Surviving the Three Worst New Mom Stressors

When you bring a baby into this world, you think of all the unconditional love and joy that you and your baby will share. Though it’s always in the back of your mind like some sort of terrible song you’ve heard on the radio but can’t get out of your head, you try not to consciously think about the sleepless nights, the soiled baby crib bedding, and clothing that no longer fits – but it WILL happen. It’s recommended to seek advice not necessarily from a professional, but certainly someone like your mom – someone who knows a thing or two about babies!

Babies Crying

Babies crying at consistent and possibly inopportune times is right at the top of the list when it comes to stressors for new mothers. Many mothers think that if they do not attend to their baby right away, that means that the baby will manifest some irreparable damage later in life. This is not true – pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, coauthor of Heading Home with Your Newborn states that letting a baby cry a little while is not going to harm him or her. Another option is to put a swing or a bassinet close to where you are for most of the day, so even if you don’t attend to them immediately when they cry, you can still ensure that their cry is not a direct result of something life-threatening.

Babies do not have a plethora of emotions on which to draw from, so there’s no way to express mild discomfort or even apathy – a baby’s cry may not mean sadness or distress – merely, it cannot think of another way to express the current emotion.

Sleep Deprivation

It can be tricky to plan your sleep around times when the baby wakes up for feeding and changing, but you know it’s inevitable. One gift is the nap. Use it to your advantage and nap when the baby is napping. You do not necessarily have to use your baby’s nap time to get things done without baby interference, you can nap concurrently with your baby; in fact, nap time might be even more special and refreshing when sharing it with your baby. While napping, turn off ringers on phones, computer sounds, etc – anything that can startle and wake you or the baby.

If your baby tends to wake you in the middle of the night and you work or have something else to do the next morning, try to modify your sleep schedule and retire to bed a few hours earlier than normal, so any interrupts in your sleep cycle will not impact you as much.

Losing the dreaded baby weight

You have put on more than a few pounds during your pregnancy and now that your baby is born, you have no time to go to the gym and no time to eat properly. Sound like you? Don’t think of your workout as chunks of time that need to be blocked off for activity. You can break up sessions of activity in 2 or 3 10-15 minute intervals, and it will still result in the outcome you desire. Use this as a chance to take the baby for a walk in the stroller, or ask your partner to watch the baby for a short time while you go for a jog. If that’s not a possibility, then keep the baby in a swing in your living room and do a short 15-minute yoga session.

When it comes to eating healthy, the most important tenet to remember is to plan ahead! Cook something that feeds a lot of people and freeze it, so you have things that you can easily heat up. You can cook a week’s worth of meals during the course of the weekend, and there may be more people around during that time to watch the baby while you cook. When on the go, pack healthy snacks like bite-sized cereal that tastes good without milk and vegetable sticks in your diaper bag. You can even pack a little Tupperware container filled with hummus for extra protein.