The first day home with a newborn is never the easiest, especially when it’s a woman's first child. She has plenty of time to prepare once she finds out there is a bun in the oven. No matter how much she has prepared for the long-awaited day, there will be many hurdles and obstacles that no book can fully prepare her for.
Learning tips from other mothers will still be beneficial though, you wouldn’t want to jump in with your eyes closed. Every baby is different, so even after you have your first child, your first day home with your newborn will always be unique, and you will have different challenges that await you.
As I was preparing for my first child, I read all of the books, watched all videos, you name it, I did it. I felt confident that I was prepared, I really thought it would be a breeze. Most of the popular baby books give you much needed information, but they do not prepare you for what your first day will be like with your new bundle of joy. While I was in the hospital, everything was great. I was excited to go home, and I thought everything would be just peachy; I was wrong.
I felt as if everything I thought I knew from reading parenting books went right out the window. Luckily, in today’s world information is right at our fingertips. We can look up our exact problem and read information about it as we go.
If you want to know what it will really be like and all of the struggles you will encounter on your first day home with your little one; keep reading to find out all of the things that you wouldn’t expect to happen.
15 No More Help
Everything seems wonderful while you are still in the hospital after giving birth. You have nurses and doctors that are always checking on you and baby. You have help at the call of a button. There's a nursery for when you need a break, and although you might not be in the most comfortable bed, you get to sleep at night if you choose to let your baby sleep in the nursery. It’s great to be pampered while you're in the hospital, but it also gets you accustomed to having help when you need it.
Once you go home, you're own your own for every little thing that you need. Most insurance companies will cover the cost to provide a home visit from a nurse the first day. If you are offered this option, it’s a good idea to take it. The nurse will be there for about an hour and examine mom and baby. This is also a great opportunity to ask any questions that you didn’t think of while you were in the hospital. Having quick, but healthy meals on hand will also be beneficial; you don’t want to spend your first day having to cook.
14 Adjusting To Motherhood
Your first day home is a real challenge when adjusting to motherhood. You haven’t quite learned all of the tricks of the trade just yet, that will come along as the baby grows. There are so many new things to learn when you have a baby, so it’s only natural that the first day will be hard. Don’t feel like a failure if nothing is going your way. Getting the baby on a schedule will not happen overnight, so be prepared for a rollercoaster of endless tasks.
Your whole life literally changes once you bring your newborn home. You will find yourself surrounded by all of these new responsibilities at once, and you will feel extremely exhausted, but remember it will not always feel this way. You may feel like you don’t have time to take care of yourself, but to be able to care for your little one, you have to take care of yourself as well. When your baby takes a nap, try to get some sleep, eat, or even fixing your hair can do wonders. As days go by will you learn new ways to better adjust to motherhood; be patient it will happen.
13 Constant Feeding
It doesn’t matter whether you chose to breastfeed or bottle feed when it comes to how time-consuming it will be to feed your little one. When babies are born, their stomachs are extremely tiny. Since their stomachs are so small, they will need to consume 1 to 3 ounces of formula or breastmilk very often. The recommended timeframe to feed a baby is every two hours, but every baby is different; some babies will be hungry before two hours have passed and others will want to wait a bit longer.
Babies will give you cues when they are feeling hungry. When a baby cries, it doesn’t always necessarily mean that he’s hungry, so it’s best to try to learn some of your baby's cues. Many times a baby will do something called rooting, which is when they will turn their head towards mom's bosoms or a bottle. It is very important not to overfeed the baby. If you try to feed the baby extra to space out the feedings, it’s not going to work, and it’s not good for the baby; please don’t try this.
12 Baby Crying Excessively
The first day home with the baby can be really stressful, especially if it seems as if the baby is crying nonstop. It may feel like you have tried everything in the book, but yet the baby is not satisfied. Newborns are adjusting to their new environment. They have just spent about nine months inside your belly; all they know is the comfort of being in the womb. It’s just like being in a dark room for nine months and all of a sudden someone opens the door, and there is nothing but light; it’s very overwhelming.
If your baby is crying to the point where you can’t console them, and it’s been a long time, there’s no harm in calling the doctor. There’s also a chance that the baby could be colic; if that’s the case, they will cry excessively and will even continue to whine when there is nothing wrong with them. It is estimated that 20% of babies have this condition during their first few months of life. Excessive crying can be frustrating, but always remember never to shake a crying baby. If you become too overwhelmed have someone else take care of the baby for a little or put them in their crib and clear your head for a few minutes.
11 Changes In Mom's Body
When you have a baby, your body goes through major changes within a year. Your belly starts to grow, and you're glowing; you have the beautiful pregnancy look. Once you give birth, your body goes through drastic changes within a few days. The first time you use the bathroom after giving birth, you look down at your stomach and you're horrified. Don’t feel bad if you don’t look absolutely wonderful after giving birth, after all; you just made a tiny human being. Some woman bounce right back after giving birth, it looks as if they weren’t even pregnant a few hours ago.
When I gave birth to my first three children, I bounced back instantly. I had stretch marks which will never go away, but you get used to it; it becomes a part of who you are. When I had my fourth child, it was not so easy. My baby and I ended up being featured on the news right after giving; I gave birth to a baby boy at the same time Princess Kate gave birth to her son. I was horrified when I saw myself on TV, but you get over it. Seeing the beautiful baby that you brought into this world makes it all worth it. You can always take it slow, eat healthy and you will eventually get to where you want to be.
10 Not Bonding With Baby
Being a new parent has so many mixed emotions, however, everyone is different. The majority of mothers have an instant bond with their baby from the first moment they hold them in their arms. There are about 20% of parents that do not have an instant attachment to their baby. Some parents take longer to bond with their child, that’s okay if this happens to you; it does not mean you're a bad parent. As long as you take care of the baby’s basic needs, everything will turn out fine. After a few weeks of taking care of your baby, the bond will grow, you will realize how much you have loved your baby all along.
For some parents, they may feel like the baby dislikes them and this could cause them to feel like they are not bonding. With my first child, the first night was horrifying. I couldn’t get my son to stop crying. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t comfort my baby. Around 2 o’clock in the morning, my dad walked into my room, he asked for the baby, and I handed him over. My dad was able to get him to stop crying instantly. I felt terrible, but I was happy that my baby was comforted. I felt like my baby didn’t like me, but I watched how my dad held him, and gently rocked him. The next time my son cried, I tried what my father did, and it worked. I knew right then and there that I did have a bond with him. If your bond doesn't come instantly, don’t panic, it will form soon enough.
9 Worrying All Of The Time
Be prepared to be worried about every little thing the first day you bring your baby home. Being worried about everything is completely normal, although it may make you feel crazy. Almost every parent has a fear of SIDS; this is a real concern that parents should watch out for. Sadly, about 2,000 babies pass away from SIDS each year in the United States. You will find yourself checking your baby every few minutes the first day home while they are sleeping to make sure they are still breathing. This will most likely continue until the baby gets a little bit older.
The struggle is real the first day home with your newborn; don’t panic, it will get easier. You will also worry about if the baby is getting enough to eat or even if the baby is overeating. Parents also worry if the baby cries too much and they can’t figure out why. Another fear many parents have is germs. Some parents use hand sanitizer all day long. Overuse of hand sanitizer is actually bad. If the baby is rarely exposed to germs and pathogens, they can’t develop an immunity to it. Try not to over worry yourself; chances are, everything will work out.
8 So Many Diapers
Hopefully, while you were pregnant, you stocked up on many diapers; you will need more than you think. Having a baby shower is wonderful, many people will buy diapers for you. Many people even do raffles at their baby shower, whoever brings diapers can enter the raffle to win a prize. You can use coupons and when a store has a deal, use the coupons, and you can stock up on diapers for an amazingly low price. Always remember to buy different sizes; you don’t want to stock up on just newborn sizes, they will outgrow them quickly.
Newborn babies will need their diapers changed constantly. Newborns will have different consistencies of poopy diapers. The consistency and color can help determine how the baby is doing; babies should have at least one poopy diaper a day. As they get a few days older, they should have a few more dirty diapers for you to change. They will also urinate frequently throughout the day, and it’s best to change it when they go; you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a wet diaper. If your newborn doesn't have any poopy diapers, it may be time to call a doctor.
7 Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy
Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as you may think; it’s the natural way to feed a baby, but yet it takes practice and getting used to. If you decide to breastfeed your baby it is best to get help from the lactation consultant while you are still in the hospital; you will be thankful for this later. Many mothers who breastfeed their baby have a hard time and struggle with latching and determining if the baby is getting enough milk. The first day home with the baby is scary because you no longer have a lactation consultant to help you and you're left to face this challenge on your own.
It is impossible to determine how much milk your baby is getting when you breastfeed; this scares most mothers. There’s no need to worry; there are many ways to assure you that you are nourishing your baby. A few days after your baby is born, your milk will fully come in. When your baby nurses you should be able to feel softer and empty. If your baby seems satisfied and your baby is having wet and poopy diapers, the baby is probably getting everything that they need. You will also be able to tell if they are getting the nutrients they need by their weight. If you really have your heart set on breastfeeding, avoid using formula. When you breastfeed, the milk is supply and demand. If you give the baby formula, you will produce less milk for your little one.
6 Relationship Changes
Having a baby is very exciting and life-changing, but it can also be extremely stressful. Having a baby can either strengthen your relationship or break it. Parents tend to argue more after having a baby. One of the parents may feel overwhelmed because they are caring for the baby more than the other parent. Mom may feel left out and miss their social life; dad gets to go out and have some drinks with friends, while mom is at home with the baby. You could be married or in a relationship with the other parent; no matter what the situation is, it is bound to have some influence on your relationship.
The key to having a successful relationship after having a baby is to support each other. Each parent should play a role in the baby's life, if both parents help out, life will be much easier. Couples need to take time for themselves, get a babysitter and go out on a date. Parents should solve problems together and be a team. A happy couple will usually equal a happy baby; set a good example on how strong a family bond can be.
5 Cleaning The Umbilical Cord
When parents have their first baby, they usually struggle with cleaning the umbilical cord their first day home. When you are in the hospital after giving birth, the nurses will show you how to clean it and help you out. Once you're home and on your own, it can be terrifying. You feel like you might hurt the baby or accidentally pull off the umbilical cord. It’s actually a lot easier than you may think, you won’t break the baby, there’s no need to worry about it too much.
The umbilical cord usually takes one to two weeks to fall off. You will need to care for the umbilical cord and keep the area clean to avoid the baby getting an infection. It used to be recommended to clean the stump daily with alcohol wipes, but they now believe it is best to let it heal on its own. While the baby still has the stump attached, you should only give them sponge baths. Once the cord falls off the baby is ready for their first bath. Don’t try to pull off the baby’s stump, let it fall off naturally, even if it’s hanging off. You should avoid touching the stump. If the area has a smell to it or it seems like it hurts the baby, give the doctor a call, there may be an infection that needs attention.
4 Is The Baby Eating Enough
Knowing if your baby is eating enough is always difficult, especially if you are breastfeeding. If you are formula feeding, it is much easier to determine if your baby is getting enough nourishment. If your baby doesn’t seem like s/he wants to eat after two hours of the last feeding, you can try to offer the baby some formula. Always make sure you're burping the baby after feedings. If your baby doesn’t seem interested in the bottle or doesn't finish the full amount, don’t force the baby to finish. You may end up having to throw out some formula, but it’s better than trying to force feed your baby.
If you decide to breastfeed your baby, you may end up worrying on your first day home. You may feel like your baby is not getting enough milk since you don’t really know how much the baby is getting. Your baby may seem like they want to eat nonstop, but this is normal; it doesn’t mean the baby isn’t getting enough milk. Many babies that nurse will cluster feed, this will automatically increase your milk supply. Babies naturally know how much they need to eat, so if they are cluster feeding, there’s no need to worry; the baby is making sure they get the amount of milk that they need. If your baby is having plenty of wet diapers, chances are they are getting all the nourishment that they need.
3 Figuring Out How To Swaddle
Figuring out how to swaddle your baby on your first day home might feel impossible. At the hospital, the nurses show you how to do it. They are pros when it comes to swaddling. I remember they would come in my room and swaddle my baby so fast that I didn’t even get to see how they did it. I was still confused after they showed me slowly how to do it. If you have a visiting nurse your first day home, be sure to have them show you how to do it. Swaddling works wonders for an upset baby.
There are some people who are against swaddling, but from my experience, I believe swaddling is a miracle. Studies have shown that swaddling soothes a baby, they have less anxiety, and it even gives the baby a better steady heart rate. Swaddling a baby helps them feel calm because it mimics the mother's womb; it reminds them of the comfort they experienced in the last nine months. If you're having trouble swaddling your baby on your first day home, it’s okay, keep practicing, and soon enough you will be a swaddling master.
2 Being Hormonal
As we all know, after having a baby our body is going through some major changes in a short period of time. You may start to cry over any little thing that goes wrong or even anything that makes you feel happy. When you are pregnant, your placenta produces progesterone at higher levels than we are normally accustomed to. Right after you give birth, your progesterone levels decrease dramatically at a fast rate; your hormones will be all out of whack.
Your first day home with the baby you may feel so excited at first, and within a few hours, you could feel extremely stressed out and fatigued. You will have ups and downs; this is completely normal with everything your body just went through. There are so many mothers who experience the “baby blues,” if you experience this, it usually only lasts a week or two. If your “baby blues” don’t go away after a couple of weeks, it may be time to see a doctor to find out if you are suffering from postpartum depression. Don’t be embarrassed if this happens to you, the best thing to do is to get help.
1 Having Visitors
The day you get to bring your bundle of joy home for the first time, many family and friends might want to visit you just to see your baby. The first day home is usually the hardest, and you are exhausted. You are adjusting to having a new family member in your home. Everything is hectic on the first day; you have all of your baggage from the hospital. You may want to take a nap, but you can’t if you have visitors over and you will feel rude telling them that you're tired and want to sleep.
The baby may be overwhelmed on the first day if there are too many visitors. They are adjusting to their new world, and it could be frightening to have many different people smothering them. If you are breastfeeding, you will end up being in another room most of the time trying to feed the baby, unless you feel comfortable nursing in front of everyone. Take the time to adjust to your new life, give it at least a few days before people start bombarding your home; you will regret it.
Sources: allnurses.com, babycenter.com, medicalnewstoday.com, wfmz.com, webmd.com, npr.org, whattoexpect.com, breastfeedingneeds.com, nestedbean.com, hotzehwc.com,