Leaving hospital with a newborn for the first time or even with your fourth baby can be an exciting yet very overwhelming experience.
Of course home is far more comfortable and will aid your recovery a lot better, allowing you to relax in your comfortable bed because let’s be honest no hospital bed is comfortable. Unless of course you are recovering at the Grand Hyatt!
As a first time mother I was beyond terrified to take my baby home, not that I voiced this concern with any of my midwives. It also did not help on the night before discharge my baby blues were setting in! My husband and I thought we had the whole situation under control at home but looking back we were not even close to being ready for those initial newborn days.
Here are some tips I give to all my clients, friends and family from my own experience bringing home a newborn.
1. Be prepared! Easier said than done right? Really it’s not though. I highly suggest doing some meal prepping in the weeks leading up to your baby’s arrival. When your newborn arrives it will be all hands on deck and having frozen nutritious meals on standby is super handy. Not into frozen meals? Simple order a week worth of meals at a time that can be delivered to your home, we are so lucky to have many companies offering quality nutritious meals ready to go.
2. Hire a cleaner if you do not have one already, this does not need to be permanent, you can have them come in weekly or fortnightly for the first couple of months and then reassess afterwards. I’m sorry ladies and gents but no new mama should be doing any housework, she needs to be resting! Of course ladies you will feel like you can tackle the world but when newborns comes out of their sleepy daze at around 2-3 weeks of age you will not be able to maintaining this without exhausting yourself even further.
3. Build your village!!! Many cultures around the world will confine the mother indoors for the first six weeks or more. During this time the mother’s village of support will nurture her and make sure she is fed with nutritious meals and resting between feeding her baby. This allows for a smoother recovery and lowering the chances of postnatal depression or anxiety, plus allowing essential bonding to occur with your baby. Your village can have whoever you want in it; just make sure they are willing to actually help you out.
4. You will most likely experience your baby blues in hospital or if you’re like me the night before discharge. The baby blues can last 3-5 days, my tip – let those emotions out!! Cry and laugh when you need to, it will most likely be crying for no reason you can pinpoint. If your baby blues are lasting beyond a few weeks, seek some advice from your midwife, OB or GP sooner rather than later.
5. For dads be as hands on as you can, this includes nappy changes, bathing, feeding and play time with your baby. Being hands on will allow you to bond with your baby. Bonding is just as essential for newborns and their fathers as is with their mother. Men can also experience depression and anxiety after their baby arrives to.
6. Be kind to each other – it is so easy in those first few weeks to snap at each other. Remember it is okay and normal you’re both tired and adjusting to your new life with a baby. Take some time out to connect with each other and support the transition occurring together. Remember you’re not alone in this, work together, not against each other.
7. Visitors – they will come from far and wide to meet your precious bundle, remember it is okay to say no to visitors. It can also be very overwhelming for you all constantly having people come over. Family or not they must understand you all need time and space to get to know your baby and adjust into parenthood. My suggestion is also have a time limit; visitors stay no longer than 2 hours.
8. To the new mama – your body is going through a huge adjustment post birth, your milk will be coming in, making those boobs sore and leaky, you will bleed for several weeks and you will be sore despite any birth you have. Lots of horizontal rest is needed, nourishing food and plenty of water. Give your body time and don’t feel the pressure to bounce back! Gentle exercise such as walking is okay however for anything else it is recommended you receive the okay from your GP or OB. I also strongly suggest a consult with a women’s health physio where you can have your pelvic floor assessed.
9. All importantly make sure you have the car seat fitted to take your precious cargo home. Sounds obvious doesn't it but let me tell you something we did not organise this.....oops.
I hope these tips help, it is so important to make this transition an easy one for yourself, your partner and of course your precious newborn.