DIY Confinement – Is It Possible?
Do not be misled into thinking you can DO IT ALL on your own. With nine months of pregnancy and the toll of childbirth behind you, the fact is that your body needs all the rest it can get, and you owe it to yourself and your family to do so. You will still need some help around the house if you have to get your share of rest.
So What Is DIY Confinement?
Simply put, it is putting yourself in control of what you want to happen during the first few weeks post-birth. It is for the independent woman who wants to make the decision about who and what will help her ease into her new role as a mother in the beginning weeks.
Here are my top 5 tips on how you can get through the first few postpartum weeks with minimal help.
Tip 1: Plan And Prepare Early
Other than getting the baby things ready, you should also look into how you will meet your various needs during this time. Two important areas to look into include:
Proper nutrition is critical for you as you recuperate especially if you are intending to breastfeed active. Whether it is getting a confinement meals caterer, precooking and freezing meals ahead of time or having relatives take turns cooking for you, ensure you get it all planned and sorted out at least a month before baby is expected to arrive. Load up on healthy snacks and other grocery supplies so you don’t have to run out to get them after baby is here.
Help Around The House
Put aside the meticulous clean and neat freak in you. You will be better off saving your energy for sleep and bonding with baby. Arranging for a part-time cleaner to come in once or twice a week will help greatly. This also frees your partner and other family members from the menial tasks to focus on you and enjoy the baby.
Tip 2: Have Support Networks
Things can get a little topsy-turvy with the postpartum hormones. Having people who can keep you from losing it are exceptionally helpful. Make out a list of at least 3 people you know you can count on to keep your spirits up. They don’t have to be moms but they have to be friend you know won’t gossip about you or judge you if you burst into tears with them.
Tip 3: Rest When Baby Sleeps
Grab rest when he sleeps. He probably keeps you up enough during the nights for you to crave it. So chuck your work and cleaning and opt for rest. I had great difficulty putting work aside and was rushing manuscripts to meet deadlines all through that first month. What a grave mistake that was!
Tip 4: Make Time For ‘Me’ And ‘Us’
With all the attention centred around baby, it is easy to forget that you still need personal and couple time. This may seem impossible and irresponsible in the beginning, but it’s one of the simplest secrets to happiness in parenthood. After the first two weeks or so, you should be able to spot some quiet periods in the day where your baby naps. Use these times to give yourself a little loving break doing what you enjoy. It may be as little as 15 minutes but that’s a start. Don’t forget about cuddling up with your spouse too! When you have your own love tank all topped up, you will only have more love to share with your little one.
Tip 5: Be Flexible With Your Own Expectations
Even if this is your 10th baby, you will probably find her surprising you with quirks that demand for changes on your end. If thing don’t go as you thought they would or as the trusty parenting ‘bible’ says it should, relax. Remember: A baby is also a little human. No two babies are alike. Whoever said you have to stick to all your own expectations or those rules in the books? Don’t drive yourself insane trying to meet all those standards! Adjust your own expectations as you discover your baby’s needs and also your own parenting style.
Written by Sarah Lee-Wong
This article was first published in The New Age Parents Magazine Oct / Nov 2010 issue Page 8