Maybe someone's told you. Maybe they haven't. But whether you know it or not, the first few weeks after having a baby are hard. Bone aching, head spinning, hand shaking hard. Of course, when you gaze into your newborn's milk drunk face after the third nursing that night (and it's only 1am!), you fall in love all over again and think just how worth it the experience is. No one's denying that...but it's still grueling, and us mommies tend to take on way too much too fast. With that in mind, here are a few things to help make your immediate postpartum experience a little bit easier.
1). Plan and budget for take out. Lots of it. Grab some menus from restaurants that are on your hubby's way home from work for easy and convenient pick up. If you're on a budget (and with a new bundle of joy in the house, who isn't?!), plan and set money aside for this extra expense during your pregnancy. Or another budget friendly tip - take a look at your local Groupon or Social Living food deals. You can usually get a meal for half off.
2). While I'm on the subject of food, let's talk meal planning. Make and freeze as many meals as you can before your little one arrives. Talk to your family and friends about bringing meals by, and don't forget the frozen aisle of the store. It may not be the healthiest food in the world but some nights popping a prepackaged meal into the oven is the best you can do. It's ok. Don't sweat about having a perfect diet immediately after birth.
3). Talk to your family and friends about helping out around the house - again, before you give birth. Let them know that you will need help with household chores, cooking and taking care of any older children you may have. Politely let them know that you do not need them to come over and take care of your newborn while you do the chores. Everyone is always excited about the new baby, but the whole point of getting help is to enable you to rest and bond with your baby. (Hint, that doesn't happen if you're doing the cleaning and someone else is snuggling your cherub.)
4). Let the household tasks go. Really. Just let them go. I hate to be the one to break it to you but with the exception of assembling meals, none of the usual tasks you do are essential for survival. No one will die if they wear clothes straight from the dryer. It will be ok if dishes pile up in the sink or, better yet, your trash accumulates with paper plates (although you probably should take that out once in awhile). Sure, the bathroom might get a little grungy - there might a few handfuls of your hair in the sink - but you don't have to clean it every week. Not at first. And your bed? Well, you can just forget about making that sucker - or probably even changing the sheets - for at least the first month or two. No one will die. I promise. If you get stressed over the mess, hop over to Youtube and listen to your new motto - Let it Go.
5). Rest - sleep, preferably. And I'm not talking about sitting in front of the TV while your baby nurses as "resting". I'm talking "sleep when baby sleeps" resting. The worst disservice you can do to your baby, your family and yourself is overdoing it, because not getting enough sleep and over tiring yourself can lead to big problems like postpartum depression or anxiety, foggy thinking, mood swings, plugged ducts, mastitis and other sickies. Your body will let you know if you are taking on too much too fast. Listen to it.
6). If you have the means, hire a maid or postpartum doula to help out for a few weeks. If you are a stay at home mom, you might feel guilty for indulging in such an extravagant luxury but you deserve it. Heck, you need it at first. Having someone to help around the house will enable you to rest more, which will make you a happier, healthier person. If you're on a tight budget, hop on over to my friend Groupon. It often has cleaning services available!
7). Look into how much a grocery delivery is in your area. You might be surprised at how affordable it is!
And there they are. The top seven. I know all these things are probably a lot easier for me to list out than for you to do but take heart. I was once a new mommy, and these tips helped save my sanity (mostly). It wasn't easy taking it easy, but I am glad that someone took the time to hammer these concepts into my head. It made postpartum life so much easier. So do yourself a favor - take it easy at first. It's going to be hard, but you can do it. Grab a take out menu, rest your weary head and let it go.