Guest Author: Natalie Michele
Post-partum is characterized by multiple highs and some lows. You may be very happy that your little one is finally here, but also feel sleep deprived and maybe even feeling a bit sad. Being happy and overwhelmed, at the same time, is quite normal during the first days from the hospital after birth and delivery. With so many mixed emotions and a new baby on board, here is what you can expect your first few days home from the hospital:
Traveling with Your Newborn
Bringing home a newborn baby can be very exciting. Sometimes how you bring your baby home can easily be overlooked amongst all of the excitement. Remember, every state requires that newborn babies must sit in a rear-facing car seat, when they leave the hospital. This is to ensure your baby’s safety, as you bring your little one home. You will want to do your research on which car seat will be perfect for your own family.
The moment your baby leaves the hospital, you will have to keep your baby physically safe from danger, but also safe from bacteria and viruses. Doctors do not recommend traveling with your baby until your baby is at least 1-month old.
Sponge Baths Only!
Your baby’s umbilical cord will still be a tender spot for your baby for the next few weeks. To help speed up the recovery time for your little one, you ought to keep the area dry. For this reason, your little one can only be sponge bathed.
Submerging your little one’s belly button in water will make the disengagement of the umbilical cord take longer than the usual three weeks. This rule also applies to newborn babies that have been circumcised at birth. It is important to allow the area to heal completely first before bringing them into contact with water.
Expect Your Schedule To Follow Your Baby’s Schedule
Before your delivery date comes, you may meet other parents who will tell you that caring for your newborn will be nothing more than a monotonous checklist of chores day after day. Bringing home your little one is much more than just sleep deprivation and a constant cycle of diapers and feeding.
If you are a first-time mom, don’t rely on such a steady schedule of to-do items, throughout the day. Expect to have your schedule follow after how you little one feels. This might include late nights and early morning feedings and expect to go through diapers pretty quickly. Eventually when your baby has a chance to develop its senses you can try to stick to a schedule, but don’t get frustrated if your baby will not follow a schedule you are trying to set.
Try to Rest
When nursing a newborn, getting some rest may sound impossible. Your little one at this point in its tiny life will be falling asleep often, but not for long periods of time (one to four hours at most). As a result, you may feel sleep deprived.
Also, you should consider having your partner or family member take shifts with the newborn at night to ensure you sleep for longer periods uninterrupted.
Consider building a support group well before your baby comes home so that you can rely on others to help you get much needed rest and time for yourself to heal. Don’t feel guilty to ask for help. Having a solid support group will help you and your baby recover.
Dirty Diapers will be Messy
As your baby nurses more on your breastmilk, you will notice that the color of their little number twos keep changing. Your newborn’s first bowel movement commonly known as meconium may be tarry and brown, green or even yellowish goopy mess. Remember that bowel movements are all a part of life, and there’s not much more you can do besides changing your little one often. If you are tired of buying diapers you might consider using cloth diapers.
For the next couple of months, you should expect wet diapers. However, if you see red stains in your baby’s diaper, be sure to seek medical attention.
If your baby is breastfed, then you could expect him or her to wet about five diapers daily. However, if your little one is formula-fed then you can expect them to wet a lot more diapers (from 5 to 10 daily).
Nurse Your Little One Every 4-5 Hours
If you don’t want your little one to begin screaming their lungs out as a result of hunger, then you better start counting the hours that have passed since the previous feeding (count one to four hours). Since you will be feeding your newborn often throughout the day, it is important that you get yourself a comfortable couch or seat as you will spend a lot of your time seated on it while nursing your little one.
Also, if you are experiencing some difficulties while nursing, don’t be too hard on yourself, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. Instead, consider seeking the help of a lactation expert who could come to your home and help you through the positioning, latching, and milk supply aspects of nursing. Over time you will see that you no longer dread breastfeeding, rather you enjoy it!
Relax! Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
No matter how much you looked forward to the birth of your little one, the sleep deprivation, recovering and regaining strength from labor can take a toll on your emotions. However, it is important that you know that this feeling is normal.
You do not have to worry about the dirty dishes or dirty house, let it go for now and concentrate on nursing, cuddling, putting your little one to sleep, your recovery from delivery and getting the rest you very well deserve.
If you feel low, remember these baby blues are also normal during the first weeks after delivery. However, if your spirits are still extraordinarily low two weeks later after birth, then you should consider getting the necessary help to determine if you are experiencing postpartum depression.
Natalie Michele is the owner of MaternityatHome. During the day, she is a General Physician and by night she is a devout mother of two. She is always busy but loves sharing her knowledge and experience with other mothers or mothers-to-be.