Motherhood is a highly rewarding experience. Welcoming a new baby into your arms for the first time is a moment you won’t forget. But, like everything in life, there are ups and downs to motherhood. If you’re adequately prepared for these newborn challenges, you’re more likely to enjoy the ups a little bit more.
Here are 10 horrifying newborn challenges many moms face.
1. What Sleep?
Unless your baby is a complete anomaly, 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 a compromised immune system until your little one starts sleeping through the night. Snatching a few minutes of sleep whenever you get the chance can help you regain your energy and your mood.
A solution? Having a spouse, partner, or family member help. Yes, breastfeeding is important for good baby health and having pumped milk may not be a convenient option during late night feedings, but it can be used in the day. Have someone help while you sneak in a nap.
2. Breastfeeding Can Be a Challenge
It turns out there are a variety of challenges that can pop up when you attempt to breastfeed. Here are a few of the most common:
- Lack of milk production
- Baby not latching
- Painful feedings
Talking to a lactation consultant is a wise move that can help you overcome breastfeeding problems so future feeding sessions go smoothly.
3. Your Hormones Are a Mess
When your placenta comes out, your progesterone levels 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 up to 80 percent of women after childbirth.
Understanding your body and why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling is a good 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. However, 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 Is Sore
Saying childbirth is intense is like saying water is wet. Even if you have a pretty great 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, and use witch hazel pads and ice packs to help with the pain. Your doctor will likely have some other suggestions as well, but just be sure to not push yourself too hard for the few weeks following birth.
6. You Don’t Know What You’re Doing
Taking care of a newborn is intimidating. There are so many problems that can arise, including illness, failure to thrive, excessive crying and countless others.
Try not to let all the “what-if” scenarios stress you out. Lean on your partner, spouse or family members to help keep a reality check going. As long as you take care of the basics (feeding and loving your baby), you’re doing great.
7. You Don’t Know Your Baby
Some mothers describe an instant connection to their newborn. If you don’t feel this connection, don’t feel guilty. For some mothers, bonding takes time. According to WebMD, 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.
So if you’re feeling this way — you’re not alone. And it’s not the end of the world. Your baby is still a stranger and it takes time to really get to know one another. Things should turn around with time.