As ready as you will be to leave the hospital and get home after delivery I want to give you a little bit of advice beforehand so that you can maximize your maternity leave as much as possible. If this is your first baby it is going to be an exciting, and big change, for you and your husband. It’s totally a life and relationship change. It’s not just about you two anymore, and no matter how long y’all have been together it’s a whole new lifestyle that you both aren’t use to.
1) Be Patient With One Another
You will be sleep deprived and maybe easily aggravated come the 4th-5th night around…especially when you are breastfeeding and are the only one having to get up. It’s normal. Don’t feel ashamed should you find yourself feeling this way. However, even though your husband can’t feed baby he is able to help with diaper changes and calming down should baby be fussy and not wanting to go back to sleep. Before you even deliver talk to each other and have somewhat of a plan of how you’ll handle the nighttime routine. How long will he be taking off work? Will he be able to get up in the middle of the night to help? If not, can you ask your mom or mother in law to help when it’s time for him to go back to work? Think ahead of time what will be the best option for you so that you can fully enjoy your time off work and at home.
2) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Or Accept Help
It’s okay to accept someone’s offer to bring you lunch, dinner or help around the house. Don’t feel like you have to handle it all. Take the helping hand mama because honestly, it won’t always be there! Everyone loves a new baby and everyone loves to help at first when everything is new and exciting- enjoy it. Say yes to that Chick Fil A offer or yes to a helping hand with a load of laundry. “Would you like for me to come and watch the baby while you get some things done or sleep?” ….This is by far the most asked question…Instead of saying yes (because really who wants to let go of their baby and “get some stuff done”) ask them to do something that you really need. This is just a typical question people ask new moms because they don’t know what you need, so ASK. They are offering because they want to help- let them. Trust me, if you speak out and let them know it will make them feel good to know that they are truly helping you. Communicate your needs.
3) Stay True To You
Hello and welcome to motherhood! This is not something that will last just 18 years but the rest of your life. You are officially a mother and will be from here on out. Some days are going to be hard, really hard. Baby might be fussy, or is having a hard time breastfeeding. You might feel overwhelmed and completely clueless. You may cry and feel like a horrible new mom and you want your own mom there to help. Whatever it is, take a minute, collect your thoughts and think about what you really need in order to get through this struggle. After that? Ask for the help. Take the help. Appreciate the help. The great and oh so wonderful thing about being a mom…heeeeey we get to do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day! And guess what? With each phase of your baby’s life there is always going to be something you struggle with. I recently told my husband “I thought kids were suppose to get easier the older they got.” So know this, self care is extremely important. Recognize what you need, when you need it, and get it. I promise you will be happy you did.
4) Establish A Routine
Some people love schedules and some do not. In my opinion though a routine or a schedule can be really helpful to keep your days from feeling they have all run together. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy like sticking to set times but instead maybe do something like after the 2nd early morning feeding put baby in their swing and you go take a shower, or before your afternoon nap together take a walk around the neighborhood while listening to your favorite Pandora station. Find whatever it is that works for you and your baby and stick with it. You will benefit from it and eventually you will be able to take even more time for yourself because you’ll know your baby’s schedule.
5) Take A Break and Date Your Hubby
I recently had someone reach out to me saying “ I just recently had a baby and I feel like things have changed with me and my husband. I just feel like he doesn’t like me as much anymore and he’s bored with me. I don’t know what to do.” This was my advice: Reach out to grandparents or a close friend to come and babysit for a few hours and y’all go do something you use to do before life with baby OR go and do something new that would interest you both. Open communication is key, you need to know how he is feeling and he needs to know how you’re feeling. If you don’t open up you’ll end up building anger and frustration because you haven’t expressed yourself and your concerns. Set date nights, even if it’s just for an hour to go out to eat. There’s a new person in your relationship now but that doesn’t mean you should forget how to be husband and wife first. When you have some quiet time alone express how your feeling...and remember how and when you approach him are equally important.