I asked the question on Facebook if anyone had advice for me as a new "mom" with Fibromyalgia. Chantal e-mailed me with lots of great info. I asked if I could post it here for everyone. I am going to break it down into categories over a few posts. Let Chantal know your thoughts and if you have any questions. Her contact info is at the bottom.
Here are some things that I have learned:
The first week that you are home with baby limit visitors, unless they are coming over to help with household chores or cooking. This seems harsh, but visitors although always well-intended, will zap the energy out of you!
You will need all the energy you have for baby.
Accept any help that is offered.
Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding baby, feeding is a full-time job. All housework can wait.
If you are breastfeeding, please keep in mind that nursing a newborn can take up to 2 hours per session—due to baby’s hiccups and gas. This can be exhausting when you are on a 2 hour schedule. Enlist hubby or partner to bring the baby to you whenever possible.
If you are breastfeeding make sure that you learn all of the positions and holds. Do not leave the hospital without mastering one of them! You will need to alternate them often. This will help both with your fatigue (breastfeeding while lying down) and muscle stiffness and pain as well as with nipple soreness.
You will hear: "Sleep when the baby sleeps," so many times that you will be ready to punch someone. Learn to say "Thank-You" for all the advice, then, follow your fibromyalgic instincts. (Normals don’t understand the sleep disorder part of this syndrome).
You will hear: You don’t need a changing station downstairs. Just change baby on the floor. Again, learn to say Thank-You for all the advice, then, follow your fibromyalgic instincts. (Normals don’t realize the extent of muscle soreness and stiffness this disorder offers).
If you have a two story house, set up two changing and sleep stations. One upstairs and the other one downstairs. Keep an extra supply of all personal toiletries and clothing items downstairs for yourself too.
Do a mental check off list each and every time you leave a room or level of the house. This will help you conserve your energy. For example: If you are going upstairs from the main level in your house, ask yourself, “What items do I need to take up with me when I go?” Bring these items with you. Rather then getting upstairs and thinking to yourself, “Darn, I need the baby wipes that are downstairs.”
I also carry a large zip lock Hefty clear (in order to quickly identify its contents) freezer bag with me at all times in my house. I keep the baby’s oragel, Tylenol, and gas-x in it as well as my sunglasses and regular glasses, my asthma inhaler and any other items that I might need but may not have the energy to climb up the stairs again to get.
When doing laundry, have more than one laundry basket near the washer and dryer for dirty clothes. Separate the laundry by categories and or by people. For example: One category would be BABY, or; BABY and MOMMY or Baby Bibs and Sleepers. This makes folding the laundry and putting it away much easier and it saves you both brain power and energy.
When purchasing the high chair keep the following in mind: Be sure to purchase a chair that baby can grow into –it holds at least 40lbs. –and one that the fibro mom can easily maneuver. This includes the harness, straps, and buckles that hold baby in. Test different chairs in the store.
Make sure that the tray is light weight and easy to grip with one hand. The one hand grip release is the best for fibromyalgic hands. The tray should be small enough to fit into your sink for easy clean ups and also have a smaller tray underneath it with a bar so baby can’t slip out.
Make sure that the high chair also has an easy release for adjusting the height of the chair itself. Lifting a 30lbs. baby needlessly high into the air can put undue stress on an already sore back and aggravate fibro symptoms.
Chantal can be reached at her: