“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
If you haven’t already heard this phrase over and over, buckle up, because well-meaning friends and relatives are sure to remind you to do this.
For some new parents, this can be an off-putting phrase because sleeping when your newborn sleeps can feel impossible.
Who will do the dishes?
Who will fold the laundry?
Who will make sure the older kids are fed and well cared for?
As impossible as rest may seem, it is vital to your recovery as a birthing parent. Pregnancy lasts 10 months, and then you likely spent many hours (or maybe even days) in labor before your newest addition arrived. Labor is called labor for a reason - it is HARD work. Your body experiences many changes during pregnancy and childbirth, and you NEED to rest to allow yourself to recover physically and mentally.
If your goal is to be the best, most available parent to your kids - you need to practice self care first. Not only are you taking proper care for yourself, but you are modeling healthy self care practices for your kids.
So, how do we make self care and rest happen? Planning and preparation!
One easy step is to start thinking about this BEFORE baby arrives, but if you hadn’t, don’t worry - all is certainly not lost, it is never too late to ask for help.
1) Start thinking about all the things you normally do in your household that you will be unable to do when you come home with your newborn.
2) Make a plan! Enlist the help of family and friends or a postpartum doula to help you find answers to these questions.
Your needs are important. You need to rest. You need to recover. Stay hydrated. Eat well. Accept help.
Nourish your body and your mind while you adjust to this amazing new life of yours.
Stay well, friend.