We’ve all heard tales about the exhaustion that parents experience with newborn babies–the sleepless nights, the constant tiredness, and the complete lack of energy. Until you come face to face with the reality of the situation it’s difficult to fully appreciate the toll that exhaustion can take on your body. And this doesn’t just last for days or weeks. It lasts for months.
Newborn babies don’t usually develop a normal sleeping pattern until they’re much older. In the meantime, they tend to sleep in fits and wake up every 1-3 hours. Simply put, their sleeping schedule becomes yours too. What you can do is prepare yourself before the baby comes! Here are a few tips.
1- Like a natural disaster, be prepared
Once you’re in the third trimester live by the following rule: anything that can be done beforehand should be done beforehand. A few weeks before the birth of your baby stay a step ahead and put into place anything you can. Here is a quick list of ideas:
Cook and freeze – In the last 2-4 weeks of your third trimester, try to cook and freeze as many easy meals as possible. Casseroles, lasagnas, pies. Think about anything that can be frozen and unfrozen in small, quick sections.
Make sure all your newborn essentials are in the house -You definitely won’t want to leave home for the first few weeks after giving birth and forget about trying to make grocery runs with a newborn. Stock up on diapers, formula, baby supplies and of course any personal hygiene products you’ll need yourself.
Get your house prepared – Do as much cleaning as possible. Take care of any chores, groceries and household errands in advance because they likely it won’t get done for awhile.
2- Let things slide
Seriously. You won’t be able to manage a newborn baby, a fully cleaned house, cooking three meals a day and doing routine housework. Something will have to be sacrificed, and that’s okay. Your baby deserves all your attention which means that you might need to let things go. Do what you can and make your peace with the things you can’t.
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3- Ask for help
No one tells you just how much work a baby is. You will need help and the best time to ask for it is before the baby comes. Just a few weeks before the birth, it is worth asking your family and close friends if they can pop by once the baby arrives to help. It will give you much deserved breaks.
4- Manage visitors
It’s natural for family, friends, and co-workers to want to come around. But no matter how well-intentioned those visitors are, any visitor brings along with them certain hosting responsibilities which can easily tire you out. So in the beginning, limit yourself to only one type of visitor: those that come with food or those that are there to help out. After you’ve settled into a daily routine and have a better handle on things (usually after 2 weeks) then invite everyone else to stop by.
5- Catch a nap whenever you can and take care of yourself!
Eventually, your baby will fall into a routine and start sleeping for longer periods of time but until then be prepared to take naps whenever you can get them. Even if it’s just 20-30 minutes. Most new moms find it’s easiest to take a nap when baby is also sleeping. Power naps help with exhaustion and lead to less sleep deprivation.
Although your focus is on taking care of your newborn don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Find a few minutes alone time everyday to do something that’s just for you.
Taking care of yourself includes nourishing yourself. Make sure to get the needed nutrition you need to recover from childbirth; this is especially important if you are breastfeeding. Taking a postnatal supplement will be an essential, beneficial part of your postpartum recovery.