15 Ways to Combat New Mom Stressby Katlyn Joy | March 28, 2011 12:00 AM
After nine months of preparation and waiting, your little bundle of joy has arrived. You are surrounded with lovely baby gifts, flowers and congratulatory cards. Well wishers have graced your home with regularity. But the moment comes far too quickly when it's just you and baby and you may feel like the baby is the one in charge.
1. If you're nursing, let it set the tempo for your new schedule. Breastfeeding may be a natural function, but as any nursing mom can tell you, it doesn't all come naturally. Enlist the help of a lactation consultant or an experienced nursing mom if anything trips you up. Don't suffer in silence, or tears. You are for sure not the first one to struggle with whatever is causing you nursing stress.
2. Sleep. Sleep some more. Don't ever let guilt creep in, no matter how many take-out meals your spouse eats, or if you can't find a clean shirt to wear. Sleep whenever you can. Becoming a mother is exhausting work. You need some time to refill that energy well and sleep is the most healing restorative thing you can do now for yourself and baby. Newborns can sleep hard. It's a buffer time you must take advantage of. All too soon you'll be trying to catch a quick siesta between the rinse and spin cycles.
3. Eat regular and healthy meals. While you may be grabbing take out meals, you can still have healthy ones. Don't be tempted to skip meals and instead snack on high fat foods. This will make you feel sluggish. Eating a variety of several small meals a day works well with the new mom schedule and is a great healthy routine. Stock up on healthy foods that are quick to prepare and healthy tidbits to snack on. It's as easy to grab a handful of almonds as greasy chips.
4. Limit your regular visitors to people who either boost your mood or lighten your load. In other words, your mother in law doesn't have squatter rights. If she stresses you out and you have to wait on her while she visits and you spend the time gritting your teeth, firmly set a visit schedule. Back down now, and you're done for til graduation.
5. A nice hot shower or bath is not a luxury. It is a mommy right. Grab your spouse, your sibling, the paperboy if necessary. Well, maybe not, but hygiene is not optional. You need to feel clean and refreshed to be a happy mommy. Baby and spouse will appreciate it too.
6. Get some sunshine in your daily life. If you must, go out on the patio for your lunch. If it's pleasant enough, take baby for a little walk at the local park. Both of you will reap the benefit of fresh air and sunlight. Plus it's known to bolster our moods.
7. Make allowances for the baby blues for only a couple weeks. After that, you are dealing with something more than your body reacting to the massive drop off in hormones. Talk to your physician if the blues persist longer than a few weeks.
8. Get moving. Exercise raises endorphins, those feel-good chemicals and losing that post-baby weight will also help your mood. Walking, stretching, swimming and bicycling are excellent options. Even if you can find only ten minutes here or there it will add up.
9. Don't lose your partner. Carve out special time for the two of you to be�a couple not just parents. Make a regular date and get a sitter. Even if you only go for a walk around the block and talk like old times, it's well worth it.
10. Let the housework go. Yep, let it go. Someone is sure to step up and if they don't, well so what? Eventually you'll get back into the swing of things and probably until then a friend or relative or spouse will pitch in. When friends pop in and ask, "What needs done?" Don't smile sweetly and shrug. Point to the vacuum or the dishwasher and thank them profusely.
11. Remember your friends. Call them, visit with them and have your usual get togethers. Maybe not as often but don't desert your special time or your friendships. They will be a lifesaver in the months to come. If your friends are childless, refrain from using the word "baby" in every other sentence.
12. While it may seem counterproductive right now, get back to having sex as soon as you feel physically capable. Sex is a known mood booster and definitely will help you connect back with your partner. It may be awkward the first few ventures back, but it'll all come back to you.
13. Consider some luxury gifts to yourself. Things like your favorite lotions or bubble baths. Be decadent and get a massage. Indulge in buying yourself a pretty new nightgown or a vase of flowers. Having lovely sensual details in your life, especially if you feel more prisoner than princess in your home right now, will buoy your spirits.
14. Have other new moms to confide in. (or vent to or grip at) Make it policy that all of you will be honest. You won't clean your house for hours prior to visits and pretend it always looks that way. You won't lie that the baby always sleep the night and has never blown out a diaper with mustard yellow poop on your lap.
15. Keep a journal and take pictures. While these days may last forever, the months and years will slip by in a breath. Remember all the moments, painful and sweet, in your own words and hand. Capture the images that you'll cry to revisit in such a short time.
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