How to Survive the First Week Home with Baby?
Plan Ahead for Sleep: If you have a partner, you need to talk about sharing duties beforehand. Babies eat every 3-hours. Let your partner (or mom or whoever is helping you out) feed the baby at midnight and 6am while you take the 9pm and 3am. Even if you’re breastfeeding, pump some during the day so that you can sleep through at least one of those two feeds, even if it’s every once in a while.
The Power of the Swaddle: Most babies like to be swaddled and it’ll help them go to sleep and stay that way. Ask the nurses to show you how to do it several times. It’s an art. Learn it. Love it. And buy like 100 receiving blankets (from BabyDepot, if you want a good deal) so you can do it always, especially while baby needs help regulating his temp. Be sure to get soft ones. Baby’s skin is brand new.
Make Feeding Baby Easy: There’s nothing more annoying than having had an epidural or spinal in your back and it aching for weeks afterward because of your bad posture when you feed baby. Get a Boppy Pillow and use it whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding. Don’t be like me. I thought they were superfluous. I was wrong. They rock.
Feed Yourself and Drink: You need to eat to keep up your strength, keep you from being cranky and to make sure your breastmilk comes-in and stays strong. Drink lots of water, too. This goes for your partner as well.
Take Care of Your Back: An epidural or spinal can take some time to get over being sore. Also, your whole center of gravity just changed. So, try laying-off your back. Think smart before bending. For example, I don’t know who came up with it, but the inventor of the “second shelf” in the playpen needs a Nobel Peace Prize. I can change a diaper in that and put baby to sleep without hardly bending. No more backache for me.
Time is of the Essence: Imagine a scenario where you’ve been up for over 24-hours while someone tiny and cute yells at you that their 5th dinner isn’t ready, it’s 3am and now you have to microwave water?! Um, no. The bottle warmer can shave anywhere between 3-5 minutes off warming a bottle. So. Worth. It. Apply that theory to everything and find time-shortcuts. Or just let baby cry. You decide.
Organization is SO Important: We have way too many things now. Little outfits (dirty and clean), 100 receiving blankets (again, dirty and clean), bottles (OMG, dirty and clean), breastfeeding equipment (gah! there’s a trend!), and diaper change materials (yup, both kinds). I have 8 laundry baskets, 45 tubs, 99 wicker baskets and I still don’t have enough. But if I didn’t have all these, there’d be chaos in the streets. I need organization so I can find my brain.