We’re just gonna give it to you straight. Your new baby is the most inconsiderate boss you will ever have. (But you will never love another boss more.)
And while it is your job to keep the boss happy and healthy, there is no reason you can’t be, too.
So here are ten postpartum tips to set you up for success:
1.) Get 100 onesies. You will go through them like wipes, so stockpile those, too. In fact, set up a baby station (on each floor if you have multiple levels), with supplies for yourself and your miniature master.
2.) Hydrate … especially if you are breast feeding. It is the best way to feel halfway human and maintain milk production.
3.) Eat! It will slip your mind, you will be too tired, you will not have your typical appetite. Eat. Eat. And repeat.
4.) Sleep. Chances are, you have heard to sleep when the baby sleeps. Please do. But if you can, sleep when the baby is not sleeping, if someone else is able to manage the boss. Your baby will get all the sleep he or she needs. You, on the other hand, will not. So if someone encourages you to nap, do it! (Also good for milk production, mood, health, and about a million other things.)
Pro tip: Tag team with your birth partner during the triage portion of your postpartum return. It also helps to reach out to those you trust for advice and support regarding sleep.
5.) Practice your boundaries. Caring for a new baby is the best excuse to say, “No.” No to visits, no to invitations (you do not have to take the boss anywhere), no to your usual household duties (share the love on laundry, cooking, cleaning, even getting your socks on). Life is hard when you are healing after months of creating a whole entire person.
6.) TLC. Give as much to yourself as your baby. Things have been stretched, torn, and are in need of repair … and not just your favorite jeans. Nice yourself to a new normal, so you can give your best to the boss.
7.) Exercise. Just don’t do it. At least not right away. You and the boss will need all your energy. And there will be tons of unpaid overtime. Conseeeeeerve.
8.) Cry. It may not be appropriate in baseball, but it is perfectly acceptable in parenting. Your hormones are zigging, your body is zagging, the boss is nagging, so bawl your brains out. It is a biological bridge to better.
9.) Ask questions. Google knows a lot, but doctors, nurses, other health professionals — even other parents can nuance details computers cannot. For instance, you might read somewhere that there is no way back to breastfeeding after nipple trauma, but a lactation specialist can help you start healing in one visit — in one feeding, even. If there is something you want to do, ask until you get the right answer.
10.) Do you. Amy Schumer got heat for performing stand-up days after giving birth, but that is her business, as in, her actual business. Parenting is personal to all parents, so do it your way … if the boss is cool with it, of course.