The most important thing after having a baby is being attuned to your baby and yourself. Post-partum can take place at any time during the first year of your baby’s life. Some common symptoms of post-partum is fatigue, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, crying spells, increase in irritation, lack of motivation, and a decrease in self-control. Yes, lack of sleep could contribute to all of this as well. And, when you notice your not meeting your own expectations, validate yourself.
What can you do? Who can help you? How can your environment help you? Introspection into your self first can give you a starting place. Where do you see the greatest change in you? Patience? Motivation? Fatigue? Muscle pain? Do you move less? Does your coping skills need to change, can they change? Think about your daily routine. When are you the most energetic and when are you the most fatigued? How does this correspond with your baby’s most energetic and fatigued time? What are your baby’s needs at this time? Once these questions are answered you can create a plan to make it all work.
|Your needs||Baby’s needs||Developmental Level||Things to Try|
|Sleep at 5am/motivation||Play at 5am/engagement||5 months||Baby sitting on tummy while your laying on your back.|
Use a toy to engage child if you cannot engage verbally.
Other low energy engagement strategies include blinking at child, playing music and tickle your baby’s shoulders during a rhyming piece of the song, or laying next to your baby and blowing on their check.
Who can help you? Are there trusted family members or friends who can provide you support in either meeting your own needs or you’re your baby’s needs?
Its ok to need support.
There are also community supports such as your primary doctor or support groups for your symptoms of post-partum or lack of sleep. Your pediatrician or local civic center can also offer you resources for your baby to engage in the community such as at infant health community events, play groups, story times, etc. Be open about your needs, financial/housing needs can also cause symptoms of depression. If your financial need qualifies you for support, your primary doctor, pediatrician, local civic center, YMCA, etc. may be able to refer you to resources that can support you financially.
Using your environment as a way to assist you in meeting needs is a gem!
If your 5 month old needs to reach up and engage at a time that your muscles are aching and you need to cry, how can your environment meet your baby’s needs for you?
|Baby’s needs at 5 months||Baby’s needs at 5 months||Environmental and engagement modifications to meet baby’s needs||Meeting your needs|
|To reach and engage||To not move|
Put kitchen chair on blanket, throw a blanket over the seat allowing just an edge to hang over, clip a hanging object to the edge of the blanket (earing, rattle, plastic keys, ribbon with scrunchie) just out of reach of your baby as she lays under the chair.Lay next to your baby and say “yay” when she reaches.
Explore your sensory system to see which of your senses wake you up the most and stimulate those senses. Contact people to support in motivating your thoughts and feelings. Explore medication with your values and your primary doctor. Seek support with meeting your own sleep needs(ex: getting a baby sitter to sleep).
Taking into account your need to self-regulate in order to assist your baby in self-regulation when your both crying.
What do you need? A hug? A breeze? Music? Self-talk? A friend?
How long can you endure this uncomfortable feeling? What is obtainable?
These are examples of variables that need to be taken into account when developing your plan in the chart above.
Learning What works: Discovering your baby and yourself, is a book full of charts like these to help you develop a plan that works for you and your baby.
Visit http://www.learningwhatworksbook.com to subscribe to my mailing list, learn more about the book and make a purchase if you are interested!
Shanti Regester, LMFT