7 Truths about the first week home with your baby
The first week home with a new baby and a traumatized body is probably one of the toughest times of parenting. In your last week of pregnancy, you nested hard by washing and folding clothes, decorating the nursery, packing bags, and cleaning everything. But now after 2 short days in the hospital you are sent home feeling you have just been in car accident with a squirt bottle and brand new baby… and the advice, “call us if you develop any of these signs of infection” if your breastfeeding maybe you have the phone number of an IBCLC. (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
I remember walking out of the maternity ward ready to burst into tears, I couldn’t wait to get home but I also couldn’t believe they were letting me go. So here are some things I wish I knew about the first week home that took me by surprise, and I wish someone warned me about..
1. Your bathroom will be a disaster zone
Until I had my baby I did not know a human was able to shed so much blood. Going the bathroom is now a chore and makes a giant bloody mess. The baby will probably cry while you are in there too after you just filled the squirt bottle. Your little bathroom trash will not be able to hold all of the soaked pads and will have to be changed daily, if not twice a day.
2. There are sooo many emotions
The hormonal changes from being pregnant to motherhood is a significant one. Your progesterone levels go from the highest to lowest very suddenly, so your hormones go haywire. Sometimes you don’t bond with your baby right away or don’t feel the overwhelming love people talk about, or you end up like me who just went right to mama bear mode. There will be meltdowns but there will also be many laughs and small victory celebrations.
3. Everything hurts
Seriously, everything hurts! It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to pee, and if you had a c-section (emergency or scheduled) it’s major surgery it just plain hurts. I had a complicated vaginal delivery with second-degree tears and remember counting down the minutes until my next ibuprofen dosage. I learned that sitting on a boppy pillow and feet up does the trick! If you had a c-section it helps to keep pressure off of your incision.
4. Your baby will only want you
After spending 9 months inside of you, on the outside, your baby will only want you. No other person can provide comfort like Mom and baby knows it! You will experience many instances of someone trying to soothe the baby for you without luck and they will stop crying the second they hit your arms. Luckily in the early days, they are easy to hold and will just curl up and sleep on your chest.
5. If you are breastfeeding, it’s all you will do
Seriously, if you are nursing it really is all you will do. I highly recommend strapping in with some water and snacks. Find a good Netflix show or a book, if you ever wanted to binge-watch “The Bold Type” or an old favorite like “Desperate Housewives” now is the time! Babies will nurse “On Demand” 8-12 times a day, which means they will eat when they want to. You can read more about “On Demand Feeding” here https://www.babycenter.com/404_what-is-feeding-on-demand_8822.bc
This can be really hard and lead you to believe your milk supply is low, especially if the baby takes a bottle after a feed, but the only thing that will tell you if your baby is getting enough is weight gain and diaper counts.
6. You can’t sleep when the baby sleeps
Everyone told me “sleep when the baby sleeps” and I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard it. I could go on and on about why I can’t sleep when the baby does but a few key reasons are:
- They cry when put down
- This is the only time to myself
- I still haven’t ate
- I want to use the bathroom in peace
- I have other kids to take care of
A lot of co-napping will happen but only one of you will be sleeping!
7. You will have to leave the house
This is one I was not ready for.. the one week Well Child Check. You have to pack up the entire baby and head to the doctor for their first check-up. I remember navigating taking the baby out for the first time was quite challenging. Did we have enough diapers and wipes? are 3 changes of clothes enough? etc. And of course, just when you are about to leave a huge blowout or mom-meltdown happens because dragging your brand new baby to the doctor one week postpartum feels like trying to go for a run after leg day.
The first week home with a new baby is rather rough, with blood, pain, raging hormones, trying to navigate motherhood, and visitors. Before you know it, your baby will be crawling away from you so soak in the cuddles, leave the dishes, delegate any and all household tasks, and make visitors help themselves. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to heal physically and emotionally.
Remember “This too shall pass”
About the Author
My name is Chrissy and I am a Stay at Home Mom in New Hampshire to 9-month-old Meadow, two rescue dogs, and a cat. When I’m not blogging or managing chaos you can find me on a hike with my family, cooking something good, or enjoying a craft beer!
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