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How to Manage a Newborn with Older Children while Recovering

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! I am blogging about how Babywise has benefitted our family already in our transition to three kids over at Childwise Chat! Today Rachel, from A Mother Far From Home, is guest blogging here about a well timed topic for me. Here is her post titled: How to Manage a Newborn with Older Children while Recovering.

Well… that title is a mouthful. And honestly, recovering while nourishing a newborn and taking care of your older kids is a handful. It’s doable, but it’s a handful.

Whether you’ve had a particularly hair-raising birth, a caesarian, or one that went easy peasy, you’ll still need time to rest and recover. I never feel better immediately after having birth since I find pregnancy very uncomfortable, but I always feel like a zombie for the first few weeks postpartum.

Since Emily is busy snuggling with her newborn and still has two older children to tend to, today’s post is on finding realistic ways to recover while finding a new normal.

1.    Expect moodiness… from everyone.

You are tired, your husband is tired, and your other children will be adjusting to a new season. Even if they are so excited for a cute sibling to cuddle, you may find them acting out in odd ways. Perhaps it’s crying, outright disobedience, or clinginess, just be prepared for a little emotion. Knowing this will happen can help you react in a helpful way.

You may be high as a kite on cloud 9 or already feeling the baby blues, so give yourself permission to be moody too. It won’t last forever, it’s only a season, and part of recovery is resting.

2.    Try to keep schedules stable.

Of course schedules and routines will change with a newborn, that’s inevitable. However, when you establish a new routine try to stick with it. Adding a new member to the family will bring a certain insecurity to the children until they’re used to it, so trying to keep their world as consistent as possible will help them to adjust to the new family norm. It will also help you find your new rhythm.

3.    Sleep when you can.

Gone are the days of sleeping whenever the newborn sleeps… unless all your other kids are at preschool or school. If they aren’t, then you’ll need to make sleep a priority. Maybe you put an older child in independent play, the baby to sleep, and take a quick catnap on the couch with your monitors.  Perhaps you try to coincide afternoon naps together in the afternoon (I’ve written all about how you can get all your kids to nap at the same time) so you can rest for an hour or two uninterrupted.

Whatever you do, get yourself in bed early each evening for a while. Even if the dishes sit in the sink or dishwasher. Even if the laundry remains unfolded for a day or two. Even if you have a full inbox or a backed up TiVo, go to bed!

4.    Don’t ignore yourself.

Sounds a bit silly, right? How can you ignore yourself? Trust me it’s very possible and I guarantee many of you devoted mothers do it without even knowing. I believe we are created spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23) and it’s all inter-connected. If your spirit (think your essence) is down, your soul (think mind and personality) is disturbed, or your body (self-explanatory) is hurting then this distress may manifest itself in many ways.

Watch your moods. I don’t mean navel gaze, but note if you are feeling very down and it doesn’t lift. If you feel so exhausted you are getting desperate, get someone else in there. Love and serve the ones God gave you, but don’t martyr yourself in the process.

5.    Ask for help.

Whether it’s for a meal, for a nap, or for help running errands, get over your fear of asking for help. Most people would be thrilled to help and if you can get over the initial hurdle of asking, they’ll jump at the chance. Whether it’s your bible study, ladies’ group, friends or family, sit down and think about your real needs and don’t be shy to ask.

You can always pay back their generosity when you are feeling better. Or just let them cuddle the baby. That’d be payment enough for me J

I hope that any new mothers struggling to find their new normal amidst hormone changes and school starting will find encouragement here! Best of luck, sweet mothers, you’re doing a great job!

Rachel blogs at A Mother Far from Home giving tips and insight for no-nonsense mothers in nurturing and loving homes. Come on over and get her Top 5 Tips to loving your life at home and having obedient and peaceful children

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