Wellness Hub September 2018 Pregnancy & Infants Common challenges in early motherhood David Cannata - Swisse Expert September 25, 2018 Share No one ever said the early stages of motherhood are easy, particularly if it’s your first time round. Often, mothers are so involved with their new role as a mum that they may not focus their own wellbeing, yet this is equally as important as the baby’s. Below are some of the common considerations women have during early childhood. Sleep deprivation Sleep deprivation is probably the biggest challenge of any new mother. Soothing a restless baby to sleep and feeding them throughout the night and early morning can weigh down your eyes, personality and relationship with your partner, family and friends. Don’t let sleep deprivation get the better of you, or come between you and your baby. Newborns need more sleep than adults, so the next time your baby gets some shut eye during the day, it’s a cliché but you should too. Sure, your clothes, bedding, and dishes need a wash but your sleep should be higher on the priority list. Dad, grandma, grandpa, auntie, uncle and many others will be keen to lend you a hand with the duties around the house, so that you can enjoy a dream too. Baby blues and postpartum emotions For a few days after giving birth, many women can experience feelings of uncertainty, sadness and irritability - emotions which are unexpected after months of awaiting the face-to-face introduction. Baby blues occur because pregnancy hormones are rapidly changing into breastfeeding hormones, accompanied by your feelings of exhaustion from the labour and infant care, and feeling overwhelmed with your new responsibility. With plenty of rest and support from your family and friends, you will hopefully start to feel better in a short period of time. If the blues last longer than a month you should seek advice and support from your doctor. Pre-pregnancy body Let’s just say it – trying to achieve an immediate post-baby ‘celebrity’ transformation is unrealistic. Many women take a long time to get back to their pre-pregnancy body, and that’s fine. The body is once again undergoing enormous changes and you need to give it some time to recover. It generally takes six to eight weeks for your uterus to return back to its normal size and you should wait for this to happen before you start trying to slim down and tone up. Keep gentle exercise as part of your daily routine – such as a walk with your baby and partner, or swimming. When you feel fit enough, gradually increase your physical activity expenditure to burn more calories. Accompany your exercise with a healthy and nutritious diet, especially if breastfeeding. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and choose low-fat dairy; these food groups offer a variety nutrients. Remember to eat the rainbow. Should I look like this? You may have some other changes on your body and be wondering if they are permanent. Hips may be wider and skin possibly looser in certain areas but stretch and operational marks, and the dark lining around the stomach will become less noticeable with time. As you can see, there’re some bodily changes that are modifiable and others that come with being a mother. Many women feel comfortable again in their own skin and embrace their new bodies after multiple pregnancies, and you can too in your own time!