(Part 3 of 3)
Your bundle of joy is here! Labor and delivery are behind you, and now begins Life With Baby. What do you need to know?
First, let’s talk about a few tips for staying sane.
- Remember that the first three months are, in many ways, the hardest. As exhausted, overwhelmed, teary and lonely as you may be in the roughly 12 weeks following your baby’s birth, take heart. You willstart to get more sleep, you will manage to shower again on a regular basis, you will figure out how to leave the house more easily, both with and without your baby and you will recognize your body again, in all its altered, improved glory.
- Do not spend what precious downtime you have on social media. If you simply can’t stay away, limit your time to a few minutes daily. Seeing everyone else’s “highlights reel” will do nothing to make you feel better right now (or maybe ever.)
- Find a friend. New motherhood is notoriously lonely, and it’s one of the many realities that often isn’t discussed during the exciting months while getting ready for baby. If you bonded with someone from your birth prep class, be sure to reach out to her after your babies are born. If you don’t yet know any other new moms, there are places you can meet them, and spend some much-needed time out of the house, with your baby. (Keep reading.)
- Do not worry if you and your partner are having completely different reactions to new parenthood right now. It’s common for new mothers to experience great difficulty holding a conversation of any length that doesn’t involve their baby, and for new fathers (or the parent not staying at home), to feel left out, ignored and even a little non-plussed at the whole idea of parenthood right now, much as they love their baby. Remember to find time for each other that doesn’t involve the baby and to give your partner your full attention, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes a day right now.
Your baby’s doctor
Since your baby was born in Italy, she or he is covered under the SSN (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) and will be issued a tessera sanitaria. You will need to choose a “pediatra di base” (pediatrician associated with the national health service), and many parents also choose (resources permitting) to have a private pediatra as well. The main difference is that you will pay for visits with the private doctor (the SSN covers visits with your pediatra di base), and you will have nearly immediate access to the private pediatrician, whereas you aren’t likely to get an immediate appointment with your pediatra di base. If you do choose to have a private pediatrician, remember that any exams or tests your baby needs (which can be scheduled in advance) are covered by the SSN, and you will be issued a “ricetta” (prescription) by your pediatra di base to schedule the appointment for the test.
Worth noting, and fairly shocking to many ex-pats coming from Anglo Saxon countries, is the accessibility that many doctors in Italy offer their patients. Many – if not most – Italian doctors routinely hand out their personal cell phone number and email, and more amazing still, often answer their own phone and usually return messages in a very timely manner.
Making new friends
Since spending so much time at home – often alone – with your new baby is at times isolating and lonely, it can be a huge morale booster to get out of the house and connect with other new moms. But where to meet them?
Moms & Tots Milano is a English-speaking playgroup that meets in the center of Milan at Sant’Ambrogio Church on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10 am to 12 pm. Moms socialize while their children (generally newborns to 3 years old) play together, and it’s open to all. No need to book in advance. You can find them on Facebook under Moms & Tots Milano.
The Milk Bar, which has been mentioned in both parts one and two of this article series, and which is also located in the area of Sant’Ambrogio in the heart of Milan, offers a wide variety of prenatal, postnatal and mommy & me classes, along with interactive courses for toddlers. You can find a full list of courses and upcoming events on their website under the course calendar. www.themilkbar.it
A big thank you to the readers for following this series, and much success and happiness to all you new parents and parents-to-be!
Article by Karen Rigatti
Certified Professional Counselor