Confidence is a funny goal after you have had a baby, but it is one that is often overlooked as you try and cope with this tiny little bundle that has changed your life forever.
When I had Rupert my days were often a complete blur trying to breastfeed and working out why he was crying and why his bowel movements weren’t conforming to the list that I had from the midwives. I also felt frustrated that I genuinely had no idea what I was doing especially as prior to Rupert I was a management consultant in London and I prided myself on my ability to cope with anything that a client threw at me. I spent hours on google trying to work out what Rupert was doing and the more tired I got, the less I relied on my intuition and slowly but surely my confidence hit rock bottom.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but, if I could go back now, I would spend a little bit more time just focusing on ‘me’ as I truly believe now that a happy mummy is a happy baby. So here are my top tips for you:
Trust your intuition
Google was probably my biggest mistake when I had Rupert – I googled EVERYTHING! Even when I thought I was sure about something, I would google it anyway just to make sure. However, as I’m sure you are aware – there is a lot of conflicting advice on the internet! So, my biggest piece of advice to you is to throw those books away and instead focus on what YOU think your little bundle is telling/showing you. If you are really unsure then phone your health visitor or midwife, but just don’t spend hours worrying. You are a mum now, your brain has changed during your pregnancy and birth to tune in to what your baby needs – trust that nature will let you know when you need to worry.
Please rest for a couple of weeks, just don’t worry about getting up, just rest. My good friend Christina told me this before and then again after I had Rupert and it was amazing advice. I didn’t rush to get out of bed, I didn’t rush to have coffee with everyone, it was wonderful just to spend time as a family and nap and bond with each other as much as you can.
I promise you a diet of toast, cake and cups of tea are going to be the worst thing to eat after you bring your baby home. Try and organise your shopping so that you always have healthy snacks ready for you in the fridge, especially if you are breastfeeding. John and I bought a lot of meals from companies like Cook after Rupert was born as it was so easy to cook and we knew that they were healthy and nutritious too.
Make time to have a shower or bath
I often tell people that prior to having Rupert I used to get so annoyed about the water pressure in our shower, but I have never complained about it since, as just being in a hot shower is pure bliss regardless of how rubbish the water pressure is!
I don’t know about you, but spending your days feeding and looking after your baby whilst waddling around the house wishing it wasn’t so painful to sit down made me feel like more of a lame milking cow rather than the strong professional woman I was before.
Making time to have a shower meant that I always had 5 minutes to myself every day and in those 5 minutes I smelt clean and had a bit of time to think through any problems I had without someone needing me (or my boobs!).
Put some ‘real’ clothes on
I promise you, although it is SO much easier to wear your pyjamas every day, it will feel 100 times better if you try and wear something else in the day… even if it is just leggings and a different jumper! I wore my maternity jeans for months after I had Rupert, they were just so comfortable and forgiving, but I did feel like at least I wasn’t wearing my pyjamas!
I bought my older sister some amazing lounge pyjamas after the birth of her second son, and I know that having something luxurious (which washes well) to slip into is something she looks forward to.
Now is not the time to put loads of pressure on yourself to fit into your ‘pre pregnancy’ jeans. You have enough going on! Just relax and enjoy as much of the time with your baby as you can. Your body took 9 months to make a baby and you have just been through labour (need I say more…), just give your body a break for a while.
Spend time with your husband/partner/family/friends
This is essential for your confidence. Pick the people who are just going to give you what you need, whether it is a cuddle, a kiss or just a bit of time and advice where you can vent or just relax. These people are going to give you all the energy that you need to get through the tough moments. For me this was my husband and two of his close friends; Zoe and Christina; find those people and keep them close as you will depend on them, and they won’t mind at all.
Get out of the house
Once you are feeling up for it, then start to get out the house. Ideally this should be everyday, but a few times a week is great too. Yes you will bring the whole house with you ‘just in case’, but getting out the front door with your baby is just such a wonderful feeling of achievement. The more you do it, the further you walk will just build your confidence up, slowly but surely!
Do be aware that the more you do after the birth, the more pressure this will put on your body. Expect heavier blood flow afterwards and perhaps a dull ache in your pelvic floor, just be careful. If this happens, just rest the next day. You probably started to listen to your body during your pregnancy, don’t stop now!
I really hope that this helps, what other things did you do after your babies were born to increase your confidence?