If you’ve just had a baby, especially if it’s your first time, then it will certainly feel like everything normal about life has suddenly been thrown up in the air. It really does change everything about your life, and it’s not surprising that it can take a year or two for a sense of normality to really set in. However, getting through the year should be your focus for the here and now. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of what you should expect from year one of your baby’s life.
Setting The Right Expectations For Year One Of Your Baby’s Life | Lifestyle
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What happens after you give birth?
If you have yet to go through the process then, before you begin your life with your new child, you might want to know what happens in those first few hours after giving birth. Of course, the answer to this does depend on factors like the condition of you and the baby during and after the birthing process. In most cases, however, the guide What To Expect at the Hospital After Giving Birth offers a good idea of what will happen. This can include trying out breastfeeding, as well as getting any support with it, if necessary. There will be medical tests on the baby to ensure that they are in good health, and aftercare may be offered, specifically to the type of delivery, whether vaginal or C-section.
Postpartum will take some recovery time
Before you’re able to settle into a routine with your baby and discover what life with them is like, you need to take care of your body first and foremost. Women can experience all sorts of changes and issues with their bodies shortly after giving birth, as demanding as it can be. This can include anything from vaginal soreness and discharge to ongoing contractions, incontinence, hemorrhoids, and more. Guides like Postpartum Essentials: The Complete Checklist For Mom And Baby can be a great help in ensuring that you have all that you need to help your body recover. It might take a few weeks until you’re able to go on with life as normal, although that normal has very likely changed with the new arrival.
Ensuring all of the equipment that you need
You should have hopefully gotten most of the equipment that you’re going to need before you gave birth but, if not, now is the time to do so. Mostly, you want ot make sure that you have a fully stocked nursery, with a place to sleep, a place to feed them, and a place to change them, as well as any storage needs they might have. A solid supply of things like bottles, bibs, diapers, baby wipes, and more will help you get through those first few weeks (or days). You also want to make sure that you have the means to transport your baby, such as a walker and a car seat, so that moving around with them doesn’t become a major hassle.
Getting used to feeding them
One of the first responsibilities you’re going to get used to is the consistent need to feed your baby. After all, they won’t be able to do it themselves for quite some time. This journey usually starts with breastfeeding at the hospital, and you may well get some support to ensure that you are expressing correctly and how to position the baby so that they’re able to feed. Finding a baby feeding schedule and food chart for their first year can help you time their feedings and make sure that you’re meeting all of their nutritional needs. It also offers information on using formula, either to supplement or replace breastfeeding, as well as when to start introducing solids to their diet.
A new sleep schedule
One of the biggest changes to a parent’s life shortly after the birth of a child is that your sleep schedule is likely to get through right out the window. This is because babies do not come out with a fully developed sleep cycle. They sleep whenever they want, and usually only for a few hours at a time. For those first few months, it’s realistic to expect that you’re not going to be sleeping through the night for a good while. You have to be ready to care for them when they wake up, and to feed them when the time is right, so you should be aiming to get sleep when they sleep, snatching it a few hours at a time, until they’re able to settle into a real sleep routine. As they get a little older, you will want to start sleeping training your baby.
Keeping an eye on their health
Naturally, any parent is going to be somewhat consistently fussing about the health and safety of their child. You’re hardwired to do it, so expect that anxiety to be a consistent feature of being a new mother. However, rather than just worrying, there are practical steps that you should be taking. If you haven’t had all of your newborn screening tests done shortly after the birth, for one reason or another, then you should arrange for those first and foremost. After that, you’re primarily going to be looking at appointments for immunizations. Visits from the midwife should be scheduled throughout the first year of the birth, just to make sure that everything is going okay, as well as to address any questions that you might have, too.
You’re going to be constantly going through clothes
If you have friends and family that want to get you new clothes and costumes for your baby, then you may as well let them. One of the universal truths about that first year of a baby’s life is that they are constantly in need of new clothes, and you’re likely to be changing them a lot. Babies can make all kinds of messes, whether they spit up, leak through their diapers, or otherwise, so anticipate having to change them a few times a day, especially if you’re heading out. What’s more, they’re always growing at a rapid rate at that age, so you’re going to need bigger outfits to switch into sooner than you might anticipate.
What about postpartum depression?
Although a subject that was often treated as taboo, previously, we have thankfully gotten a lot more mature and frank as a society when talking about the mental health impacts of motherhood. Not every mother is going to immediately feel positive and happy about life with their new baby and, when not addressed, postpartum depression can have a pretty heavy toll on the wellbeing of the mother. Talking to those around you about your feelings and getting support from your doctor can help you through this period, but most women do get through it at some point.
Dealing with your inexperience
Another way that a new can affect your mental health is that a lot of mothers report that they experience a knock on their self-confidence during the first year after giving birth. For many, this is because they feel like they don’t really know what they’re doing. This sense of “winging it” is very common, and can be helped by relying on useful information, be it from the internet or from many of the new mom guidebooks that are out there. However, as much as you might read and prepare, the reality of rearing a baby can always be a challenging one for that first year.
Watching those milestones
The first year of a child’s life is a very exciting one to watch. As mentioned, they grow quite rapidly through this part of their life, so you’re going to see differences in their behavior on a somewhat routine basis. The page Baby Milestones: Your Child’s First Year Of Development gives an excellent look at the various different changes you’re going to be seeing through that year, including when they start opening their eyes and being cognizant of the world around them, when they start smiling and laughing, and, yes, even when they start sleeping through the entire night.
Finding a group
Of course, if you want to enjoy those milestones a little more easily, then not having the stress of doing things alone is going to help. Mothers who have partners and family members to help can find the first year a lot easier, but whether or not you’re in that category, having the support of a group of women experiencing the same can be a relief. Not only can you get practical tips and advice from joining a new mother support group, but simply being able to share your story with people who can empathize, and hearing their own stories can give you the feeling that you’re not alone in this. This is something a lot of new mothers go through.
Every baby is different, but the way that they affect the lives of their parents is often very similar. Hopefully, the tips above help you get ready, so you can at least know what kind of changes and challenges you can prepare for.