There have been numerous studies that prove babies pick up on mother’s emotions and feelings and will mirror them. It’s even been shown that unborn babies react to the emotions felt of a mother. High stress during pregnancy has been linked to baby getting asthma, for example. And one study found that even marital conflict affects baby’s sleep.
The fact is that your new baby mirrors your emotions and your feelings. When a mama is overly stressed – and this could be very well-meaning stress just over the baby’s happiness and comfort – baby will react to this by being extra fussy and unsettled. When mama is relaxed into motherhood, then baby picks up on those emotions as well and is a calmer baby.
But, what is a new mother to do when in the midst of tiredness and dealing with so many new changes? And how does a mother go from feeling stressed to being in a place of connection and empowerment?
Here are some tips for new mothers ~
- Rest or better yet sleep when baby sleeps. Chances are you aren’t going to get the 8 hours of sleep you may have gotten before, so every bit of it will help.
- Get a comfortable baby carrier. Your baby will naturally want to be carried and having a comfortable baby carrier means that your baby will be happy worn by you, while you also have your hands free.
- Gather local support. Someone offers (even just a hint of it) to make dinner for you — take it! Don’t be shy about receiving. Even when you don’t have family around, you’ll get friends or neighbors who want to help. Accept the help wherever you can.
- Hire a mommy’s helper. Sometimes just having someone to hold the baby while you take a shower can make a world of difference.
- Get out of the house. Join a local mommy support group, attend library “Babies and Books” time, go visit your other friend with kids, go visit your local park if even to hang out (babies attract new mothers like you and you’ll quickly make friends), or join your local breastfeeding support group.
- Don’t forget to eat. You’re using a lot of energy to grow your baby even postpartum. Now is the time to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients – eat small power meals/snacks throughout the day. Don’t have time for lunch? Grabs some raw nuts and a banana and eat. Snack time already? Eat a string cheese and a handful of carrots. It doesn’t need to be sit-down-and-eat meals (hey you’re lucky if you can get those in!) – it just needs to be nutritious.
- Breathe. Now, let it out and breathe again. You are the best mother for your baby and your baby loves you more than you can imagine. You’re doing great!
- Hug your partner. An affectionate hug by the one you love, that plays such a big role in parenting with you, is a good way to reconnect.
- Talk it out. Find a mentor or someone you respect and let it all out. Tell them what you feel, what you miss, what you love, what you want, what you’re having trouble with, what you need their advice on and what you don’t and just let them be that ear and shoulder just for you.
What you’ll notice with all the tips above is that it’s about you. Taking care of you is still important even with a new baby in your life. When you’re in a good place, so is your baby. Now breathe…