I found the first night back home with my newborn pretty dam hard – and I was trained in babies. Raw from birth, tired from the hospital, and overwhelmed with adoration, I arrived home. Before baby arrived, I was certain I would sail through the first few days with flying colours. I would breastfeed forever, sleep confidently when the baby slept and fend off the baby blues. How wrong I was.
Here are a few tips for the first night home with my newborn that I wish I had been told:
- First and foremost take it slowly. Be gentle on yourself. You are a new mom!
- Accept help from your partner, your family and your friends.
- Make sure that you understand your own post-delivery recovery. Before leaving the hospital get all the information about post-delivery do’s and don’ts. Take any pain medication (if necessary) before leaving so you are comfortable.
- Make sure you have fed your newborn with the help of the nurses or Lactation consultants in the hospital before you leave. It’s worth getting in some last minute pointers.
- Take a long warm shower in the hospital whilst a professional keeps a watchful eye on your baby. And eat a nice hearty meal. When you get home, it may be well into the afternoon by the time you brush your teeth and eat a piece of toast.
- Not everyone’s milk is flowing, and feeding might not go as planned at the time you get discharged. Get some support – a trusty Midwife, Lactation consultant or doula that you can have on speed dial to help you out. Even better – one that can pop over and help you.
- Have someone drop off supper. Just drop it off, not stay for hours and eat it with you. A simple pop in the oven ready meal.
- Don’t expect anything. Know that you and baby are still getting to know each other and the first few days can be tricky. You learn that winding your newborn makes sleeping easier. That squishing you breast down helps the latch to be more comfy. That nappy changes take way longer in real life than they did on a doll.
- Tears are normal. You are filled with new overwhelming emotions especially as your milk transitions in.
- And when you wake up, even if you only slept for 45 minutes on the morning of day two back home, know that you survived the night! You got this mama!
Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood.