While pregnancy can be rough, if you think postpartum life is a breeze by comparison you, sadly, have another thing coming. A newborn makes life infinitely more complicated. Sure, you have this adorable little person staring up at you, making cute little sounds at all hours of the day, but they depend on you constantly, too. You have zero time for washing your hair or reading a magazine or, well, anything. So there's really no reason to complicate those first few post-baby months. Thankfully, there are plenty of things I did to make my postpartum life easier, and you can, too.
The moment I found out I was pregnant with my son, I started coming up with all these fantasies about how my new mom life would be. I figured I’d exclusively breastfeed and I'd only use natural, organic baby and post-baby products. I thought I’d stay home for a couple of months, then dive headfirst into a new job search with the greatest of ease. I envisioned weekly mommy-and-me classes, and was pretty damn sure I would be hitting the gym and dropping my kid off at daycare without a care in the world. I pictured a beautiful and pristine nursery room dedicated to my little one.
Yeah, all of that requires time and energy, and I was lacking in both by the time my son was not only born, but made it home from the NICU. Fortunately, I didn’t hold tight to those pipe dreams for too long, either, because while that might be someone else’s life (perhaps they have lots of help, or money to afford said help, and had easy births and minimal trauma, unlike myself), it certainly was not for me. I took the so-called "easy route" because I needed to, and because, quite frankly, I don’t see why making things harder on myself would somehow make me a better mom. So, with that in mind, here’s how I gave myself a break:
I Gave Up On Breastfeeding Early
Look, everyone’s got their own decisions to make regarding breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. My take is, instead of "breast is best," fed is best. I couldn’t produce enough breast milk and was driving myself (and everyone around me) batty with the stress of pumping around the clock. Eventually, I said screw this, and allowed my very minimal supply to dry out. My kid didn’t even notice.
I Let Other People Feed My Baby
My son was always bottle fed, even when I breastfed my son for that short period of time, because, again, I didn’t produce enough milk. As a result, anyone could feed him.
No, I don’t think I lost on any chances to bond with him just because other people were able to share the responsibility of feeding my son. In fact, it was actually a really nice break.
I Gave Up On The Idea Of Cloth Diapering
In an ideal world, we would all have free laundry service that takes care of cloth diapers for us, and empty landfills as a result. This world is far from perfect, though, and my laundry machine was backed up enough. Adding poop-filled diapers to the mix was just not in the cards.
I Did A Ton Of Laundry Beforehand
That said, I was proactive in making sure I had plenty of clean laundry prior to my baby’s arrival. Although, in all honestly, I had a lot of help from my mother when it came to laundry, too. I owe her the world for those first few weeks of clean onesies and burp cloths.
I Made Sure To Stock Up On Postpartum Care Products
I went on something of a postpartum care shopping spree prior to having my son. The internet is a wonderful tool when creating your shopping list, too, I might add. I bought my fair share of postpartum sprays, witch hazel pads (plus regular period pads), lanolin in case my nipples cracked, and so many other things to help with the early days.
I Mostly Used Disposable Plates & Silverware
Again, I have my parents to thank for this. I know it’s not the most earth-friendly technique, but when you’re scrambling to wash bottles so your kid has something to drink out of, but you can’t see the bottom of your sink because of everything else that collected over the days, you’ll be glad you decided to use some paper plates instead.
I Took Advantage Of Every Take-Out Menu Known To Man
Cooking? What’s that? Certainly not something I planned to do during those initial postpartum months, that's for sure.
I Let Our Son Sleep In Our Bedroom
OK, honestly I never intended for our son to sleep in his own room until he turned at least 1 or 2 years old. At the time, I was doing it because I feared having something happen to him where I couldn’t see him. Having him in his bassinet (and then crib) beside my bed worked well, though, because I didn’t have to run to the other room to check on him. I could just reach over with my hand to comfort.
I Asked For & Accepted A Lot Of Help
Some people suck at accepting, or even asking for, help. I, however, am not one of those people, and I certainly was not one of those people when I had my son. Seriously, take all the help you can get.
I Declined Visitation Requests
Yes, people wanted to come meet the adorable, new baby, and I appreciated how much they loved and cared for my son and our brand new family. But did I feel like taking a shower or wearing something other than my pajamas? That would be a hard "no." Everyone had to wait a few months, and I have zero regrets.
I Stopped Caring About What I “Looked” Like
Everyone has a different set of beauty standards for themselves. Personally, I like wearing just a touch of makeup (fill in the brows, a little mascara, probably some chapstick), but in the postpartum days there was no way I was going to wear any makeup or sport heels or anything else remotely “cute.”
Now I have more time to play with makeup if and when I want. Why torture myself in feeling bad about my looks in those early days of motherhood, though? After all, I could barely remember my name.