It is hard to fully fathom how different your life will be like when a baby comes. If you don’t have a baby, you may even find yourself bored sometimes or trying to take a nap when you aren’t even tired. Often times women feel extremely overwhelmed by the drastic shift in lifestyle when they are home with a newborn. Women underestimate just how much time and attention is needed to care for a newborn, especially if the woman is breastfeeding. Newborns tend to breastfeed every 2 – 3 hours and the difference between each feeding is the beginning of one feed to the beginning of another. That means if you started feeding at 1 pm and it takes a ½ hour, you will most likely have to feed again 2 hours later at 3 pm which feels more like an hour and ½.
In the evenings of most days, my baby entered into witching hours too which lasted until bedtime. During these hours I had to hold and rock my baby in between feeding her. Breastmilk content is the highest in your breasts between 12 am and 6 am. After 6 am, you’re your breastmilk slowly declines throughout the day and is at its lowest before bedtime. It makes sense, then, that my baby wanted to feed so consistently before bedtime. For many mothers, there are days it feels like the only thing you have done is breastfeed, change diapers, and try to stay awake.
I created pie charts to depict the differences in daily schedule of my life pregnant, with a newborn, and with a 1 ½ year old. I do want women to understand that even though life with a newborn may feel draining and overwhelming, babies do grow and their needs change which allows you to change too.
I personally felt that when I brought my baby home, I had to give every ounce of me to my baby for the first three months. In roughly 3-month increments after my baby turned 3 months old I was able to gain a little more freedom or a little more me back. So at 6 months I felt another shift and similarly at 9 months and a year and so on. I will never have my life as it was when I was pregnant or without a baby but I don’t want that. I did look forward to having an easier schedule as my newborn grew, though. As my newborn grew and as I adjusted to motherhood, I felt as though my life became more manageable.
As you look through the pie charts, I strongly encourage you to think about your own daily schedule. I would even have you draw up your own daily schedule and draft a newborn schedule as well. Try to envision what sort of things will change when you become a mother. Even if you are already a mother, you can do this exercise and look at the differences between having one child and two children, or two children and three children, etc. When you begin to imagine what your daily life will be like with a newborn you can start to pull together ideas on how you will make this possible, resources you may want available, and the things you should get ready ahead of time so when your baby arrives, you can focus on fulfilling your baby’s needs and your own.