Bringing one's baby home is as exciting as the birth itself. Leaving the hospital with one new family member and settling into a new life, full of changes isn't as easy as many people expect it to be.
There are tons of ways you can prepare for the baby beforehand, but if you slacked on that bit, or you ran out of time, you can still make your first week home perfect. There are a few things you need to keep in mind, and a few life changes you'll have to make.
Above all else, you need to adjust to being needed almost 24 hours, every day. It's a huge change, and no matter how strong you think you are, there's no way to prepare for certain aspects of it, until it's already happening.
If you're used to waking up when you feel rested, cooking without someone needing you in one way or another, and reading a book uninterrupted for an hour at a time, you're in for a bit of a shock. Here are the top 15 ways you can make the first week home with baby perfect.
15 Wear Your Baby As You Prepare Meals
As long as it's not stove top, you can keep your sweet little baby close, even while preparing dinner. If you're a cuddly mom, this is great news! If you're like me, and the thought of not even being able to make dinner alone makes you anxious, well, it will be fine, trust me. You'll learn to love it, it just takes time.
Sometimes the baby won't let you put them down without crying, and sometimes you can't bear the thought yourself. Either way, the solution is babywearing! As long as your newborn is in a safe and comfortable position, you can get so many things done while carrying them. There's no need to throw your diet out the window and order takeout every night that first week.
14 Leave The Chores To Dad And Focus On Bonding
Don't stress over the dishes or laundry. Your hubby is there to help you, and if that means he takes on some of the chores so that you can heal and bond with your new bundle of joy, then that's what needs to happen.
He'll want to bond too, but most men will be understanding of what you're going through, both emotionally and physically. Sometimes the shock of what you've just accomplished will take a couple of days to sink in. If you find yourself crying and wanting nothing more than to just hold your baby, then that's exactly what you should do, Mama!Youru family is there to help you around the house, not gawk and take your sweet baby kisses away, leaving you to Cinderella your way around the house.
13 Acknowledge That You're Not Going To Want Help The First Week
You know the problem with the last segment? So many of us don't want any help that first week! Our hormones are completely out of whack, and whether we're trying to prove it to ourselves or others, we want to handle everything on our own. Maybe we scroll through Facebook too much, or we've seen too many romantic movies where the new mom has it all together and balances her new role as a mommy with doing all of the housework without even batting an eyelash. Whatever the reason, we want to be supermom, especially right after giving birth.
Pretty much what I'm saying is, whatever you want, you get. Now don't go being too much of a lunatic now. But if you want your in-laws to stay away for a week or two, then that's what you need. You're not alone at all. Most of us struggle with accepting help during the first week or two.
12 Routine Needs To Go Out The Window
Just meet all of your baby's needs and your own, and don't stress over the nap times and feeding times. Google is your worst enemy right now. You'll find article after article about the perfect newborn schedule. Pfft! Let that notion go right now.
There's just NO way to have any semblance of a schedule at first, especially during the first week. Be realistic. I'm a very organized person, and it didn't matter how many people told me that that first week would throw me for a loop, I thought I would have it under control. But I didn't. Not even close.
Don't worry about keeping your usual routine. Sleep from 3 o'clock in the afternoon to 6:30 PM, if that's what works for you and the baby. That's all that matters. Your job is to heal and care for your newborn, not stress over your sleeping patterns or breakfast time.
11 Just Don't Talk To Anyone Else
Honestly, you'll probably regret it. You'll get tons of unwanted advice from people you haven't talked to in a decade on Facebook anyway, so just leave it there. Plus, whether we want to admit it or not, we're really sensitive and emotional after giving birth.
Take it from me, you're better off just keeping to yourself, at least for the first week. You can make a couple of exceptions, like sending a quick text back to your bestie or your mom to let them know you're okay. They'll understand if you're not quick to reply. You can just tell everyone you were sleeping or busy. They'll believe you! It will probably be completely true. I remember when I had my son, I went from being super quick at replying to texts, to taking a few days to get back to people.
10 Don't Feel Bad About Keeping The Front Door Locked
You deserve your privacy and space during those precious first days. Your mother-in-law may want to bust down the door out of excitement, but you have to put you and the baby first.
Having the first week to yourselves gives you time to bond and adjust to your new life. Don't feel guilty or obligated to please others. Personally, I didn't even realize what I was going through during that first week until it had already passed.
If you're worried about hurting people's feelings, just nip it in the bud. Politely let everyone know that they can visit the following week, but you need time to recover and heal this week. People that care about you will be understanding. Remember, this is your family.
9 It's Pajama Week
Yay for jammies! Why in the world would you get dressed when your little one will turn around and spit up on you or need to breastfeed every hour? You also need time to let your body heal the way it needs to. Keeping your lady bits stuffed up in tight jeans probably isn't doing you any favors. Not to mention how uncomfortable that would be! You have to get used to your new body.
So keep your day clothes on the hangers (or in your laundry hamper) and hang out in your pajamas for the week. It's not often that you can get away with this, so live it up, mama! Heck, you might not even wear a shirt some days. It's just not worth it when you have a little one who needs feeding constantly.
8 The House Won't Get That Messy In One Week
Don't worry about cleaning constantly. There's only so much damage that can be done in a week's time. Remember, your hubby should be helping you around the house when he can anyways. And if he's not around, you still need to take it easy!
It's not always easy, especially when you feel that urge to make everything absolutely perfect for your new baby. You'll just have to remind yourself that your baby doesn't have any concept of dirty dishes or laundry. They have no idea that there's a pile of dishes in the sink, or a few glasses of water on your nightstand. What they do know is that they instinctively love you and want to be close to you every moment that they can. Hold that baby, and put the chores to the back of your mind!
7 Shut Off Your Phone And Laptop
This can be especially difficult during feeding times. I know for me personally, scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook was the only way I could make it through some nights. If you're stuck in place and the remote is on the other side of the room, turning to your phone seems like the obvious choice.
If you really want to make your first week home as perfect as possible, there's nothing better than turning your phone and laptop off for as much of it as you can stand. I'm certainly not anti-technology. I simply think it helps us stay grounded, and it's such precious bonding time. You want to soak it in while you can. You won't remember mindlessly scrolling through social media, but you will remember sweet cuddles with your newborn. This also makes it easier to keep to yourself.
6 Your Hobbies Can Wait
If you enjoy exercising, you definitely need to put that on hold for a little bit. You probably won't have any time for it, anyway. Same goes for most hobbies, from reading to scrapbooking. Whatever it is you enjoy doing in your free time, you would benefit from taking a break. You don't want to lose your sense of self, but the first week is all about you and the baby.
You won't be missing much, I promise. Your hobby will be waiting for you once you get used to your new life as a mommy. You'll be too overwhelmed to keep up with much else other than getting enough sleep and worrying about your baby. Because, who are we kidding, you will worry, even if your baby is perfectly happy and healthy.
5 Keep All The Smells Natural In The House
Forget the candles and air freshener. They're not good on little lungs. Plus, there's a lot of primal, instinctive things happening right after having a baby. I'm not saying you should wallow in filth. But your baby likes your natural scent. It's comforting, and it helps build your breastfeeding relationship.
I remember being told not to use soap on my ta-tas when washing up for the first few days. The baby will be able to smell your milk and your hormones easier that way. It's all part of the bonding experience, and it's important. Breastfeeding is hard enough as it is, so taking this extra step can make all the difference. You can break out the scented body scrubs later.
4 Try And Breastfeed As Much As Possible
Unless you're unable to breastfeed, you might want to at least give it a go. I realize this is a sensitive subject for some, and I mean no disrespect. If you choose to give formula over breastmilk, I'm not shaming you at all. My son had formula as well. But you can't deny that breastmilk is the better choice, especially during the first six weeks. If you at least give it 100%, you won't feel as guilty as you would if you went straight to formula. Mom guilt is the worst.
I'm not perfect. I gave my son a pacifier because I'm only human, and my son had a lip tie that kept him attached to me pretty much constantly. I needed sleep! But, if you can, you should avoid it, trust me. Keeping the baby on your breast will help establish your milk supply and help you two bond.
3 Let The Baby Take Over The House
It's all about the baby this week! They run the house, that's just the way it is. It's a strange adjustment, but a welcome one! (Most of the time). It's different at first, of course, but you'll get used to it.
The baby needs to be wherever you are, so there's bound to be diapers, burp cloths, extra clothes, and diaper wipes strewn throughout every room. Embrace it, mama! Not to scare you, but that will be your life for a while.
Your whole world revolves around your little bundle of joy, and you'll have the baby products within reach at all times to prove it. It's actually one of the smartest things you can do.
2 Pictures Can Wait Until Week Two
Most new moms are eager to get their newborn shoot done. Your baby is perfect, and you want to show them off! But the photoshoots should probably wait until next week. All your baby needs for those first few days is some quiet bonding time. Not that you'll have any sort of routine in place anyway, but you need to show them what life is like for a little bit before you go throwing them off with strangers taking pictures of them in strange positions.
Cuddle your baby and book a session for next week. Your baby will thank you, and you'll honestly thank yourself too, probably. It will stress you out more than you know. You'll love the pictures, but you'll wish they were in your arms the whole time.
1 Set Up Baby Stations In Every Room
This ties in with letting the baby take over the house. It's better if you have things somewhat organized, even if that just means adding a package of wipes in your side table or keeping a basket full of pumping supplies on your coffee table.
Keeping things you'll use frequently near you is the best way to have a perfect first week home with your baby. If this is your first kid, you'll be surprised by just how quickly two hours go by. If you're pumping, it will literally feel like you get 30 minutes of downtime in between sessions. If you're using formula, it's still a hassle to get up every single time your baby needs a new bottle. Keep a jug of clean water and the can of formula nearby. You'll thank yourself later.