5 Tips for Surviving Life with a Newborn

When I first meet with a brand new postpartum doula client, I make sure that they know one thing by the time I leave their home. The first six weeks postpartum are about survival. Whatever that looks like to you, however that has to happen...whether you're in yoga pants every day or you get dolled up and hit the mall just to bring some normalcy to your life...however you survive is completely fine.

  1. Eat when the baby eats. Sure you've heard about sleeping when the baby sleeps, but you have to fuel your body (even if you're not breastfeeding). Keep a stash of crackers beside the chair that you sit in when feeding baby. Make granola bars and keep them in the freezer. Stock up on individual packs of crackers, cookies, pretzels, dried fruits and nuts. Noshing throughout the day will help keep your energy levels stable.
  2. Sundresses are your friend. This time of year means one thing...heat and humidity. To easily feel like a normal person again, stock up on some sundresses (and body glide to protect your skin from chaffing). They're flowy and girly, so you will emotionally feel relatively pulled together, but not stuffed into shorts and tank tops that might make you emotional over your post baby body. 
  3. Remember that the fourth trimester is about recovery. There will be time for fitness later. This is about survival and recovery. Eat well. Hydrate yourself. Be kind to yourself emotionally. Sleep when you can and don't sweat the small stuff. The saying (as much as it might grind your gears to hear) This Too Shall Pass is all too true. Sleepless nights are temporary, as are mood swings, your baby ponch and engorged boobs. 
  4. It's ok to say no. If you don't want visitors to pop over, say so. If your freezer is fully stocked to the point of dripping overflow water on your floor, say something. People mean well, they really do, but if you need space that is completely ok. You and your body have just been through a massive change and you're trying to adapt to a little babe needing you at every moment of every day. If you need space, just say the word. People will be far more understanding than you think.
  5. Ask for Help! It doesn't make you any less of a parent to ask for help. Maybe you need someone to come over and hang out with the baby so you can grab a shower or a nap. Maybe you just need a friend to come over with a glass bottle of wine so you can feel like an adult again. Ask for help. There are loads of family and friends out there who are itching for a way to help, but aren't sure what you need.
My tips for surviving the first six weeks could go on and on, I'm sure, but really at the heart of it is that you know your family and your baby best. You know what works for you, and need to stand in your power. Be confident in the decisions that you are making for your family!

My clients always ask what I would do if I was in their situation. I tell them that I don't live in their body, nor do I have to take care of their baby on a daily basis...so it's not fair for me to dole out that type of advice. I do say...if I needed a shower, I'd put him in a bouncey seat on vibrate on the bathroom floor....or.... it's only best if it's what works for you....and....it's not selfish to want time to yourself, you have to take care of you!

Remember....the fourth trimester is about recovery and survival. Whatever you need to do to survive, even if it deviates from your original plan for pregnancy, birth and parenting, that's ok. Plans change...babies change...life changes, and that's pretty awesome.