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10 Challenges Newborn Mom's May Face

BY LUVEY

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Welcoming a new baby into your arms for the first time is a moment you won’t forget. As you ease into being a mom, there are some definite ups and downs that we all experience.

I've found that these challenges bring on numerous emotions and moments when you worry you're not handling things the best way.

If you're new to motherhood, and you're feeling a bit down or off, I want you to know that you're not alone. It's normal to experience highs and lows, and I'm hoping the following will help you better understand what most of us go through.

#1 - What Sleep?

Unless your baby is a complete anomaly, you can expect to wake up every few hours for feeding. You’re going to be very tired and will likely have to deal with mood swings, headaches, and maybe even a compromised immune system until your little one starts sleeping through the night.

Grabbing a few minutes of sleep whenever you get the chance can help you regain your energy and your mood. In order for this to happen, you need help. Don't be afraid to tell your spouse or partner, family members, and friends that you need support and some extra hands. 

You need and deserve sleep, so find a creative solution for getting a few hours in here and there.

#2 - Breastfeeding Can Be a Challenge

There are a variety of challenges that can pop up when you attempt to breastfeed. Sometimes we don't produce enough milk, the baby has a hard time latching on, and feedings can be painful.

I strongly suggest speaking to a lactation expert if you're having a difficult time. Also, I learned that sometimes you have to turn to formula for feeding. Don't be too hard on yourself if you need other sources of milk.

If you're stressed about this, please read my post on my own breastfeeding experience.

#3 - Hormonal Balances May Occur

When your placenta comes out, your progesterone levels can drop significantly. This sudden drop can leave you feeling very sad and alone. This sad feeling is often referred to as the "baby blues" and is experienced by about 80 percent of women after childbirth.

Understanding your body and why you’re feeling off is the first step to helping you cope. You can also get through this period easier if you don’t neglect yourself. Take time to listen to your favorite music or soak up some vitamin D by taking your newborn for a walk. 

#4 - You May Experience Depression

The baby blues eventually go away on their own, but postpartum depression is a more serious matter and should be handled professionally. About 10 percent of new mothers get postpartum depression. Here are a few signs you may have depression that requires treatment:

  • You can’t sleep, eat or care for your baby.
  • You cry often and feel hopeless and worthless most or all of the time.
  • You can’t seem to bond with your baby.
  • You sometimes have panic and anxiety attacks.

You’re more likely to experience postpartum depression if depression runs in your family or if you’ve ever struggled with it in the past. There are apps that can help, as well as doulas who can assist you and the family.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, or if your depression persists after two weeks, get in touch with your doctor immediately. 

#5 - Your Body Can Be Sore

Saying childbirth is intense is like saying roses are red. Even if you have a pretty easy delivery, you’ll feel the effects of your body’s accomplishment in the days, weeks or even months following delivery. This is especially true if you received a c-section or experienced a vaginal tear.

Be gentle on your body as it recovers. Your doctor will likely have some suggestions for feeling better, but just be sure to not push yourself too hard for the few weeks following birth.

#6 - You May Not Know What to Do

Taking care of a newborn can be intimidating. Just like any new experience, there are lots of questions that we all have about properly caring for your little one.

Try not to let all the “what-if” scenarios stress you out. Lean on your partner, spouse, and/or family members to help keep a reality check in place. As long as you take care of the basics (feeding and loving your baby), you’re doing great. 

#7 - You May Feel Like Your Baby Is a Stranger

Some mothers describe an instant connection to their newborn, but this isn't the case with everyone. If you don’t feel this connection yet, don’t feel guilty. For some mothers, bonding takes time.

According to recent studies, about 20% of new moms and dads feel no real emotional attachment to their newborn in the hours after delivery. And for some, it can take weeks or months. Be patient with yourself, your connection will grow and be beautiful.

#8 - You May Feel Alone

It's natural to feel alone from time to time when first raising a newborn. If you don't have a support network, it can be quite trying.

If you're feeling this way, please know that you aren't alone. Consider joining an online or in-person community to help you feel connected. Think out of the box, and you'll be amazed at what can happen.

#9 - You Don’t Feel Appreciated by Your Baby

Your baby can’t comprehend everything you do for him or her and doesn’t know how to thank you. As a result, you can end up feeling used and underappreciated.

Whenever you begin feeling this way, try to think of each coo, smile, and snuggle as your baby's way of saying, "thank you, mom!"

#10 - You May Feel Frustrated at Your Spouse

Finally, you may feel a bit resentful to your spouse or partner because you don't feel like they get what you're going through.

Communication and setting expectations is extremely important. Dare to express yourself and let your other half know what you're going through. It's okay to be vulnerable!

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