I felt great, I was bored in the house and desperate to take my new son out in his pram so we went to the local shopping centre, big mistake! We were only there for about an hour but it was just too much, I was in tears as we walked back to the car, my body was exhausted not to mention the excruciating pain from my stitches. Don't push yourself try to wait until you're really ready before going out for the day and stay close to home the first couple of times. Your baby, and his shiny new pram will still be there next week and the week after that, there's plenty of time to show him off when you're ready.
The hormones in your
body are running wild
The best way to cope
with sleepless nights is
to nap during the day
when your baby does
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