Wow, the first week home with a baby can be quite hectic! Saying that it’s overwhelming can be a total understatement. While you want to be Super Mom right from the get go, it’s important to take things in stride and realize that you’re only human. Plus, the surging hormones, post-natal aches and pains, and total lack of sleep are just not in your favor. It’s ok. If you are going to be a new mom soon, or know someone who is, read on to gain some helpful tips and tricks so that you know how to handle the first week home from the hospital!
Tip #1-Don’t Push Away Your Parents
If your parents offer to stay with you for a few days, don’t turn down their offer. Same goes for your mother-in-law. As annoying as she may be sometimes (ok, all the time); any help is better than zero help. Why?
There are a number of reasons why you should accept as much help as possible. First, your mom and mother-in-law have been through this before. They know how you feel and they understand what it’s like to feel overwhelmed when you walk through your front door carrying another live, human being.
Next, you are going to be tired-very, very tired. You can’t ignore the baby’s cries and sleep the day away. Let your parents take shifts caring for your newborn so you can care for yourself a bit. Mental health is necessary in order to be a good mommy.
Also, you won’t stress as much about taking care of your pets, cooking meals, doing laundry, or cleaning the house. They are there for that-put them to work!
Finally, if you’ve had a rough go with your delivery, whether you’ve gotten a C-section or are just plain sore and miserable with your post-partum recovery, you aren’t going to be able to get up and down much-especially the stairs. The extra hands will help you make sure you have all your bases covered. Despite popular belief, dads are also extremely exhausted the first couple days home. They could also use the rest and help.
If you don’t have the good fortune of having parents that can help you out, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a cleaning service to make sure your house is spotless. You could hire a dog walker to tend to your fur babies, and you can certainly hire an overnight nurse. While it may be costly, it may be worth it. These nannies are specially trained to take care of newborns while moms and dads get some sleep overnight. Speaking of nanny, you’d be surprised at who you can hire! If you’re in need of some help during the day, you can hire someone to help you out all day or just for a few hours. Sites like Care.com provide reliable, trained, individuals.
Tip #2-Prepare Ahead of Time
It is important to be prepared ahead of time for a few major things before your baby makes their debut.
First, your nursery should be fully set up, with clothes washed, folded, put away, and everything organized-from your changing station, to your baby’s essential items (bottles, wash cloths, toys, equipment, etc.).
Next, you should have prepared some healthy (but satisfying) meals ahead of time that you were able to freeze. This eliminates the need to cook the first week and is helpful if you aren’t getting assistance from friends and family.
Finally, a week or so before your due date, make sure you take the time to clean and organize your nooks and crannies (this is also called “nesting”). This will help you feel more at ease about the current state of your home when everything else is in disarray around you. If you go into labor early, don’t stress-your partner can tidy up for you while you’re in the hospital or you can hire a cleaning service to do it all for you.
Being a mom is hard. Often times, the reality of it is much different than many women imagine. Many aspects of it are going to be really great. However, things can and do go wrong. Don’t cry over spilled milk (literally). Take a step back and breathe.
Do some yoga, practice some self-coping strategies, take a time out so you can move to a quiet area to refresh for a few minutes. Clearing your mind helps you stay sain!
Tip #4-Listen to Breastfeeding Pros
There are lactation consultants in your area that are ready and willing to help you out if you’re having difficulty getting your baby to latch. Many insurance companies also cover this service, so it’s silly not to use it if you’re struggling.
Most moms quit nursing the first week or month because they find it too hard or too stressful. While it’s totally your choice, just know that there are others out there that can help you try a different technique, that can offer suggestions to help you produce more milk, or that can provide you with unique nursing accessories that make the action more comfortable and productive.
Tip #5-Sleep When the Baby Sleeps
If you’re rolling your eyes at this age old saying, stop it. It’s a saying for a reason. Your baby will not sleep through the night for quite a while. If they do from the get-go, consider a miracle from above.
It’s important that you don’t become so exhausted that you can’t function. It’s not ideal to curl up on the couch and go to bed at noon for a few hours, but if your baby has their days and nights reversed, you may have no choice. While they will sort themselves out eventually, they need a well-rested mommy to take top notch care of them until they do, so you need to be happy and level headed.
Tip #6-Keep Your Doctor Updated
It’s totally normal to come off weepy, feel sad, overwhelmed, and get easily frustrated. This is because of your surging hormones. Your body went through something pretty amazing and feeling this way can and will happen. However, if you can’t pull yourself out of sadness or feel like you’re experiencing true post-partum depression, don’t wait to make a doctor’s appointment. You can get some help!
Tip #7-Create a Routine
Babies and kids are creatures of routines. While some women think its way too soon to put an infant on a schedule, there’s absolutely no reason not to. Make it a point to feed your baby the same time each day. Experience tummy time regularly, read a story the same time, and be sure to place your child down for naps at the same time.
Baths should signal bed time, and the same evening routine should be kept. For example, if you put your baby in a swing and rock them before bed, they will learn to self-soothe and that the next thing they should expect is to be put down for the night (or a few hours anyway).
It may seem tedious to experience “Groundhog’s Day” every day, but you are doing the best thing possible for your little one (especially if they are reversing their days and nights).
Yes, bringing home a baby will be one of the happiest moments of your life! While you’re feeling ecstatic and excited, it’s best to prepare for anything and everything. Consider some of the tips above to make sure you’re ready for the first week home with your baby.