A baby changes your life completely. However, the only problem is that before the baby arrives you have little concept of the ways in which your life will change, especially during those first couple of weeks. Fortunately there are numerous resources available in Cayman to help new mothers cope with the challenges present by the arrival of a new life.
During the pregnancy, local obstetricians will provide mothers to be with plenty of information, but one of the most important things they can do is attend prenatal classes at one of the local hospitals. Even though you might be very busy planning for baby, the classes do a very good job of helping you prepare for what lies ahead. Just as important is the fact that the classes will also provide you with an opportunity to meet other couples who are expecting children around the same time you are expecting. The contacts built up here can be invaluable once the little one has arrived and you are looking for someone who really understands what you are going through. You will definitely need the interaction with other people going through the same process, just to remind you that what you are experiencing is normal.
Attending prenatal exercise classes can also be very helpful for building up contacts and teaming up with your fellow new mothers after baby has arrived and can help everyone get back into shape again much quicker.
For those whose families are off island, it is well worth having someone come over to visit during the first couple of weeks, as an extra pair of hands around the house can be heaven sent. You might think you can cope well enough, but once sleep deprivation kicks in, even menial tasks can seem like insurmountable obstacles.
However, be certain to tell any guests who are ostensibly there to help exactly what you want them to do – even though your mother may have raised a number of children successfully, chances are that her last experience with a newborn in the house was 30 years ago. You can deal with the baby if someone else can take care of cooking, shopping and the rest of the daily tasks until you have been able to get back on your feet.
Although it is one of the pieces of advice provided most often, you really should sleep when the baby sleeps. Most new parents think they can use the time when the baby sleeps to do stuff around the house, but you should get rest when you can get it. It also helps to tag team during the night, as there is no reason for both parents to be awake when baby has to be rocked back to dreamland again.
Even though dads may be a little bit unsure and even reluctant, it is important to get them involved from early one. Getting father and child to bond as soon as possible and getting dad to share the workload can make a big difference.
Taking care of your own health should also be a priority, so get moving again as soon as you feel comfortable. Taking walks will help clear your head and prevent you from starting to get cabin fever from staying indoors with baby the whole time.
If you are planning to go back to work after your maternity leave, be certain to start planning for that day well in advance, as finding a nanny that you trust or a day care that can take your child can be a time consuming process.
Don’t feel guilty about wanting to go back to work; the challenges of work is part of who you are, and after a couple of months of spending most of your waking hours in the company of someone who cannot talk, sit upright, or do much of anything, looking forward to some grown-up company is very natural.
Plan ahead when it comes to your baby’s feeding schedule as well. If you are breast-feeding, put together a plan for how you will continue once you return to work, including liaising with your employer about finding a suitable location to pump. Adapt the baby’s feeding schedule in advance of your return in order to make for a smooth transition.
Don’t feel guilty about wanting to go back to work; the challenges of work is part of who you are.