The first few months following childbirth are demanding on even experienced mothers. Newborns need constant attention while they’re awake and rarely sleep for more than a few hours at a time. Moreover, there are many adjustments to make with a little one in tow. For example, should you and your partner take your newborn with you when you go out to eat? Should you get a babysitter this early in her development? Should you return to work at the end of your maternity leave?
These questions – and many others – make it difficult for a lot of new moms to make the transition into motherhood. Below, we’ll offer some helpful suggestions for smoothing the process.
Encouraging Peace And Quiet (From Friends And Family)
Babies have a way of attracting the attention of friends and family. You may find a stream of visitors dropping in to say hello. They understandably want to see your newborn, congratulate you, and ask whether they can help. One day, maybe soon, you’ll want to take them up on their offer. But for now, enjoying a little peace and quiet with your infant is the priority.
Set the pace and establish your availability – or, lack thereof. Rather than allowing your friends and family to drop by on a whim, encourage them to call beforehand. Ask your partner to help you control the flow of people who visit, and limit visitors to a few per day. If someone has overstayed her welcome, simply mention that you need to feed your baby – in private.
Coping With Being Separated From Your Infant
During the first several weeks, you’ll spend nearly every waking moment with your newborn. Even the few minutes spent taking a shower will seem odd without your little one next to you. When the time comes to leave her for a few hours – for example, to enjoy a dinner out with your partner – the time away may seem unbearable.
Being separated from your baby for the first time may be emotionally agonizing. This is especially true if you’re forced to leave your little one in the care of someone other than your partner. Only time makes it better.
If possible, try to prepare yourself in advance by leaving your baby with your partner for thirty of forty minutes at a time. In the beginning, you’ll loathe being apart from your little one. Eventually, it will seem less distressing.
Taking Your Baby Out To Dinner
Unless you prefer to do so, there’s no reason to leave your little one in someone else’s care when you and your partner go out to eat. Simply follow a few simple tips. First, make sure your baby’s diaper bag is packed full of the items she’ll need. This includes diapers, wipes, a few bibs, her sippy cup, and some snacks in case the restaurant lacks her favorite foods.
Also, call the restaurant in advance and ask them to reserve an out-of-the-way table. That way, you can avoid frustrating other customers in the event your infant begins to cry. You’ll also enjoy a bit of privacy to nurse her if she becomes hungry.
One last tip regarding eating out with your little one: the more time spent in the restaurant, the more likely she’ll lose her patience. Avoid three-hour dinners. Otherwise, the noise and activity of the environment will slowly erode her calm demeanor.
There are, of course, many other issues that will confront new moms. From choosing a babysitter and buying the right foods to nursing challenges and modifying the household budget, new motherhood requires an endless string of adjustments. With time and a little trial and error, you and your baby will adapt.