What to Expect When You Bring Your Baby Home
Although we could never cover all of the intricacies of what it’s like to bring home your first baby in one blog, we feel like getting a small glimpse can be greatly beneficial. We have a lot of information to cover so we are going to dive right in with some of our key advice and things to expect in the first days after bringing your baby home
Our guess is probably up until now, you or your partner have done all of your own grocery shopping. You’ve been able to go on a whim, in an out in an instant or roaming the isles slowly and leisurely. What was once a joyous occasion just got a little more complicated now that you have a little babe. So we just have one question to ask- “pickup or delivery?” I’m sure you’ve heard of this by now but maybe not utilized it. Well now is the time! We suggest having an order ready to be picked up on your way home from the hospital. Better yet, ask family member or friendly neighbor to pick it up. They can have it all put away in time for your arrival. Fill your virtual grocery basket with healthy snacks, easy breakfast and lunch options, fresh fruits and veggies, and plenty of hydration. You can do this all on your phone from the comfort of your not so comfy hospital bed.
We’ve talked about having diaper station caddy’s ready to go for your little one but we haven’t talked about stations for you! Who knew you would be in charge of changing baby diapers and adult diapers when you got home. Unfortunately, for a short time you will be, so let’s try to make it as smooth as possible. In each bathroom that you will be using have a ready to go set of the following items-
Mama Organics bottom balm or spray
Friendly tip- make sure you line your trash can with a small trash bag or grocery sack for easy disposal!
We also suggest a caddy for you and your things to carry around with you especially if you are breastfeeding. Things you might include-
Magazines, book or journal
Mama Organics nipple cream (or one of your choosing)
Chapstick or lip balm
Here’s what we want you to know about visitors- everyone is different. Some people want all of the people around them and to show off their new pride and joy, while others want as few visitors as possible while they hunker down. And what you expect you want might be different than what you truly want or need once your baby is here. We recommend keeping early visitors to your closest friends and family. Pre-warn them that what you may need from them may not include a lot of baby holding for them. Let them know that during the first couple weeks, your biggest priorities are going to be bonding and learning to feed your baby AND that you will need space to do just that. The first few weeks are such a delicate time full of learning and bodily fluids, so be sure to surround yourself with the people that you can 100% comfortable with.
Right around the day you come home from the hospital, you’ll start to notice the big strong waves of emotions and feelings they call “baby blues.” You’ll be crying tears of joy looking at your baby one minute and then crying because you burnt the toast the next. You will feel a little out of control and may find yourself saying “I’m not sure why I’m crying” in between sobs to your partner. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night completely drenched from night sweats— we suggest an extra set of pj’s by your bed. We want to assure you that this is all part of the process. Feel all the feelings; sometimes a good cry is exactly what you need. Soon these swings should level out and you’ll start feeling more like yourself. And if they don’t PLEASE reach out for help! You owe it to your baby, your partner, and most importantly yourself to experience this life and your precious baby as clearly as possible.
When you’re in the hospital you are typically given info and a chart on wet and dirty diapers. Typically your baby should have one wet and one b.m. for each day that it’s been alive up until about the 4th day when your milk typically comes in or digestion has developed a pattern. But if you’re breastfeeding, there tends to be a lull right around day 3 as your milk slowly transitions from colostrum to breast milk…which typically falls your first full day at home without the support of hospital staff. This basically makes your first day home the longest day of your entire life, while you’re waiting on pee, poop, and milk to finally come. Usually as the sun starts to set on that third night, your baby starts nursing non-stop (*cluster feeding- which is basically your babies natural instinct to frequently nurse in order to stimulate milk production). You start to feel like you aren’t making enough or he is starving, and he is never, ever, going to pee. Then, when you finally doze off, at some point in the middle of the night you wake up and realize….. oooooh that’s why people need breast pads! You nurse your baby and witness their first real milk coma.
first newborn appointment
Depending on the facility you deliver and how your chosen pediatrician runs their practice, you may or may not see your baby’s doctor at the hospital. Regardless, after the baby is born, so long as everyone is healthy, you will need to call the office and schedule your baby’s first well visit. This visit will take place around day 4 or 5 depending on when you are released from the hospital. At this visit, the main priority will be a weight check, overall look at baby, and at least a visual look for jaundice. If you’re breastfeeding, don’t anticipate a big weight gain yet (remember- your milk just came in). They will still be watching to make sure your baby isn’t losing weight past the 7-10% mark. After this visit you should start seeing your baby gaining weight and should be back to birth weight within the first two weeks if things are going well.
You’re going to be pleasantly surprised by how much a fresh new baby sleeps, like they literally sleep all day. Wake times for a newborn are about 45 minutes or possibly way less. If for some reason they are bright eyed, you should encourage them to sleep by swaddling, shushing and rocking them. Good sleep patterns will aide in weight gain and more solid stretches when you’re trying to sneak in a snooze. But don’t get too excited, they will need to be eating every 2-3 hours at least until they are back to birth weight. So even if they are sleeping soundly you may have do acrobatics in order to wake them up enough to eat. We promise one day you will sleep again but unfortunately it is very normal to have 2-4+ wake-ups at night through the first four months- every night will bring a new adventure! This info isn’t to scare you but rather to prepare you for what your expectations should be.
For whatever reason bringing home a baby can make you miss the people sitting right next to you. We remember all too well the feeling of missing our husbands shortly after having our babies. We knew they were right there, we knew our love for them had just grown tenfold. But we couldn’t help but feel homesick for our spouses. Maybe we were grieving the loss of our new life and feeling anxious for how our relationship will look in our new life. Maybe it was because they not only had to go back to work but ‘got’ to- meaning they got to keep a small piece of their normal/old life along with their new life too. Even though we know in our hearts they didn’t want to leave us to go back to work… and exhausted. Here is our advice if you have feelings similar to this-
Be encouraged that you will find a new normal, you will eventually have time for just the two of you again, and this feeling is not forever.
Remember the power of touch- hold hands, hug, and kiss. You’re going to be exhausted but taking small moments to focus on these things is going to go a long way.
Ooh and Aah over your baby! Celebrating the marvelous creation you just brought home is an amazing way to bond.
Date each other. On the couch, at your dining table, on your porch or patio, while cuddled up in bed. Rest assured your little babe is going to be just fine swaddled in their bassinet for a few or cuddled up with you on the couch during a movie.
take a deep breath
Not only was your baby just born but also some really amazing motherly instincts. These next few days and weeks WILL be hard in ways you will and won’t expect. You will feel yourself fumble and question if you are capable of doing this. You won’t have all of the answers, and you’re not supposed to— so give yourself some grace! ……BUT what you will have is those instincts, they are second to none. You will have small victories- soak them up and build on them like you’re learning a new job. You will have perseverance- all you have to do is take it one day at a time and one foot in front of the other. Finally, you will have an undeniable love for your baby. That love can move mountains, my friend. So close your eyes, take a deep breath through your nose, and tell yourself “I’ve got this!”