The key to getting through the trying first weeks and months is to find support wherever you can. Ease the stress that comes with a new baby by preparing for your basic postpartum needs:
• Line up help in advance. If relatives don’t live nearby, ask your neighbors, co-workers, pastor, childbirth educator, midwife or obstetrician if they know anyone who can provide postpartum help.
• Stagger the help. If your partner plans to take two weeks off from work and your parents want to come and help out, ask them to visit after your partner goes back to work.
• Join a new moms’ group or organization for new parents. (Check out the list of support groups on your Parenthood.com local Web site.)
• Talk to other parents, particularly those who have recently had babies, and get their recommendations on preparing for life after childbirth.
• Compile a list of essential phone numbers – your doctor or midwife, the baby’s pediatrician and a lactation consultant.
• Freeze a few week’s worth of meals.
• Stock up on postpartum-care supplies, such as medicated pads, laxatives and feminine napkins.
• Eat three squares a day. No matter how difficult it might be, eat properly and drink plenty of fluids.
• Let others take care of meals and housework. Concentrate on getting enough rest and meeting your baby’s needs.
• Involve your partner. If you are breastfeeding, your partner can bring the baby to you for nursing in the middle of the night. If you are bottle-feeding, your partner can feed the baby and let you get some more sleep.
• Get as much sleep as possible.
• Acknowledge your fatigue, financial concerns and frustrations. Take time to communicate your concerns to your partner.
• Enjoy your baby! Take your baby for a stroll. Invite over a friend who has a baby. Visit a relative. Record your baby’s first months with photographs and videotape.
Is there really sex after baby? Find out!
More Postpartum resources.