Everybody knows pregnancy and childbirth do are exhausting! But what is coming next is not always as idyllic as you thought… I think about… the Baby blues stage for example! But even without getting there, excessive fatigue may trigger the same consequences … I won’t repeat it enough: the keyword when you have just given birth is RESTING!
A Zombie Mom
For my son Noé’s birth (I breastfed for about one year, he is now 10 years old) I experienced very severe fatigue during 3 months. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, discouraged at times by incessant tears and day-and-night meals (one every 30 minutes)… We were experiencing at huge heat wave in France, my baby was thirsty as everyone… My cute new born had turned me into a kind of zombie and I was getting whiter and whiter and severely anemic. I had to find myself in the Dordogne based family house, a few weeks later, supported by my parents and friends to finally recover and get better! Since these days I’ve had so much time to think about my past wrong behaviors… Let me explain…
In Tune With Your Baby
First of all, I tried to do everything well and within the proper rules and it wore me physically and morally a little bit more every day. For Ashley, 6 weeks by now, who is really starting to sleep at night, I have decided to… let go! All babies are different. No two babies are the same! I was upset to find at the hospital (but also in books) so much contradictory advice! I understood one thing that is very important: in most of cases (and when it comes to helping your baby sleeping through the night), you always have to listen to yourself and to your baby’s behaviors first! Basically, the others really don’t care … This is YOUR baby. You are deeply in tune with it!
Do Not Overthink, Check The Diaper, Change The Situation…
When your baby is crying, please don’t overthink… Check the diaper (even a little pee can be very annoying for it). If your baby is still crying, see if it’s hungry. If it’s not too cold or too warm. If it is still crying go on checking just to see if something else tickles. If it’s looking for a sleep the simple fact to be cradled in different arms may help. Putting it in someone else’s arms like daddy’s or sister’s ones may make the difference! Sometimes babies just need a little change in the situation. If you want to know, put your baby to the breast for a few minutes, holding it close to you and cuddling it. If it falls asleep it was just the fatigue that made it cry. If the cries are high it may be a reflux (then hold your baby upright) or a colic (massage the belly in a circle clockwise). You can also take off your bra and start a skin-to-skin session rather than putting it on the breast to feed it again. I’ve learned that constant breastfeeding doesn’t “mess up” your baby, but reassures it that you are able to answer its own needs!
You Can Delegate, Just Check The Abilities…
Make sure the Dad is by your side at least for its first weeks. On my side, this time, the problem did not arise because my husband was a bit injured at his work and he is on sick leave. See if your “better half” can take time off. That’s something every dad should do: take a few days off to meet their baby! Yeah you’re a woman and a mother, fine! But, please, do accept to delegate things to its dad or siblings if you trust them (and if they have never dropped a baby on the floor before!) I admit, us mothers may be very anxious about some people’s mothering abilities…)
The Open Bar Concept
Follow your instincts: you have been given meeting hours for feedings and big theories for sleeping hours in the maternity ward but arriving at home YOU are the only mistress aboard! Personally, I breastfeed exclusively (no water, no supplement, no natural pacifier) and on demand day and night. Yes this is Open Bar! But I am sure that in the next 100 days my baby will be well adjusted with its real needs. The canteen is quiet good and efficient: Ashley weighs 5,140 kg at 6 weeks and since you don’t become obese on breast milk, that’s okay! It becomes strong and solid which soothes my anxieties about the small diseases that are lying around. No Covid at the time I wrote my article… Responding to its needs consistently is not spoiling it at all! It’s just taking on my role as a mom without the hassle and without a stopwatch or scales in my head. No watch, no scale that’s less hassle!
Do Not Try To Fix What Is Not Broken!
Here is a quote from myself: “When baby is fine, don’t change anything!” Baby sleeps soundly? Do not wake it up to feed him (I’m talking about full term babies in good health, of course) don’t change its position (unless it is on its side, its back or not flat) nor its diaper nor stick a pacifier in its mouth… Also, don’t go and give it a hug or a kiss then. If you do, it may wake up and start for an hour of tears… who knows? If you wake it up, you can only blame yourself… Ah, ah! Change the diaper before breastfeeding. Would you like to go to the restaurant feeling dirty? The principle is that when a baby feels fine, it can fall asleep at the breast and sometimes start its night, which means that after that you will not be able to change its diaper for 1, 2, 3 hours or maybe more. So do it well before! Anticipate!
Pillows again and again!
Have a clean and organized queen size bed with everything close at hand and stocked with 2 nursing pillows: a firmer and a softer one with small pearls inside (see below). You will brace yourself more easily to feed. Also have smaller pillows if you feel any part of your body is not resting. Also have: cereals bars, bottles of mineral water, bibs, a towel, wipes and a few diapers, all if you don’t have the strength to move to the changing table. Having just given birth can make you feel insecure on your legs.
Baby falls asleep next to you? I personally let it sleep. I keep it close by wrapping my arm around him. Of course I am tired but not “into a total fog” otherwise it is better to avoid… Baby is crying but you have something to do: put it in its bed in a suitable baby wedge so it does not risk anything. The phone rings, the doorbell rings and you have your baby in your arms? You feel tired? Let it ring, too bad for them! The priority is always your baby’s safety!
A Stroller In The House? Why not!
Think of a stroller with an adaptable cozy. Babies love to fall asleep in baby carriages that adapt to strollers and they are safe there. Baby is looking for sleep: a little stroll around the apartment is often efficient. No need to get out of the car, it’s dangerous when everyone is tired! Baby wants to be rocked endlessly? Consider the travel cot with hammock.In front of the changing table, put a chair for the night. It’s easier to change baby with a little rest. Also have a stock of old bath towels for the changing mat. Buy a dryer because frankly the laundry will follow one another you will see that… Have a large bin with everything you need to wash and care for baby close at hand.
Release The Poo? Ah ah!
Baby has colics after feeding and pushes hard with his legs (red face)? Calm it by rocking it, place it on the changing table (the one with a belt if you ever step away from the table). Run a wipe under lukewarm water and place it on the buttocks, once the diaper has been loosened. Put some absorbent paper on the table and wait … In most cases, this will release the poo that bothers it (beware of breastfed babies, it’s liquid and it’s jets!). You don’t know if it wants to breastfeed? With your pinky finger tickle the corner of the lip. If it tries to grab your finger and follows it with its head spinning, that’s good!
You, In The Morning
-The first two months us mothers usually try to be as homey as our baby and avoid moving too often, until it is pretty much sleeping through the nights. So put the style aside. Tie your hair up, take a short shower before your husband leaves for work or if you have already done so put the baby in the stroller and watch it during your shower.
-For breastfeeding, you need a practical outfit: wide tights, a sleeveless tubular dress (which is easily lowered at the neckline) and a slit sweater is put on the front. Do not leave your creamery (dairy ah ah!) to the wind otherwise you may get a mastitis. Use nursing bras and especially nothing tight or underwired! High risks for blocked duct!
-Under the shower do not soap the nipples but only a little space around … And rinse with water that’s all. Use a simple surgras soap.
-If you spend time in your room with your baby, prepare yourself a thermos of herbal tea and cereals bars. Eat and drink after feedings.
-Put on comfy shoes: small tennis shoes are perfect. Avoid heels, it’s a big deal and when you have baby in your arms a little risky!
You, At Noon
-Eat balanced but easy: use uncooked, unsalted vegetables, vacuum-packed for more speed.
-Anemic? Take iron twice a day because the meat will not be enough to lift you up.
-No time to peel the fruit? Take compotes without various sugars.
You, All Day Long
-Be adaptable and available for your baby: do not count feedings (if baby is full term and in good health), nor sleeps, nor cuddles.
-Carry your baby when it asks for it, it will not “spoil” it but will offer it a kind of confidence
-Sleep when baby is sleeping, whether it is near you on the bed or in his crib.
-Use the stroller if it is crying loudly to fall asleep.
-Go in another room when it cries for no reason: it maybe needs a small change and may fall asleep suddenly after that.
-Identify what fears it or excites it about the house: a wall, a window, a beam, a detail and place it in front of it. It will be fascinated and sometimes even calm down in front of this thing that seems “so new” to it!
You, All Night Long
-If your baby is sleeping in your room: Good luck! Babies even if they sleep make lots of noises like cubs (Grrrs!, Wows!, Zings!, Pff! etc.) Fix your sleep on its breathing and count, you will fall asleep quickly and if baby makes too many weird noises (regurgitation) you will make the difference!
-Still use the chair to sit down during nighttime changes.
-Ask the Dad to change the diaper sometimes so you can go on sleeping!
-Do not give “emergency” breastfeedings. Position yourself fine and respect the baby’s position too: for you that’s Ear-Shoulder-Hip into the same axis! Always!
Feel Free To Send Us Your Own Tips To Recover Faster!
Well guys, these were my little tips! It’s up to you to find yours! Remember every baby is different. Let go of everything you read in books and make sure your baby and you are happy! Be flexible during 100 days. It will give baby time to adjust itself to Day and Night. After 100 days everything will naturally improve even if it hasn’t slept through the night yet. Spending a lot of time with your baby helps to get to know it better, to understand its own personality and to learn its own language.