Whether you’re expecting your second baby or your seventh, I’m a firm believer in a “babymoon,” a time when the world slows down and you enjoy getting to know your newborn baby. The postpartum period is complicated by shifting hormones and sleep deprivation, so a bit of planning ahead can help smooth the way.
Here are a few words of advice from someone who’s done the postpartum thing twelve times:
Don’t get dressed for two weeks. The minute you get dressed everyone thinks, “Oh, she’s back in the game.” Stay in your nightgown and robe, it will give a reminder to them (and you) that this isn’t life as usual.
Use paper goods for meals for a week or two. Even if you have well-trained helpers in the kitchen, using paper plates and cups for a while will take the pressure off in the kitchen.
Use disposable diapers for the toddler for a while. If you’re a cloth diaper fan, that’s great, but give yourself a laundry break for a while and put the older baby in disposables. Cloth diaper the newborn if you wish, but a few days in disposables won’t hurt the older child and it will simplify your life.
Stay home. Again, if people see you out and about they’ll assume that you’re 100% and ready to start teaching Sunday School again. You might want to go for a ride to get out of the house, but please, if at all possible, don’t go grocery shopping!
Put your feet up. Rest on the couch, put up the foot on the recliner, lay down in bed. You can still get some things done while you recline, like reading aloud and checking math or just watching a movie.
Rest as much as possible the first three weeks. If you rest at the beginning, you’ll be better off in the long run. Give your body time to heal. If you do too much at first, you’ll pay for it later. Trust me.
Simplify life. Drop activities, lay out of co-op classes for a semester. Don’t let your newborn live in a car seat because of older children’s activities. It’s okay to have a stay-home season. You may not be able to get out of everything, but I bet your husband can help you find ways to cut way back on activities.
Have some gifts and new toys ready for older children, along with some new movies or special snacks. This is a celebration, so….celebrate!
Get bendable straws and favorite drinks to keep by your side at all times.
Understand that every baby is different. Your feeding relationship may or may not go smoothly, even if you’re an experienced mom. You and your baby will find your way, but don’t be hard on yourself or frustrated with your baby if it takes a while.
Have a couple of soft and stretchy non-maternity outfits ready to wear postpartum. Just the mental idea that they are “regular” clothes will cheer you up.
Take the baby to church in the car seat. It lessens the chance of people asking to hold the baby. If someone asks to hold the baby and you don’t want them to, tell them your husband said it’s flu season (or chickenpox season or whatever season it truly is) and you and he don’t want the baby passed around. Mentioning the husband helps. Stand firm and say no. I caved one time and my 9-day-old baby got passed around to several people and ended up in the emergency room three days later with a fever.
Some of these ideas may not apply to you, so take what you can use and leave the rest.
As a younger mom with fewer children I got up and around earlier, but looking back that wasn’t always the best thing in the end. Some postpartum seasons were easier than others, depending on the circumstances of the birth and the amount of help afterwards.
Whatever the case, enjoy your babymoon and these fleeting moments with a sweet newborn!
What advice do you have? Please leave a comment!