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Being a new mom is probably the biggest whirlwind of emotions a woman can ever go through! You are absolutely in love with the baby (or in my case babies) you just brought into this world, but you’re stressed, sleep deprived, overwhelmed, happy, sad—honestly, the list goes on and on. My twins have truly been amazing little boys from the moment they came into this world. They almost killed me with the lack of sleep, stress and just general overwhelming feeling of having twins, but they have truly been a joy and continue to be.
With all that said I don’t care what people tell you! Nothing you read, no class you take, no advice you get can prepare you for the real-life experience of becoming a parent! It is something you have to experience, learn from, grow from and do hands-on in real time.
I did lots of reading on the many sleepless nights I had in the first few months with my twins and I found some things I read to be incredibly helpful while others just seemed to overwhelm me even more! So I wanted to put together a short list of 5 things that helped me out so much in that initial period when you first get home and are feeling completely lost and overwhelmed. I hope you find this helpful and it gives you some peace of mind!
I promise you it will get better! You will look back at this time and laugh (or cry lol) at how far you have come! Many people would say this to me when I first had my twins, but I honestly didn’t want to hear it and didn’t care at that point. I was tired, stressed, desperately needed sleep and did not see an end in sight.
First and foremost, relax! This is all new to you and you are going to feel completely overwhelmed and it is totally ok and appropriate to feel that way. For the first 6 weeks don’t worry about your weight gain, having to do anything, etc…Your baby is still adjusting to this new world and trying to implement anything too rigid is going to be difficult. Your body is still adjusting physically, mentally, and hormonally so give yourself a break!
I also want to note that what works for me might not work for you and that is completely fine! Take this and everything you read as suggestions and advice to help you come up with a plan that works for YOU! Even if something works for every other mom you talk to do NOT beat yourself up about it not working for you and your baby! Every child is different and not everything works for everyone. Try something and if it works great! If it doesn’t adjust and try other things that may suit you, your baby and your family better.
5 Tips to get you through the first few months with your new baby:
1. Start a feed, wake, sleep schedule as soon as possible
Try to start feeding your baby at least every 4 hours and get them on a feed, wake, nap schedule. My twins did not spend any time in the NICU because they were born perfectly healthy at 37 weeks weighing 7 lbs each, but I know many women with twins or singletons (when you have twins you get very used to this term) who did have to stay in the NICU for some time and this is the type of schedule the nurses have their babies on! Babies who stay in the NICU come home on a fantastic feed, wake, sleep schedule and while the nurses have shifts and don’t have to be with the same baby night and day like new moms do, they are really on to something. The quicker you start to get your baby on a schedule the more sane you will become!
2. Start taking walks (with or without your baby)
It is so great for your recovering body and hopefully, your baby will enjoy it as well.
It is also just helpful to get out of the house!
Funny story…my twins hated walks when they were newborns! I don’t know what it was, but they would literally start screaming to the top of their lungs. My husband and I once took them on a walk and all seemed to be going well (for once) and we got about a ½ mile away from our house all hell broke loose. They started screaming to the top of their lungs and would not stop until they were in our arms. So we ended up each holding one and pushing the empty stroller all the way home.
I am a natural introvert and had no desire to leave the house for weeks after the twins were born! I was overweight, sweating all the time with my hormones going crazy, and breasts full of milk so I had no desire to see anyone! But trust me getting some fresh air will help you so much! Mind, body, and spirit included. You can start this as soon as you are physically able to. Don’t rush yourself.
3. Start a light workout routine (one geared for postpartum would be best)
Around 6 weeks (if you had a vaginal delivery and no complications) is when you should be able to start a light workout routine. One that helped me tremendously was MUTU. It is specially designed for women who have a diastasis recti after pregnancy (which I had). Naturally when your pregnant and your body adjusts to your growing baby your abdominal muscles spread apart, for some of us (like myself) they separate completely and don’t come back together after you have recovered from the pregnancy. What this looks like is a slimmed down body that still has a pouch in the stomach area that makes you appear to be pregnant. This program is outstanding for helping you recover from that and it comes with workouts, meal plans and lifetime access to the website. In the program, she recommends getting a pair of barefoot shoes to help with your posture. These are the ones I got and still wear them frequently. They are designed to create the optimum posture for you as you are recovering and going on your walks.
4. A balanced diet
Implement a balanced diet that is geared toward your post-pregnancy goals. I gained 100 lbs with my twins, but when I came home from the hospital 2 days later I was already down 65 lbs. So I only had about 35 lbs to lose from my pregnancy which is pretty average for twins (my second pregnancy was a whole different story which is something we talk about on another post). So I didn’t really need to do a hardcore diet or workout routine, but I did need to implement better eating habits than I had while I was pregnant. Each of our starting points is very different so you have to keep that in mind and not compare yourself to others or even my story. A post-pregnancy diet and/or exercise routine you will look different for each woman. If you are breastfeeding you have to implement a plan that is going to give your body what it needs while not affecting your milk supply. If you have 50 lbs to lose you need to be realistic about the fact that the weight is not going to come off as quickly as a woman who only had 20 lbs to lose.
For my first pregnancy, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within 3 months and lost an additional 10 lbs by the time I was 6 months post. But for my 2nd pregnancy which I also gained 100lbs (like I said that is a story for another day) I came home only 5 lbs down (even though he was just shy of 9lbs!) so everyone is different and every pregnancy can be different. You can implement so many different ways of eating (again MUTU comes with a meal plan) or check out some of my other health & wellness posts that you can implement whether you are post-partum or not. Being an ex-athlete I had a lot of wonderful friends that specialize in nutrition so I had one of my friends help me with a plan that worked out fabulously. It was a 21-day challenge that really helped me get my eating on track and I was able to keep that up afterward as well