5 Tips For A New Mom With IBS
Last updated: September 2021
The first time I got an IBS flare after giving birth, I suddenly felt like I had made a huge mistake. There was no way I could do this. IBS made my life hard as it was – how was I supposed to care for another human in addition to that?
In the first weeks of my son’s life, I had a ton of help. But the thoughts kept haunting me:
How am I going to do this when I’m by myself?
Is it even possible to be a good mom with IBS?
Now, I’m still no expert in parenting with IBS. But I’ve found a couple of ways to make it a little bit easier.
Set a routine and wake up before the baby
My biggest struggle for the first couple of weeks was morning feedings. I was suffering from morning IBS really badly, and sitting still while breastfeeding for at least 30 minutes was not something that my body wanted to do when it first woke up.
At first, I had to interrupt feedings all the time to use the bathroom. Or, I would try to make it through them despite the pain. Both solutions weren’t ideal.
Instead, I decided to create somewhat of a schedule for us. By waking and feeding my baby at the same time every morning, days became a lot more predictable. I knew approximately when he’d wake up to eat. This way, I was able to get up a bit earlier and deal with my early morning flare before having to breastfeed.
This is by no means a perfect strategy. And it doesn’t always work, especially when the baby is very little. But on the days that it does work, it can save a new mom with IBS so much pain, discomfort, and guilt!
Avoid trigger foods – for real this time
Do you ever eat something that you know will make you sick, just because it looks so good? I used to do it more often than I care to admit. And then I would regret it, sometimes for days.
This was before I became a mom with IBS. Now, those types of bad decisions not only affect me but also my baby.
I’m less attentive when I’m feeling sick. I struggle with feedings, playtime, snuggles. It’s just not fair to my son. And it’s not worth the 5 seconds of pleasure at all.
When you’re a parent with IBS, avoiding trigger foods becomes a rule rather than a guideline. You can’t make exceptions. But it’s for the best, really! Enjoying trigger foods is never quite worth the pain anyway.
Use some type of baby carrier
As a new mom, it’s pretty common to hold your baby for naps. But when you have IBS, it’s not always easy to sit still for an hour or longer. In addition to that, my son would often start crying as soon as I tried putting him down to use the bathroom. I did it anyway when I needed to, but it was so distressing for both of us!
After a while, I decided to buy a baby wrap. Instead of having to take my baby out of the wrap to use the bathroom, I could just take him with me if I absolutely needed to. It was certainly not my favorite thing to do, but at least he wasn’t crying because of my IBS!
Stop worrying about the future
I’m naturally an anxious person, which is probably one of the reasons why I have IBS in the first place. But as a new mom, my anxiety has reached new levels.
Now, I don’t just worry about leaving the house because of my IBS. I also think about how the illness will affect my son’s life in the future. Will he be disappointed when I can’t go to early morning activities with him? Will he be mad that I’m sick so often?
But then again, it doesn’t make sense to worry about these things. Yes, IBS will probably affect my parenting. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t raise a happy child who feels loved, right? It’s just one of the things that will make me an imperfect mom. And isn’t everyone imperfect in some way?
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?