Here are some things to consider and that may help you navigate your way through the early days with a new baby and beyond.
Who can you turn to if you need?
People who respect your wishes, listen, and help.
A Doula, midwife, partner, friends, family, Dr, Australian breastfeeding association, lactation consultant, etc?
Warm and hearty whole foods. Who can prepare and deliver some meals for you in the first few weeks postpartum? If you don't have someone to do this maybe you could set up a regular delivery or stock up on freezer meals. Another option is contacting your local meals on wheels and seeing if they support local mums too.
Do you want to be undisturbed and do you have a message you can place on your door, on your social media or that you can send via text,(eg, to call ahead instead of popping in, to not expect 5 star service etc)? Or will you have someone stay with you for a few days or weeks to keep you company and help you out? Do you need to get out of the house? Can you organise some gentle catch ups? A walk, a coffee, a meal or movie.
You've just had a baby and that baby is relying on you to sustain it's precious life, just typing that is exhausting.. You are deserving of down time. It's excruciatingly hard to do everything and not have a break, tell mum guilt to gtfo, you're worth it mumma. Ideas.. Massage, Yoni steaming, closing the bones ceremony, meditation, placenta encapsulation, placenta burial, a bath by yourself- undisturbed, a regular catch up can give you something to look forward to each week, having someone take bus for a walk around the block.
Now you're a parent, it can be hard finding your feet, let's face it, you're still you, just.. different, kind of new, with a fresh little sidekick or two! (or 3/4/5/6+!)
It can be hard to find your feet, especially if you are the first in your friendship group to have a babe, or if you don't have much support.
Here are some ideas you can do with your new babe to help you get out of the house and meet other parents.
Playgroup, mothers group, library activities (playtime,story time, rhyme time) mums and bubs yoga, coffee dates, social exercise, play dates, volunteering.
It's also a really good idea to organise date nights too or even a dinner with a friend regularly, in the early days this may be difficult to arrange a more manageable idea could be setting 10 minutes out of your day, every day to check in with your partner and take 5 minutes each to talk about your days without interrupting each other. then have a response round.
Breast pads for leaking boobies, comfy clothes, adult nappies or post partum pads[nappies are just way easier and comfier and more leak proof~ there is the option of reusable cloth maternity pads also]your going to bleed a lot and for quite a few weeks.
Have you got the cupboard stocked with snacks? [and by cupboard I mean the bedside table) what about a good sized water bottle? breastfeeding and healing is thirsty work.
Some of the best advice is to sleep when your baby sleep, including during the day and especially in the first few weeks and even months, don't try to continue your old ways of being, you simply won't be able to keep up and you will burn out.
Premature or sick babies
Sometimes not everything goes to plan, its important to be aware of this. Why? because if you have a baby in intensive care or special care it can be a hell of a shock even if you were expecting it.
First things first get rid of the guilt that somehow this is your fault, that's got to go because your baby needs you and you need them. Whats happened has happened and all that can be done now is to work through it.
If you are going to breastfeed its important to express regularly- every 2 hours to get your supply going and to maintain it so that you can store milk and also so that you are prepared for when your baby does come home.
Many women have been left in the dark about pumping frequency and struggle to establish breastfeeding when the time comes because of not producing enough milk. IMPORTANT the more you take the more you make. The production of breast milk is completely a supply and demand relationship.
Personally, I found the medela hospital pumps to be the best and you can hire such pumps from different chemists and through the Australian breastfeeding association.
*In the RBWH intensive care and special care unit there is a designated pumping room, they also have a shower and a tea room where you can prepare food for parents who will be spending lengthy periods at the hospital visiting their babies.
There is support in the hospital, so if you find yourself struggling you can reach out to the social workers and ask for help.
Sadly yet not surprisingly in every work place you may find a handful of people who are there because of a wage instead of passion.
If you find yourself in a position where you don't believe you are being taken seriously or that your wishes aren't being heard please speak up. You are entitled to request a new nurse, doctor or midwife. Remember this is your health and your babies health, don't disregard your maternal or paternal instincts.
Tessa Bobir is a passionate women and mother, who believes in the sharing of ancient wisdom, through honest education and compassionate support from one women to another, during and in between each great transition of life.