Bringing your baby home from the hospital is one of the most exciting days of your life. And, if you’re like a lot of new parents, one of the scariest.
Most new parents have had little hands on practice in taking care of a newborn.
You may have read a ton of books. You may have even taken a class where you practiced changing a diaper on a doll.
But nothing compares to the real thing. Looking down at the tiny baby and realizing you are responsible. It’s not like babysitting where you just need to get through a few hours and then someone else will come and take the baby home.
It’s all on you.
But don’t stress. Every mother before you has felt the same way. And within a short time they know exactly what to do. You will too.
Here are some ideas to help get you through the first month:
When your baby naps don’t try to go on a housecleaning rampage. Your body needs rest. When baby naps, you nap, too. Go to bed early when your baby does.
Let most of the housework go. Order pizza when you must. If you do cook, make double and freeze half for another meal.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You probably have friends and relatives who will be able to help out if you let them know what you need.
Let them make a quick run to store for milk and bread. Ask if they’ll throw in a load of laundry or cook a meal for your family. Ask if they’ll hold the baby while you take a shower.
Be specific about what you need your spouse to do. He won’t always see what you think should be obvious. When he puts away the laundry don’t fuss if something ends up in the wrong drawer.
Unless he’s doing something that will actually harm your baby, let him do it his way. Your way may be the best way but it’s not the only way. If you criticize too much he’ll feel he can’t do anything right and he’ll stop wanting to help. He needs to bond with the baby, too.
Drink plenty of water and eat as many nutritious foods as possible.
You won’t spoil your baby during those first few weeks. At this point, they cry because they need to be changed, they’re hungry, or they’re just fussy. Give them the attention they want.
Swaddle and sway them to try and calm them when they’re crying. You’re basically trying to recreate the feeling they had in the womb. Recreate that warm and safe feeling. Play some soft music.
Understand that sometimes babies cry to release energy. Nothing is wrong.
If you’re breastfeeding, the first few weeks can be especially hard since no one can feed your baby but you. You’ll be the one getting up in the night each and every time. Let your spouse help by getting up when the baby cries, changing the baby and bringing him or her to you in bed.
Your hospital should have the number for the local la leche league. They can supply an advocate who can help you get started nursing in the hospital and offer support after you leave.
If possible, set up a television in the nursery that has Netflix. Pick a series you’ve been wanting to watch and play it only when you’re breastfeeding. This gives you something to look forward to.
Though breastfeeding offers many benefits to your child it may not work for you. Don’t feel guilty once you make your decision.
If you plan to bottle feed, too, talk to your baby’s doctor about the best time to introduce the bottle. Many say during the third or fourth week. This is late enough not to interfere with learning to breastfeed but early enough that they’ll adjust to the bottle as well as the breast.
Be aware that you’ll get lots of advice during your first few weeks with your baby. Some of it may be helpful, a lot of it won’t be. Only you can decide, with the help of your child’s health care provider, what is best for you and your child.
REMEMBER – this first month is about one thing — bonding with and enjoying your baby. The dishes can wait, the gourmet meals can wait, and the dust will still be there when you get around to it.