Postpartum is a huge season of transition for the whole family. There are so many changes. As mamas, we get to try juggle all of it and attempt to do it cheerfully. On a previous blog post Angie talked about some of the practical ways to prepare your heart and your home prior to birth for postpartum. Click here to read that post.
In this post, let’s talk about immediate postpartum. Let’s touch on sleep deprivation, figuring out the whole nursing thing, and transition of older children.
Then next week I’ll post about helpful and practical ways to care for your body that has just gone through labor and birth.
Postpartum can easily be a season that becomes overwhelming. If I could only give you one piece of advice it would be to FEED YOUR SOUL! Make it a priority. Have worship playing, listen to podcasts while nursing, and find some sort of audio Bible that you can listen to while your hands are busy. If your soul is peaceful, your home can be peaceful even when every room looks like a bomb just exploded.
Let’s talk about some of the “nitty-gritty” that we can all expect during the first few weeks.
It’s HARD! Can I get an amen? The lack of sleep is absolutely the biggest bummer about having babies.
I love to sleep! Over time my needs have adapted. I used to want 6-8 hours uninterrupted sleep. With a new baby… I feel great if I get a full 3 hour sleep cycle, and it truly feels like a miracle if I get 4. With sleep I can conquer any blow out diaper, spilt cup of milk, and or two year old attitude. Without it, things are a bit touch and go. Tears happen when I’m tired. Spontaneous RIDICULOUS tears, that more often than not make me mad, happen when I’m tired. Sometimes it takes a while to come back to the place emotionally where I am willing to serve my family well.
Motherhood is about dying daily. Taking up our cross, following Jesus, and lovingly telling our little people “follow me as I follow Christ”….no matter how tired we are.
Make a plan. Figure out a way to make it work. If your sweet little person has the days and nights mixed up, it’s okay to say no to visitors during the day so you can rest. It is ideal if you and your hubby can work out shifts so you can get a sleep cycle in during the night. I’m a night person. I find it most helpful if my hubby sleeps earlier in the night and then wakes up if the baby is up in the early morning hours. Do whatever works for you. Communicate well. Your husband is not the enemy. You were given the motherly, nurturing, nursing ability to make you wake up for your baby. Despising this season of limited sleep, or despising your husband will not change that. There really can be joy with interrupted sleep. I promise. Even at 3:00am.
Figuring out the whole nursing thing…
The awesome thing is you only have to be a first time mom ONCE. Figuring things out the first time is always the hardest. If you need help, ASK. This is a way that older women can serve new mamas, or you can also contact the Le Leche League. Some babies are natural instinctual eaters. Others need more coaching. It can always be beneficial to have someone check your babies latch.
In addition to figuring things out, or it being uncomfortable, we can struggle emotionally. It can be frustrating to be sitting on the couch nursing, AGAIN when every room in the house, or every other child, needs your attention. I struggled more in this area. I like to be busy. Sitting and nursing was hard for me. Pushing my little one too long in between feedings was a temptation. I had to consistently ask the Lord to calm my heart and give me the desire to sit and “be still.”
Nursing really can be a productive time, but it does take a little bit of effort. With my second, third, and forth babies I used our nursing time to read. If my older kids were more antsy we turned on worship music and they would dance while I sat on the couch. I did this for a few reasons. I wanted to capitalize on the time, and I wanted to keep them all where I could SEE THEM. My kids are pretty close in age. I’ve had a few opportunists that loved to touch the “no no’s” as soon I got a good latch. It’s helpful to be proactive and limit the temptations, so that it isn’t a dreaded frustration, and discipline time, every 2-3 hours.
I’ve had a few moms ask me about how our older children adjusted to new babies. To be honest, I actually never considered this when my second was born. Partially out of naivety, and partially because I just assumed she would love him. It was my perspective that of course WE are ALL going to love this sweet little person.
We haven’t ever had a jealous toddler. Reflecting back it might be because we talk about the new baby as “OUR baby.” It’s just something we have always done and it created excitement and ownership in all of our kids.
But I know that it isn’t always this easy for every family. If you are struggling with a toddler that has a hard time being gentle, or is jealous my advice is pray, pray, pray.
Remember though sister, that we are ALL called to love. Romans 15: 2 says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
Often we excuse bad behavior as adjustment and jealousy, and somehow justify it as okay. When instead, we should train in righteousness and show them how to LOVE in a way that is pleasing to Lord. The love between siblings grows and is natural and unprompted if it’s modeled at an early age. Elsa tucking Bennett in after he fell asleep was unprompted and SO sweet. I was putting laundry away in the room and just happened to catch a picture.
Respond in love, and work on consistency. Sometimes it feels like parents can add to the stress by overreacting to the “love” of a toddler. Pray for wisdom. There may be a need that is not being met in your toddler, or there might be a need to work on consistency in discipline. The Lord is SO good about answering faithfully. His ways are higher than ours. It is amazing how you can get specific answers and glimpses into your child’s heart when you ask the Lord for that wisdom. He’s good like that.
Overall, continue to put your trust and hope in the Lord. As I was typing that last paragraph, the words of a song called The Desert Song by Hillsong came to mind. You can listen to the song with lyrics on youtube here.
“All of my life
in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to Sing
I have a reason to worship”
In EVERY season we have a reason to worship. We can choose, in sleep deprivation, chaos, and hard transitions to have His perspective.
Blessings on you dear ladies as you pursue His heart and His perspective in your homes,