You have just given birth to a precious little bundle of joy. You are exhausted, joyful, moody and delighted all in one. If you have given birth in the hospital you will be thinking about bringing the baby home and all that entails. If you’ve had a home birth you may be thinking to the days right after birth. There are things you can do before and after the baby is born to make that special first week or so less stressful on both you and your wee one.
The first thing you want to do is to make sure you have your car seat in the car and ready to go. If not, they may not let you take the baby home.
Be Prepared Not to Cook
This will help tremendously. Arrange to have the food department taken care of. You can cook extra meals before the baby comes and freeze them so all hubby has to do is take them out of the freezer and put them in the oven. If you can, enlist friends, church members and family members to bring meals in for a week or so. Try to put back a few dollars to order a meal. Not having to worry about cooking will be very helpful especially if you have other children at home.
Plan to Rest
If you have other children this can be hard to do but try anyway. Nap whenever the baby naps if you can. Put your older kids in their bedroom for quiet time. If you cannot go to sleep when the baby does at least lie on the bed and rest. Let others do for you. This is not the time to worry about having the perfect house. Let family members pitch in and do some of your chores. Use paper plates and disposable cups. And even if you are going to use cloth diapers, you might consider disposable ones for the first couple of days.
Limit Loving Relatives
Be prepared for the onslaught of loving relatives who will want to cuddle and coo over little Jr. For some women this is no problem, for others, especially if they are first time nursing moms, it can be a real source of stress. Plan for your husband to run interference and field phone calls. Let your relatives know ahead of time that you will be only seeing one or two at a time and at YOUR convenience. It is probably not a good idea to let young children handle your little one unless they are the brother or sister. This is just not a good idea, especially during cold and flu season.
Avoid large groups and outings for a while. This is more for the baby than you, although you don’t need the stress of long periods out somewhere at first either. Short trips out are better. The baby doesn’t need all those germs and things passed around in groups. Babies also get stressed by being handled a lot and being in strange surroundings.
This is so important, especially if you are a first time nursing mom. Neither you nor baby can get used to each other if you don’t relax. Have a special chair that you sit at with a stool or ottoman to prop up your feet. A pillow under the baby helps, too. Babies can sense tension and it makes them fussier.
Don’t Forget Brothers & Sisters
If you have young children at home who are going to be jealous if gifts are brought to the new baby, be prepared for that. Encourage close friends or family to bring small gifts for them, too. The dollar store is great for this. You can also have some small gifts wrapped and ready to give out as needed. You might have a big brother or sister cake made or a dinner in their honor with their favorite foods. Just be sure to include them. Referring to the baby as “little sister or brother” or referring to the older sibling as “big brother or sister” can make a real difference. It gives them a sense of belonging to the baby. Reading aloud while you feed the baby, special outings with Dad— things like this help a child adjust.
Limit Trips Up and Down Stairs
Keep a small basket stocked with extra diapers, lotion and baby powder downstairs if your main changing area is upstairs. This will keep you from having to run up and down the stairs. Include extra onsies or pajamas.
Don’t be afraid to cater to yourself during this time. Have some of your favorite magazines ready to read while you feed the baby. Stock up on herbal teas. Spend some special time with your husband, remember he is adjusting, too. Plan simple things that take about a half-hour to do that you can schedule into your busy time adjusting to life with baby— watch a video together, enjoy dessert by candlelight or give each other back rubs.
Your first few weeks at home can be pleasurable and relaxed. They do not have to be stress-filled or hectic if you take the time to prepare and think ahead of time.