In my 16 plus years of working with postpartum families both in and out of the hospital, I have seen, heard, supported and educated thousands of families on common blunders that are made during this special time. There is no harm done if you fall into some of these but just remember, YOU are the expert on your baby and you have a say in how your postpartum period goes. Don’t be afraid to say NO, take the help when it is offered and ask for help when you need it. Here are a few of my favorites that I think help parents the most.
DON’T google everything!
DO trust your instincts
DON’T try to be superwoman
DO ask for help and hire a Postpartum Doula
DON’T be so hard on yourself
DO be accepting that you may not love every second of parenthood and it is OK!
DON’T read every book ever written on parenting
DO read your baby. You are the expert on your baby!
DON’T skip feeds because baby is sleeping!
DO feed baby on demand or at least every 1-3 hours in the first month
DON’T struggle with breastfeeding or nipple pain, soreness or overall discomfort
DO seek the advice of a qualified professional (IBCLC, postpartum doula, certified lactation educator or
counselor, La Leche League or your hospital’s breastfeeding support group)
If bottle feeding:
DON’T over feed your baby because they keep sucking down the formula
DO increase increments slowly if baby seems hungry after feeds
DON’T try to do everything when baby sleeps
DO use the time to sleep, rest or take some personal time for yourself
DON’T feel like you have to get dressed up everyday
DO lounge around in your jammies or yoga pants, it helps reminds you that you are still recovering
DON’T feel like you have to entertain the masses that want to hold your baby
DO feel free to post a sign on your door, on Instagram, on FB, Twitter or on your voice mail that you will call when you are ready for visitors, do NOT feel guilty about this!
DON’T diet and cut back on food and calories
DO eat nutritiously and at least 3 meals a day or 4-6 snacks a day to keep up with breastfeeding and healing. It took you 40 weeks to grow a baby, don’t expect the weight to melt away immediately.
DON’T ignore your partner
DO work together and make time for each other
DON’T forget to schedule your 4-6 week follow up appointment with your physician or midwife
DO schedule it to make sure your body is healed and ready for intercourse and exercise
DON’T rely on exclusive breastfeeding to prevent ovulation and another pregnancy
DO use some form of contraception when resuming intercourse
DON’T stay cooped up at home
DO get out and enjoy the outdoors, play groups and life
DON’T listen to those that say you are going to spoil your baby
DO hold and cuddle your baby however much you want, they need it to feel safe and secure
DON’T schedule your pediatric appointments on Mondays (sick kids from the weekends need to be seen)
DO schedule them any other day, either first thing in the morning or right after lunch (better to get in and out quicker)
DON’T be overwhelmed by all that needs to be done
DO make lists and set realistic goals for yourself daily. If it can wait, let it!
DON’T let anyone tell you that you are NOT good enough
DO tell yourself that you are ENOUGH!
DON’T hide your feelings or suffer from baby blues, postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD or worse
DO talk to someone trusted or seek help right away if it worsens
DON’T sweat the small stuff
DO enjoy every minute of their sweetness because they grow up too quickly
Parenting is hard and everyone has a piece of advice for you. Just nod and smile or say Thank You, but remember that you are the expert on you, your baby and your new family.
Your Family’s Journey, LLC: Mother/Baby RN, Lactation and Postpartum Doula Services