Welcome Home: Week 1
You've made it out the hospital doors and into the car with your sweet little bundle strapped safely in the back seat. You're making your way home to start your new life as a mama! It is a moment you will never forget. Also, keep in mind it's totally normal to drive like 5 miles per hour on your way home to make sure you don't jostle babe (or your sensitive parts). You walk in the front door to your house, drop your bags at the door and...What?
What exactly is the plan now? You've got your sweetie home, you've more than likely been working on getting the house ready for the last few weeks (months) to make sure you'd have the easiest transition as possible. But the truth is, you probably didn't think this far ahead. So what's it like when you first bring your baby home?
For most mamas, you're probably itching for a shower and to go to sleep in your own bed. It is literally heaven compared to even the nicest of hospital suites. If you've chosen to nurse, you'll probably be working with your little one to get things right. You and your spouse are going through the process of finding out the best way to get your little one to sleep more than half hour at a time. And you're getting calls, texts, and messages from what feels like every single person you know trying to come see your new arrival, and probably bring you dinner.
It's 100% normal to feel like you don't want to see anyone but your husband and your baby. Most women will have worked things out with either their own mother, or another family member, to come and help out at home with the new baby, or with your other children. If your husband has to go back to work right away, this is especially true. One thing you might want to consider doing is having a sincere general message to send to anyone that is asking about coming to visit. You can let them know you and the baby are healthy and happy, and you'll be sure to reach out once you're ready for visitors. If you're feeling up to having friends over, make sure and let them know that you'll probably need to keep it short; one, because you are going to get sick of telling your labor story to 15 different people, and two, because your baby will probably be asleep in your visitors arms, and wide awake and starving once they leave. Having that kind of day can seriously put a damper on your mood. Do yourself a favor and ask your friends if they can keep it short and sweet!
For the most part, your baby is going to want to sleep and eat. And that's about it. If you're nursing, then you and baby are probably still getting to know each other and figure out how to get things going. For a lot (probably most) mamas, there's a period of time where you'll experience frustration and discomfort while working on getting breastfeeding down. Don't get down on yourself, and don't give up on nursing if it's what you've set your heart on. Once the two of you figure it out, you'll forget why you ever doubted it. At the same time, if you're feeling like you and your babe aren't able to nurse effectively, or you didn't plan on nursing, don't ever feel ashamed of starting your babe on a bottle. As long as your baby is happy and healthy with a full tummy, you're good to go!
There's also a serious learning curve when it comes to finding out how to make sure your babe sleeps as much as possible for as long as possible (so that everyone can get a little sleep in the house). Depending on the baby (and the mama) you may decide to keep your little one in your room for longer than a couple of weeks, and every family is different. Co-sleeping is a great way to build a relationship of trust and comfort for your baby, because of their closeness to you. It can, however be a deterrent when it comes to actually getting any sleep. When my son was first born and in a co-sleeper next to our bed, he would often end up in my arms, asleep on my chest, for hours at a time. This often lead to restless sleep for me, and for a lot of babies can be a hard habit to break. If you choose to keep babe in her room right away, you'll just need to get used to making your way to the nursery several times during the night to feed her. Either way, it's all about what works best for you and your babe!
Invest in a good robe so you don't need to worry about taking off a lot of layers before nursing a screeching baby.