The Baby Blues

February 20, 2015

The first few weeks postpartum were the most difficult for me. I was filled with a mixture of emotions and my hormones were ALL over the place. As a new parent, you are majorly sleep deprived. My schedule the first few weeks with Erin looked something like this:

(Do you see what happened between 7:30pm - 3:45am?!? That would be cluster feeding and Erin would want to do nothing but EAT)

Erin just a few days old.

Babies do nothing but sleep, eat and poop the first few months. People told me that I should nap whenever the baby napped, but I couldn't get myself to do that for some reason. I was never much of a napper and I guess that part of me didn't change even with the lack of sleep. Also, I don't fall asleep quickly, so I hated it when I did end up trying to nap and would end up having to wake up only just 10 minutes after I had just fallen asleep (I'm jealous that Ken can fall asleep in 0.5 seconds. It's truly a gift). On top of the sleep deprivation, my body was recovering from labor and adjusting to nursing, and I was constantly thinking about how I was now a mother. There was just so much going on all at once. I remember I would randomly want to cry and then would suddenly be overjoyed and thrilled. I was extra (by extra, I mean a lot) irritable and moody. The baby blues are quite normal and I think every new mom has some degree of it (baby blues and postpartum depression are very different, so if some of these symptoms last longer than a few weeks or if they get worse, you should call your doctor). The baby blues for me was like having a major case of PMS. I had a "stay out of my way" mentality (poor Ken). I really had to take time to think and process things. I'm more of an introvert so I process things better alone. There were a lot of pep talks to myself and a lot of "Am I doing this right?!?" In general, I don't do well when I feel overwhelmed and it doesn't help that I'm also super stubborn and find it hard to express my needs for help. This all made the first few weeks a roller-coaster for me. 

I'd say about 2 weeks postpartum, things got a whole lot better/easier. My body was healing properly, nursing wasn't a huge challenge anymore, Erin had somewhat of a schedule and was taking longer naps, and my hormone levels weren't all whack. Being a new parent is definitely a challenge, but so doable! It's such a joy bringing a baby into this world. Seeing your baby grow and smile and knowing that no one else knows the child better than you do is the best feeling ever. You'll also learn that babies are more resilient than you think!
Here are just a few tip/points that might help new moms:
  1. It's OK to say No. Like I mentioned before, I'm quite an introvert and I get overwhelmed easily. The thing with having a baby is that everyone wants to meet him/her. For me personally, I found it harder having company over (especially the first few weeks). We lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment at the time and when people came over, the apartment felt more tiny to me. I didn't want to be rude and just veg out while people were over so I felt I needed to entertain them, which turned out to be more tiring. I assure you that no one will take it offensively if you asked them to hold off a few weeks before visiting. Everyone will get to see the new baby eventually. For me, it was important that I had the first few weeks for my family to adjust and learn things on our own.
  2. It's OK to ask for help. It's so hard asking for help. I was so stubborn and I felt like I was supposed to be doing everything on my own. I was so determined. Ken stayed home a whole day before heading back to work and due to his work schedule, he didn't come home till around 7:30pm every night. I was so grateful for all the people who made short visits the first 3 months and brought me yummy food! 
  3. You can survive off little to no sleep. Believe it or not, you don't need much sleep to function (Of course a full nights rest will make a more happy, less irritable person). Once my body got used to sleeping in 2 hour increments, I was able to function properly. Even with no naps during the day, I was amazed how much my body could do/endure with such little sleep.
  4. Get some fresh air. All doctors will advise that you keep baby at home at least the first few months. I lasted about a week before I started getting cabin fever. I just wanted to get out, get some sun, drive my car, walk around, get some fresh air, etc. So I really advise new moms to get out. With Erin nursing around the clock and not taking the bottle (also our neighborhood was not a safe place to walk around), I ended up taking Erin out with me. We went to the mall to walk around, went out for some coffee, and made stops at 85 degree bakery for some yummy bread. It doesn't sound like much, but getting out of the house for even just an hour really saved me. 
Baby Erin. :)

They seriously grow up too fast!!


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