Assorted Clueless But Hopeful Tips for Surviving the First Month

1. Take a shower every day, preferably in the morning if only to remind yourself that 8 am is supposed to be the start of a day instead of some meaningless marking on a clock. Use your best shower gels and lotions. Scrub and pamper your body. Revel in how amazing it is to have survived labor/a c section/the adoption process.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps you have someone around to be vigilant for you. If you are like me, you will try to sleep when the baby's asleep but you will have one ear listening for her cries and every little hiccup will take you off your train to dreamland. Best times to sleep? When your mother/sister-in-law/husband/neighbor are around to hold the baby while she sleeps or at least listen for her so you don't have to.
3. Lanolin cream is overrated. If you are nursing, try those cool gel pads that you can put in the fridge. Spread some milk around, let your nips air dry and then slap those cool puppies on. They won't stain your clothes like the cream and they feel SO GOOD.
4. If you are lucky enough to have friends/loved ones offer to bring you food, do not be the polite martyr you normally are, say: "YES PLEASE", "THANK YOU", and "DON'T FORGET DESSERT".
5. Adopt a "be here now" approach when things are good and a "nothing stays forever" approach when things are hard. When your infant is happily asleep on your chest while you stroke her poreless cheeks and your husband is doing the dishes, DRINK IT IN. When your infant will NOT go back to sleep and is crying for some unknown reason and all she wants you to do is rock her/bounce her/sing a never ending song explaining the financial crisis in minute detail for HOURS, keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass.
6. Take an "all things in moderation" approach to all things junky. Junky TV? Good for a late night nursing session or a quick recharge during nap time. But if you find yourself mindlessly channel surfing or watching the infomercial for "Flirty Girl Fitness" for the 12th time, you need a break. Junky food? A little chocolate/ice cream/root beer float (*ahem*) here and there never hurt anyone and may have made their life a little sweeter. However, keeping your nutrition needs in mind when you are engaged in the ultra-marathon known as "parenting an infant" is never a bad idea. It's okay to use food for some comfort, just remember it's also FUEL and that sugar you crave will only leave you pissy and tired in about an hour.
7. Drink plenty of water. If you had major abdominal surgery, if you birthed a baby (and a ton of bloody junk) out of your ya-ya, if you are creating milk from your body, if you are not sleeping much (That should cover all of us new parents, no?), now is the time to hydrate. Seriously. Right now. Stop reading and go get a glass of water.

*big drink for me too*

8. Do not extrapolate stable personality traits/future success/your parenting prowess from your one month old infant's temperament. This applies even if positive ("My child is sleeping so well! She is an easy going person/sure to be a genius/proof of my AWESOMENESS as a mother!") because this tendency will haunt you when your child has a bad day ("My child is a FAILURE as a sleeper/eater and is clearly the fussiest child alive. I must be the worst mother EVER").
9. Take a walk as often as possible. This is not necessarily for weight loss or physical recovery, though it will help both those things, it's mostly for emotional health. You will see the sky (even if it's gray and covered in clouds). You will smell fresh air. You will see something, ANYTHING, besides the view of household decrepitude that is visible from your indentation on the couch.
10. Do not get cocky when you are feeling better than you thought you would the first week after bringing home a baby and skip opportunities to sleep, thinking that you aren't really THAT sleepy. The sleep deprivation sneaks up on you and before you know it BAM you're putting your keys away in the cereal cabinet and forgetting the name of your dog.
11. If you are concerned about your emotional stability because you were just a little depressed during your pregnancy, try any and all measures presented to you as post partum depression prevention. Even the possibly wackadoo ones like, oh say, ingesting your own freeze dried placenta in capsule form. Because at least then you will feel like you have done EVERYTHING you possibly can to stay sane.

(Just in case you think I'm kidding.)


Swistle said...

I feel like you just HAVE to elaborate on that dried-placenta-capsules thing.

Hillary said...

The best thing I did the first week was get out of the house to "get the stink blown off me," as my mother so eloquently put it. Both The Boy and I were whooped afterward, but it felt so good and we had such good, deep sleep.

Glad you're surviving, and, I'm with Swistle: More explanation on the dried placenta thing, please. How does one do that?

grammalouie said...

Okay, CBHM, you're on about the dried placenta thing. The explanation's yours. (did you really think people wouldn't ask?)

Erin said...

What? HUH? I, um, was going to say something but FREEZE DRIED got me all jumbled up. GO ON.

Good advice. I have trouble with the moderation & perspective parts of it. I get really involved in the MOMENT, which I feel will last for ETERNITY (good or bad). I rationally know it won't, but I have trouble controlling the feeling.

The moderation thing... well... I'm pretty sure I've got that post-partum hyperthyroid. It SOUNDS like it might be a good, helpful thing, but it's miserable and yucky.

Eleanor Q. said...

Yes, yes, yes and yes. To everything. And yes, you totally have to explain the freeze dried placenta pills.

desperate housewife said...

Definitely yes on that food advise. I ate SO MUCH sugar crap while nursing Eli because I was SO DAMN TIRED from the every two hours feedings that lasted until he was six months old, but he also couldn't tolerate any caffeine in my milk. So sugar was the new caffeine! And my thighs and my emotional stability paid the price! Next time I have sworn I will find a better way.
Oh, and I am needing a dose of some baby pictures please!

Whimsy said...

This is wonderful. I'm saving a link to it for when the time comes for #2 for me.

Placenta info, ASAP please.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Hillary, I LOVE "get the stink blown off me"! That totally sums it up!

And, you're right, I owe you an explanation about the placenta pills.... more to come, when I get the chance.

Saskia said...

Sweets, you're going to have to change your blog's name - no longer sounding so clueless! Rather authoritative I do say! Love you...

edbteach said...

I'm a first time visitor here by way of Swistle. I loved this post! My baby is 6 1/2 and I can STILL relate to this!

minnie said...

yes about the freeze dried placenta... did you do it yourself? send it away to a freeze dry plant? need info.

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