After the birth of a child, it is not uncommon to have family members that want to visit you and the new baby. Some of these family members will be there to help you and provide support to you and your family as you transition your child into your family. Others may only be interested in spending time with the baby and provide little in the way of help or support. So how do you manage family members during your postpartum recovery period, so you are getting the rest and help you need? We will be answering that in this blog as we discuss postpartum family help.
How much help do you need?
It can be tough to gauge the level of assistance you will need while you are recovering from labor and delivery. One thing to consider when trying to determine how much help you will need is your personality type and whether having family around energizes or drains you. This may help you decide which relatives you may want to stay with you for extended periods and which ones you would only like to visit for short durations. If having a lot of people or individual family members around makes you feel obligated to play hostess, then it is wise to schedule their visits for later in your recovery. You may also find it useful to consider the skills and work ethic of family members when it comes to household responsibilities and determine what things they may be able to help you with while they are staying with you or visiting.
Managing stress levels
According to a 2014 article in Clinical obstetrics and gynecology, a mother’s stress levels may affect the neurobehavioral development of her baby both in utero and after birth. Therefore, keeping your stress levels low should be considered a high priority in your postpartum recovery. Additionally, how various family members affect your stress level must be taken into account when arranging for postpartum family help and scheduling for visits and extended stays. Since your stress levels impact not only your recovery but also the development of your child, it is of the utmost importance that you be able to maintain a level of peace throughout your postpartum period. It may be useful to talk with family members ahead of time about the importance of maintaining a calm environment after you bring the baby home. You may also want to designate someone as a go-between for you and any family members that may stress you out.
When you have family staying with you for an extended period to provide postpartum family help, it is important to find a strong balance between the daily chores, caring for the baby, looking after you, and enjoying the baby. It is helpful to talk with family members ahead of time to make your expectations clear about how time with the child will be divided up as well as what chores or care you are expecting them to help with while they are in your home. However, it is imperative that you allow your family members to have time to hold the baby and spend time with them. It can be tough to hand your child off to someone else because you may want to keep them close at all times so be intentional about sharing your little bundle of joy with them. For some family members, having those few precious moments with your little one can motivate them to be extra diligent about taking care of the chores and care activities that need to be done each day.
While relying on family for support during your postpartum recovery is wonderful, they may not be able to provide you with all of the assistance you require. We are happy to connect you with a postpartum doula or newborn care specialist who can provide professional care and expertise to help you and your family.