Getting Rest After Having a Newborn, Tips on Keeping Stress Levels Down

I believe I was able to dream again after four months of having a newborn.  The demands of feedings, burping, diaper changes, and other needs were so intense during the first four months that I felt at times I was ill-equipped to handle a baby.  Being tired most often, unable to sleep through the night, and having my share of women's issues, was mentally and physically draining.  Yet, I pressed on anyway during tough times with all my children.  My new partner who was initially confused after I had my third son, caught on later and realized I seriously needed help.  My older children to a previous relationship helped when they could during visitations.  Then there were calls of well-wishes and strangers on the street that said kind things to me about my son.  It wouldn't be long, more specifically 14 months later, that my final son showed up.

I didn't pressure myself to see everyone in the family who wanted to just hold a newborn, but didn't want to babysit or help clean my home.  I also didn't run to the church either knowing full well the stress of calming the baby as well as watching folks wanting to touch the baby with unclean hands would be too much!  I didn't want admirers around me or stares from brothers and sisters warning me about a crying baby.  All I wanted was to be left alone, me and new baby.  I learned this after feeling stress from having the first grandchild, first grandson. 

Family members acted strangely at times and said far too many wrong things when it came to who was next to spend time with the newborn.  As the children grew older, walking and talking--getting into everything, the petty comments died down and the desire to watch the first grandchild died down too.  It also helped that I had moved as well.

I am a strong believer that a mother who brings a newborn in the world has the right to dictate when she is ready to see people and when she is able to deal with people holding her child.  I think it is terrible when controlling and manipulative individuals want to attempt to dictate to the mother how the whole process of delivery should happen down to who shows up at the home after the baby is born.

True rest doesn't come for new parents until the baby sleeps through the night.  That is an occasion for celebration!  The day you are able to wake up and realize that you didn't have to check on the baby at all--it is such a great feeling!  Some things I did to keep the peace in the home for all when it came to a challenging newborn at times included:

1.  I didn't keep the baby in the room with the other children.  He slept sometimes in a bassinet in the living-room or in my bedroom.

2.  I refused to continue conversations over the phone or in-person when my baby needed me.  If the baby was taking too long to calm down or I had, had enough, I had music for my ears, a vacuum, and a baby swing.  These all helped.

3.  I didn't permit critical, difficult or angry people with their negative energy to cross my doorstep, nor did I go to theirs.  If they wanted to come over, I set aside a specific day and time, other times I simply said, "Not a good time, I will call you to set up a time."  I really had no patience or time to sit and entertain someone especially when I had days when I was in pain after having a baby.

4.  I conversed with my partner about how I felt about mostly everything i.e.) newborn issues, employment, the other children, the ex, and finances.  Whether he agreed or disagreed with my thoughts/plans, it didn't matter, I just needed to talk.  My body had to emotionally and physically heal, the baby needed to be trained to live in our world, and doctor's appointments were necessary whether he liked going or not.  I discussed with him about his work schedule and we planned accordingly.  He helped with nighttime changes and feedings.  I posted the baby's feeding and diaper schedule and included tips on what to do if the baby did one thing or another and posted on the refrigerator.  I never let his mood, television watching or facial expressions hinder me from asking him to help.  I shared with him when I needed to leave the home and went out for a bite to eat and to the movies.

5.  I had my older children participate in a baby care program.  They learned how to do things like change diapers, deal with some emergencies, etc.  It was very helpful to them and they were able to connect with their little brothers.

6.  When things got real tough, I planned a vacation away to see my mother and grandmother, who had been there and done that!  I didn't take the baby with me.

7.  I listed the baby's needs and asked my partner to run errands.  This way there was no conversation needed about everything that we ran out of or any complaint about me always asking him to do something.  Once the list was complete and coupons attached, he went out and got what we needed.

8.  I didn't participate in holiday planning or making myself available to help others.  Holidays were the least of my concern.  We reasoned we needed to save money not spend it on adults and their children.  I also didn't let church leaders and church-goers guilt me into giving money to the church and other causes.  I ignored all ads from my older children's schools about needing money.  When I stopped giving to this cause and that one, I was able to buy things for the baby that were needed like a stroller for starters, formula and clothes.

9.  We didn't go out and splurge on anything.  Instead, we periodically looked for places to dine that were low key, inexpensive and family friendly and took baby along.  Oftentimes, we used coupons.  If the newborn became restless, one of us took the baby out and the other waited for the food to be prepared so that we could take it home.

10.  The residence and laundry were tended to on certain days rather than everyday.  No one had the time or energy to want to maintain both daily.  Although, I would have liked to do that, I didn't want to add additional stress on the dad by asking him too much or wear myself out trying to do everything each day.  If something needed to be done, I mentioned it or left a note or did it the following day.  For instance, I cooked enough food for a few days at times rather than just a day.

Hope these tips are helpful and for veteran moms, I know they brought back to some memories!

Nicholl McGuire shares spiritual insight about a variety of issues at YouTube channel: nmenterprise7

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