Bringing baby home – The first eight weeks after childbirth and what they don’t tell you

Bringing baby home – The first eight weeks after childbirth and what they don’t tell you

Bringing your new baby home can be incredibly exciting, demanding and daunting all at once, especially during the first couple of months. Whether it’s your first, second or fifth baby, it takes time to get to know your baby, time to recover from childbirth, and time to feel like your old‐self again.

How you feel

There is no denying that giving birth is an emotional and tiring experience. Many mothers may feel a little weepy and anxious three to five days after the birth, which is known as "the baby blues". But you should start to feel like yourself again in a week or two.1 To help you through this period try to rest whenever you can and give yourself time to get to know your baby. It’s also helpful to have someone around that you trust to support you in the first week or so, even if it’s just to cook you a healthy meal or give you a 20 minute break to have a bath. If the "blue" feeling stays, it’s important to seek help from your healthcare professional.

How your partner feels

Your partner may feel a little left out and unneeded in the first couple of months as all your focus and energy goes to your baby. Ensure you keep talking and listening to each other and allow them some one‐on‐one time to bond with the new bub, which will also allow you time to rest. How you look You might have dropped some weight after childbirth but it’s unlikely that you’ll snap right back into your pre‐pregnancy shape immediately. It took nine months to gain the weight so it’s likely that it’ll take just as long to lose it. Your abdomen may also be quite relaxed after the delivery but this should soon return back to normal. Gradually increase your exercise, eat healthily and be patient with your body.

Haemorrhoids and toilet habits

Haemorrhoids are very common after childbirth and will usually disappear after a few days.2 Try to eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and drink lots of water to make bowel movements easier and less painful. Also try not to strain as it’ll make things worse. You may also be a little tentative about passing urine after labour because of the soreness and since you may not be able to feel what you’re doing.2 It’s helpful to drink lots of water which dilutes your urine making urinating less painful. Try not to suppress the urge to urinate.

Newborn behaviour

Newborn babies will sleep a lot, especially in the early months. Most babies sleep for around three to four hours at a time and roughly 16 hours a day.3 Take this time to get some much needed rest for yourself. Newborns will also cry a lot; the average baby will cry and fuss for around three hours a day.4 To settle your baby, check whether they’re hungry, tired or uncomfortable, then try rocking, patting, singing and walking with your baby. Remember all babies are different and will respond to different techniques. Also remember that crying is what babies do and has nothing to do with how good you are as a parent.

Visitors

You’ll probably have an endless stream of visitors wanting to see your new arrival. As lovely as this is it can get a little overwhelming while you’re adjusting to your new situation. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to wait a few days before visiting. Some new mums also change their voice mail to announce important statistics about their bub and that they’ll call back when it’s convenient.