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8 things new mums experience in baby’s first year

When you’re pregnant, there is a huge focus on preparing for the birth and very little thought given to what comes afterwards. Which is why the first year of being a new mum can be nothing short of a high-speed, uncontrollable rollercoaster. Here are some common – and some less common – things a woman might experience in the first year after having a baby:

1. Emotional rollercoaster

We’re not kidding when we say the first year can be a rollercoaster. Your mood, your emotions, your priorities, can literally change minute to minute, hour to hour. And when you think about it, it’s really not that surprising. Hormones are fluctuating, sleep is disrupted, and the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a newborn can trigger a wide range of emotions. But it’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed at times. Postpartum depression and anxiety are so much more common than people realise, so it’s important to seek help if feelings of sadness or anxiety are persistent.

2. Physical recovery

Your body goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth, and it needs time to heal. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, recovery involves a period of rest and self-care. Many women experience postpartum bleeding, soreness, and fatigue. Engaging in gentle exercises, eating nutritious foods, and following up with your healthcare provider are key to a smooth recovery and avoiding postnatal depletion.

3. Breastfeeding challenges

For those who choose to breastfeed, the initial phase can come with its own set of challenges. Issues like latching difficulties, sore nipples, and concerns about milk supply are common. Support from a lactation consultant, breastfeeding support groups, and plenty of patience can make a big difference.

4. Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is almost a given in the first year. Newborns have irregular sleep patterns and need to feed every few hours, which means disrupted sleep for parents. Napping when the baby naps, sharing nighttime duties with a partner, and creating a bedtime routine for the baby can help manage sleep deprivation.

5. Shifting identity

Becoming a mother often brings a shift in identity. You might find yourself re-evaluating your priorities, career goals, and personal interests. This is not talked about enough as the expectation is so often that you’ll just pick up where you left off before becoming a mum. It’s crucial to take time for yourself and remember that it’s okay to pursue your passions and hobbies alongside motherhood.

6. Changes in relationships

Having a baby can impact relationships with your partner, family, and friends. The dynamics may shift as you and your partner navigate parenthood together, which can sometimes lead to tension. Open communication and finding time for each other can help maintain a strong relationship.

7. Body image concerns

The changes your body goes through during pregnancy and postpartum can affect how you feel about your appearance. It’s normal to have mixed feelings about your post-baby body. Practicing self-love, focusing on what your body has accomplished, and gradually returning to physical activity can boost your body image.

8. Newfound joy and wonder

Amidst all the challenges, the first year with your baby is filled with moments of joy and wonder. Watching your baby’s first smile, laugh, and steps are incredible milestones that make all the sleepless nights and hard work worth it. Cherishing these moments and celebrating small victories can bring immense happiness.

Final thoughts

The first year after having a baby is a time of profound transformation. It’s a journey of highs and lows, but knowing what to expect can help you navigate it more smoothly. Remember to lean on your support system, take care of your mental and physical health, and savour the beautiful moments with your little one.

Every experience is unique, and it’s okay to reach out for help and support whenever you need it. Welcome to the amazing, ever-evolving world of motherhood!

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