Weeks 11 – 16
Mom’s Health and Well-Being
Mom’s New Lifestyle
The isolation many new mothers feel in the first few weeks tends to lessen as the months pass, and the idea of a short childless outing might feel possible and even necessary. Of course it will always take a little longer to prepare and actually get out of the house, but your baby will surely start to be integrated into your every day life. Here are some things you might be experiencing and/or questioning as you settle into your new lifestyle:
- How to manage your growing responsibilities in a significantly shorter amount of time without feeling completely overwhelmed and discouraged. Although there is no foolproof formula (mothers have been searching for centuries), there are easy steps you can take to help settle into your routine.
- Is it post-partum depression? Just because you’re three months in doesn’t mean you sidestepped PPD, which is characterized by feeling sad, angry, detached and/or hopeless for over two weeks. If you’re noticing a sudden shift in your mood or a continual depression that you still can’t shake, talk to your doctor about what you’re feeling. You can’t take care of your baby without first taking care of yourself.
- If you weren’t ready to even think about sex and birth control at your six-week check-up, you might start to feel an unexpected arousal this month. Also keep in mind that there are many safe contraception choices, even for those breastfeeding, so read up on all of your options.
- If you’re planning on returning to work, it’s time to start looking into childcare options. Go on, grab the tissues while you read.
- For those in a marriage or partnership, it’s important to remember that your relationship needs nurturing just as your child does, yet it’s easier to ignore than a crying, hungry baby. Scheduling a routine “date night” will help the two of you reconnect, enjoy some pre-baby freedom and have something to look forward to every week. Even if the funds won’t allow for weekly candle-lit dinners, it’s more about alone time than romance – although romance never hurts.
Finding a babysitter
If you aren’t fortunate to live around relatives and friends who are able to watch the baby at the drop of a hat, it’s a good idea to find a babysitter for both scheduled and last minute outings who you, your partner and your baby are all comfortable with. But where do you find one?
- Personal recommendations from pediatricians, neighborhood parents and local teachers are always your best bet. Ask around at every opportunity you can. (Also ask around for reasonable rates because different areas pay different amounts.)
- Local newspapers and bulletin boards might advertise babysitting services, or you can always put out an ad yourself.
- The Web has a ton of sites that connect parents with childcare options. Many are for full-time nannies or au pairs, but here are some to check out for part-time babysitters:
Your interview process for a full-time sitter will obviously be much more extensive than those hired a few hours a week, but it’s important to really get to know the person you’re planning on hiring:
- Find out his or her current schedule and available days. You don’t want someone cramming you in between a full-time job, night classes and band practice.
- Always ask for references.
- How extensive is his or her experience with children and, more specifically, infants?
- Has he or she ever fed, burped and changed a baby?
- Does he or she have a driver’s license and a car? While some preteens are perfectly capable of taking care of children, you probably won’t want to leave an infant with anyone under 15. Of course every young adult is different, so use your best judgment.
- Inquire about smoking, drinking and drug habits, and make sure to spell out the rules regarding bad language, music choices and personal guests.
- Is he or she trained in infant CPR? Baby first aid?
- Why does he or she enjoy working with infants?
- Watch how the potential sitters interact with your baby.
- Most importantly, listen to your own intuition.
- Your baby might need time to get adjusted to this newcomer, so have the sitter come around 15 minutes before you leave for the first few visits. Luckily your baby probably hasn’t developed stranger anxiety just yet, so the transition should be fairly smooth.
- Make sure your sitter has a list of emergency phone numbers, directions for tasks like heating up a bottle and putting the baby to sleep, and a general knowledge of your parenting philosophies and rules.