You are home with your new Baby – Now What?
I had no idea what to do when we got home with Harper, our first born. Does any new Mom really know what to expect when they get home from the Hospital?
Spoiler alert, you sit and hold and stare at your newborn baby A LOT. Wondering how in the world your body made such an incredibly beautiful cuddly baby.
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I remember being nervous. Like – You mean there won’t be other Adults around 24/7 – Nurses especially, where I can ask questions. Or “I have to give the Baby a Bath myself” something I had NEVER done before. Are you having the same thoughts?
It’s OK you CAN and WILL do it! I promise, you will figure everything out and it will all be OK. To get you started I am sharing some things that helped me out when we had our first, plus some things I learned when I had my 2nd baby.
Going home with your baby and surviving the first few weeks.
TAKE IT EASY – You just pushed a watermelon out of your body ( or had it removed via C-section). There is nothing that important you HAVE to do right now. Who cares how dirty the house is or how much laundry you have to do, it will get done – eventually.
Do not overdue it – you will regret it later. My first time around I had to have an episiotomy and I just did not sit down a lot and you know what, I was SO SORE. Second time around I had to push Nic out so fast I tore. I took it easy when I got home and stayed my butt on the couch as much as I could during the healing process and it made a huge difference.
So just sit down and let people do things for you when they offer and you just cuddle that baby and rest up (or stare at your baby while they sleep).
CLUSTER FEEDINGS – If it didn’t happen in the hospital it will happen at home. This is when the baby feeds almost every hour or two, maybe even less or more in some cases. Usually happens a few days after the baby is born.
This time can be hard. It is emotionally draining and tired-ing ( yes I made a word). Your emotions will be so crazy after the baby is born (my eyes were puffy from crying so much), it’s just part of your hormones being out of whack. It will be OK, I promise you will survive (but also why my next advice is so important).
Usually this only last one night – at least for us. It was a hard night, I cried a lot from being so tired then wondering if I was feeding her enough ( which yep your milk has come in hence cluster feeds, they’re getting that good breast milk now (if you are breastfeeding).
Only advice for this is just hang in there and take my next paragraph of advice seriously.
SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS – We have all heard it before but at least TRY TO DO IT. Seriously. Especially in those first few months when the baby feeds every 2-4 hours or that night after Cluster Feedings.
Why do they say sleep when the baby sleeps – you ask, because you are tired even if you don’t want to admit it. Who in the world is used to being woken up 4-6 times a night then having to be awake for 20-40 minutes at a time while the baby feeds.
You don’t have to sleep every time the baby does. Maybe once in the morning then once in the afternoon depending on the amount of sleep you get. Just at least try it so you are not a walking zombie – or mombie.
I NEVER did this with Harper and I was SO.TIRED. With Nic different story, I napped when he did at least once a day. Harper was still taking naps back then too so I was lucky the first few months.
If Harper didn’t take a nap we always did movie or quite time after lunch and I would try to squeeze on in then after Nic would fall asleep. If you have other kids or a non napper try this. A movie and snack on a floor pallet always did me wonders even if I did only fall asleep for 30 minutes.
Are your eyes burning? Yes, then you are TIRED just admit it and take the nap!
SHOWER – Oh yes don’t forget to shower. That first shower at home after the Hospital is amazing and feels so good. It will be easy to forget to shower as a mom, I know sounds crazy but totally happens.
Your days will start running together and next thing you know you have not showered in 3-4 days. I always showered and still shower, during nap time. Unless someone is home with you, then that can be the easiest time to take a shower.
If you have to take a shower while you are alone you can move a Bouncer or small bassinet into the bathroom with you. That way when you hear those phantom cries (baby cries you think you hear when in fact baby is soundly sleeping) you can just pop your head out of the shower.
I had a Rock and Play and a Bouncer I used for when I was showering, cooking dinner, chores, so one of these or both, is a must. Check out this Rock and Play on Amazon , it is reasonably priced and similar to the one I had.
I also had a bouncer which sits lower to the floor, like this one. I would keep one in each room so I didn’t have to move them from one room to another. Otherwise it is perfectly OK to leave them safely tucked in their bassinet or crib while you shower.
If you have someone who is home with you or over for a visit take advantage of that time and take a shower then. If you are having trouble with timing and baby seems like they always need you, try showering shortly after feeding time so you know they are content and will not need to be fed again soon, that way you can take your time too.
Alert for New Breastfeeding Mamas: Taking a hot shower will get your breast milk going like crazy so be prepared for drippy nipples when you get out of the shower. It happened to me almost every time especially in the beginning.
NIPPLE CARE ( If your breast feeding) – Yes I said Nipple care. Who’s nipples are used to be sucked on 20 minutes at a time 6 times a day or more! I mean of course you are going to have a raw painful situation on your hands. Take care of those nipples with nipple cream! Use it before, after and in between nursing. Nipple cream will be a life saver and this one is the BEST.
ACCEPT HELP FROM OTHERS – I talk about this in my post about Baby Arriving Early. When Nicolas came 3 weeks early we accepted all the help we could get. Help with Harper for 3 days so she would not have to stay in the hospital. Meals brought to us and cooked for us. Clothes bought for Nicolas while we were still in the hospital because nothing fit him. Just say yes if it will help you out and get some rest.
LIMIT VISITORS – EVERYONE will want to come over. It is OK to say no! It is easy, if you are not good at saying No then use this line ” Another day would be better, we need to get some rest” what nice person would say no to a Mother, with a newborn saying she needs rest – NO ONE –
You do not have to let people come over right after having your baby so do not feel obligated to say yes. It is your time to enjoy the newborn stage as well and it does not last long so remember that.
ACCEPT ANY FORM OF FOOD – If you are breastfeeding your going to be HUNGRY! Cooking might not be on the top of your to do list for awhile. Not to mention all the laundry you will be doing (sorry for the bad news but babies spit up, pee and poop all over themselves, isn’t motherhood awesome).
So unless you did the whole make 30 freezer meals thing before you had your baby then I doubt you will want to be cooking up a storm 3 meals a day. So if someone offers to bring over a casserole or have dinner cooked or ordered then say yes, if you are rested 😉
We had so much food brought to the Hospital when Nic was born we had meals for the first few days after getting home! Which was AWESOME! Then my parents and in laws stopped in at least once a week and always brought dinner.
People tell you how tired you can be after having a baby but you really don’t understand until it happens. So food that is leftover or brought to you with minimal effort required on your part is awesome to have on hand. If you get too much freeze what you can!
What you can expect after giving birth.
OK saving the yucky and personal stuff for last. If you had a vaginal birth lots of stuff will be happening down there. Hopefully you stocked up on some mesh panties from the hospital, or those HUGE pads they gave you. If not, it’s OK, someone will help you out and go to the store, just ask.
Best pads to use for when you get home are the Always extra long overnight pads. They are huge and perfect for the falling out that happens every time you stand, cough, laugh or sneeze (not there yet, you will understand soon don’t worry). I have also read of some women wearing depends and I have to admit it’s kind of genius!
BEST ADVICE EVER from a Nurse was to stick those Witch Hazel pads they gave you from the hospital into the fridge. Oh HOW GOOD THEY FEEL when you stick them on top of that pad. Go ahead sit down and just let the coolness wash over you.
Another good piece of advice I read was to ask for those long cooling pads from the hospital. Hopefully it’s not too late and you did. My second time around I asked for 2 at a time and used one and stashed one to take home. I went home with 2 and I used them when i was feeling sore.
You break them and they release a super cooling effect. You stick them right in your panties (or on top of that huge pad really) and just sit there and feel the coolness do it’s thing.
Going to the Bathroom may take a while now too. Your squeeze bottle is now your bathroom bestie. Word of advice, try to remember to take your bottle with you, when (or if) you go out in public the first few weeks. Just in case you need to go to the bathroom while you are out.
Hopefully the nurses gave you some of that Hospital grade spray for pain relief too. If not don’t worry you can find it at most stores in the first aid section or right here and it will be delivered to your door step! This will be your best friend if you gave birth vaginally.
Bowel Movements afterwards can be scary and intimidating. I was scared both times and it was really not as bad as some people have said, but everyone is different. Talk to your doctor about taking stool softeners if you are really worried or were constipated a lot. I got hemorrhoids like crazy the second time around so stool softeners were my friend when needed.
I truly hope this post will help you with the first few days/weeks at home. Just know that you are not the only one going through it out there. It is part of becoming a mother and you will be OK and do great!
Congratulations Mama on the beautiful journey you started and welcome to Motherhood! Need more ideas, follow me on Pinterest for all things Mom.
*I am not a licensed professional whatsoever, by any means, just a Mom of six years, with 2 kids and this is what I have learned after giving birth twice*