Richmond Moms Blog is honored to share this guest post from Shannon Brim, M.D. at Virginia Physicians for Women.
Having a baby is an exciting time!
There are so many changes—new routines to get used to, new experiences, new demands, new emotions, and new love!
As a mom of three boys and an obstetrician, I know that it can be overwhelming! There’s so much information on the web and Google telling you what to do, what not to do, what to buy, how to labor, how to parent, etc. that you can get bogged down in the articles.
Here, I’ve made a short, simple list of things I wish you would and wouldn’t do after giving birth:
- Give yourself grace. It took you 9 months to get here! Don’t expect to fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes when you get home from the hospital.
- Snuggle that baby. Everyone wants to hold him or her. Be selfish. It’s ok.
- Take people up on their offers to help! So often people will say, “Let me know if you need anything.” Give them a task. You need toilet paper? Ask! Babysitting for your older kids? Ask! People love to help but often don’t know where your need is.
- Make sure to eat. It’s hard to remember your own schedule when you have a newborn, but your nutrition is important, especially if you’re nursing.
- Remember to take your prenatal vitamin—Yes! Still!
- Try to sleep when the baby sleeps! Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you will feel better. Everyone always told me this, and it’s hard to do, but it can really make a difference when you’re getting interrupted sleep at night the first few weeks home.
- Come to your postpartum visit. (And bring your baby! We love to see them!) It’s good to get a quick check in and make sure everything is healing like it’s supposed to.
- Wait until you’re cleared before having intercourse, and make sure you use protection unless you want to be seeing your OB again soon!
- Pay attention to your mood. Baby blues are real and common, but postpartum depression should be treated. Let your OB know right away if you’re feeling down more than up. We want to see you right away, even if it’s before your six-week appointment.
- Don’t stress about having a perfect house. You will have a lot of visitors. They don’t care that you have dishes on the counters or that your floors haven’t been vacuumed. In fact, they might offer to do them for you! Let them!
- Don’t be surprised or concerned if you don’t have a cycle while you’re nursing. Many women will not get a period while they’re nursing, and this is ok.
- Do not expect to have the same strength and endurance you had before delivery and before pregnancy when you start back to exercise. Start slow, but start! Exercise is good for both your body and your mood.
- Don’t use tampons for your bleeding! It’s best to stick with pads until you’re cleared by your OB.
- Please don’t hesitate to call your OB with concerns! That’s what we’re here for!
Congratulations on your new addition!