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What to expect when you’re no longer expecting

27 Nov, 2023

By Jane Barry, Philips Avent

Pregnancy is a time of great excitement and joy for most women and their partners and a lot of energy and discussion is put into planning for the new baby and wondering about the changes to come and what to expect when you're no longer expecting.

Thinking beyond labour and birth

It’s completely normal for pregnant women to sometimes struggle to think beyond their baby’s birth. Biologists say one reason is because labour and childbirth are so momentous that thoughts about anything after are eclipsed. Of course, we know there’s going to be a baby, who will need looking after, but the precise details tend to be put to one side, they can be dealt with when the time comes.

But what about me?

It’s a well known fact that during pregnancy everyone’s focus tends to be on the mother, but after the baby is born all of this changes. Mum tends to be a little forgotten as the spotlight shifts strongly to focus attention on the new addition, it’s easy for new mothers to feel left out and perhaps a little ignored. Although in a rational sense it’s easy to understand why the baby is getting so much consideration, it can still hurt a little.

Throughout your pregnancy and in the early days after birth, it will pay for you to care well for yourself and not neglect your own needs. After all, the single most important thing you can do to care for your baby is to care well for their mother, if you’re not OK, your baby won’t be either.

Quiet time

After the birth, you may find your home has become an open house for relatives and friends wanting to give your new little person a cuddle, just as soon as you’ve gotten baby off to sleep.

Remember, these early days with your new baby and partner are precious, and it’s so important to prioritise what is important in the early days. If you find people consistently in your home, you’re perfectly entitled to ask them to call ahead or limit their visits. Your family and friends will understand you need some settling in time with bub.

I need what exactly?

During your pregnancy consider what you need to be organised for the new little person in your life. Contrary to what you may read and hear, babies don’t require much to keep them happy. To be warm and fed, safe and loved pretty much covers the essentials.

Feeding is going to take up a lot of your time. You’ll be amazed at how much of your day and night will be spent preparing for and feeding your baby. Small babies can take a long time to learn the skills required to breastfeed effectively. And if you haven’t breastfed before don’t expect it to come too easily; breastfeeding is a set of learned skills for every mother and her baby.

In the ideal world, breastfeeding requires at least one breast and a hungry baby. However, the reality can be far from this. Fortunately, there are a range of accessories designed for breastfeeding mothers which help to make the breastfeeding process as enjoyable as possible, including breast pumps, products that help with inverted nipples and breast pads.

Why haven’t I lost the baby weight?

Celebrity mums may have you thinking that you’ll lose the baby weight in no time at all, this is rarely the case. Don’t be overly hard on yourself to shift the kilos. Your body has gone through a lot during pregnancy and birth, you need time to recover and your bundle of joy is going to keep you busy for a while. What’s most important is that you and the baby are both happy and healthy.

Don’t cut back on your food intake to try to fast track weight loss, your body needs extra calories while you’re breastfeeding and running around caring for a newborn.

When you feel ready to get back to exercising have a chat with your Doctor, child health nurse or physiotherapist, they’ll be able to advice on the intensity and regularity of your work outs. Also consider mother’s groups and friends for social ways to exercise.

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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