My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.
If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.
- I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
- I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
- I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
- My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
- Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain. With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
- Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
- Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
- First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
- Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
- Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
- For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
- With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
- I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
- I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
- Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.
Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.