You’ve survived labor and now you are returning home with your newborn baby!
The heightened excitement and anticipation of using all of your new baby gear and laying your newborn baby down in their crib for the first time is finally here.
I was so exciting riding in the car with our son David, I had no idea what I would be up against in the coming weeks.
It doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds if you are aware and prepared for the challenges you can encounter. I wish I was.
You’re home with the baby, now what?
Feeding, Pumping, Changing, Sleeping, Cooking, Cleaning, Recovering & Resting. Seems simple enough, right? This was not simple for me, as every action required a new way of thinking.
Your baby will want to eat every 2.5-3 hours and you’re exhausted from the interrupted sleep while trying to recover from labor. Everything is new and you are filled with a million questions. My biggest question was “How is this possible?”
Did I mention the overwhelming emotions you are going through because of our hormone shift and postpartum also? That doesn’t help anything.
Here are the things I wish I knew prior to labor so the return home and first month was a little easier.
The baby is your only focus
Trying to return to your routine and maintaining the house in the first two weeks is near to impossible. That being said here is how you prepare;
- Have a house cleaner come while you are in the hospital. Fresh sheets, clean dishes and a bright outlook start you off on the right foot.
- Have ready-made meals in the freezer. This can include frozen casseroles, dinners or prepared crockpot meals.
- Stock up on common household goods. This includes Toilet Paper, Laundry Detergent (including baby detergent) and Paper Plates.
- Stock up on snacks and beverages. One of the common misconceptions is that you will be back to eating pre-pregnancy style after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding that is not the case. Have water, electrolytes and protein bars handy. You will be exhausted, thirsty and need anything you can find to keep your energy going.
- Preschedule time for family, friends or care.com to come once a day for 2 hours so you can rest & shower. You will want to do this for two weeks and then 3x a week for two weeks. Showering is a luxury (ask any mom)!
- Discuss your plan with your significant other prior to labor. Gain their acceptance and acknowledgement that you will need help the first few weeks.
Newborns’ feeding is every 2.5-3 hours.
In addition to their feeding you will want to start pumping immediately so you can build storage to help so you can get rest.
- Have your nursing station with breast pump set up prior to coming home. Included in your nurse’s station should be snacks, water, charging station for your phone, nipple cream and baby wipes.
- If you are breastfeeding you will forget which breast you left off on feeding. There are aps for your phone to track schedules and timing or you can simply put a rubber band or paperclip on the bra strap that you need to start on next.
- Wear comfortable nursing clothing. For me this was nursing tank tops and nursing t-shirts.
Newborn babies do not play
Sounds like a simple concept until you get home. This is why you are investing in rockers, mama roo’s and boppy pillows. Finding their sweet spot for resting will take a day or two.
Showering, Eating, Socializing and Cleaning will be a challenge. You will experience a whole new level of exhaustion. This is why you need help from family, your significant other, and friends.
- Stay hydrated. Maintaining fluid levels and even snacking will help you maintain energy when it seems near impossible.
- Take a small walk outside. Amazingly this can be a great rejuvenation for the mind.
- I can’t remember a time I was as exhausted as this……
Allow yourself to rest
Sitting back with your feet up (They will be very swollen if you had a C-section) is totally acceptable. Its crazy to think you just had a major surgery or ran a 24-hour marathon, but you did! There is a recoup phase and mentally I was not accepting of this.
- Binge watch a few TV shows. This will keep you focused and the baby will be resting next to you anyways. Here is my top 10 feel good shows that I binge watched.
Crazy concept coming from someone like myself who needs to have everything but I am here to tell you, I did not need it all.
- Bassinet – Realistically if you have a C-section you will not be able to just hop in and out of bed. Even if you don’t have the pain, doing this or house chores is highly discouraged. Trust me when I say you do not want the incision site to rip open like mine did. With a Bassinet unless it is to the height of your bed and easily accessible it will only be used 2-3 times. Consider a co-sleeper.
- Breastfeeding storage bags – As someone who could not breastfeed long term these were all donated. I suggest sticking with the storage bottles until you know breastfeeding is successful for you.
- Breastfeeding pillow – Consider the boppy lounger if you are insistent on having a breastfeeding pillow. Typically moms suggest it is more comfortable using pillows you can navigate around your body for extreme comfort.
This time will get easier. Not overnight and not tomorrow but soon. At 3 months I had returned to work and had a sense of normalcy again. Invite friends over often and do your best not to isolate.
Much Love, xoxo