People tend to think babies are gift from god, a bundle of joy, or a little miracle. Yes, they are all of these things and more. However, from a maternity nurse perspective, I feel I have a deeper insight into the reality of what comes after delivery...
These little people can be fussy, sensitive, and challenging! They come with their own individual preferences and unexpected circumstances from being difficult to latch to having trouble sleeping alone. It makes you think: how can something so small and precious, be so complex?!
While learning to adjust to this challenging stage of transition, I always remind parents to be kind and patient with their situation and loved ones.
Here are my top 5 tips for you to remember as you move forward:
1. Be Patient With Your Little One
When a baby first enters the world, it takes time for them to adapt. I encourage you to try to accept that there may be some rough patches. Your baby may not be able to latch, may need to formula feed, and will most likely cry when you bathe or change them. Sometimes you’ll want to scream or cry from the stress, but I promise that you’ll grow to know them best and what they need in each situation.
2. Communicate With Your Partner
Having a baby can be stressful for the whole family, and couples can become quick to judge or complain to one another when they are in a vulnerable state. Remember - It’s not a competition of who is suffering more. You’re in this together and should be operating as a team. If you can make it through this as a team with kindness and patience, you can make it through anything.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself, before you can care for someone else. Moms are especially guilty of burning themselves out, and not taking adequate rest or care during this time. Your body has just undergone many changes and with sleep deprivation, prolonged healing, pain, and mood swings; learning and adapting to a baby can be highly stressful. Your physical and mental wellbeing should be placed at a high priority.
4. Don't Compare (this is a BIG one!)
Try not to focus on what other people are doing or their expectations of you. It’s about you and your partners journey and what best works for your family. Listen and learn from others, but be mindful that everyone’s opinions may conflict – Your nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, family, and friends.
5. Take Baby Steps
There is a process involved with mastering anything in life. It can be overwhelming when we look to the future and wonder how we will get there. If we know the direction of where we hope to get to, then taking things one step at a time always seems more manageable. Parents tend to worry about circumstances that haven’t come to pass. Everyday there will be changes, so I always suggest that you take each day and situation as it comes.
This whole process can be challenging at times, especially with the abundance of information. However, I hope parents can find comfort knowing that at any given moment, all you can do is try your best to make informed decisions, that are going to support your family and infants needs.