Surviving the first days at home with a newborn are the most exciting, exhausting, challenging and beautiful days of a new parent’s lives. Walking into a home and becoming a family of three is an experience unlike no other. Learning how to get a hang of changing diapers, breastfeeding, changing clothes and learning sleep and hunger cues consume your days – all which go by way too quickly. Each day provides a new lesson or a new life hack to make your life as new parents easier and more efficient.
Here are a few ways that we’ve survived the first few days at home with a newborn. Pin this blog post, you’ll thank us!
A wise midwife once told us the golden rule to recovery for a new mom is 5 days in the bed, 5 days around the bed, and 5 days around the house. Realize that your body just went through a tremendous change – hormonally and physiologically – and you need to give yourself to recover your mind and body. Resting, staying in the house and limiting stressors (like visitors!) will make your transition into motherhood more smoothly. Your body needs to rest, especially if you’ve had stitches or had a c-section.
Enlist in help – having a close family member or friend stay with you or stop by during the day to help with basic household chores, making meals, cleaning, doing laundry or taking care of the dogs is an absolute must. Your only job will be resting and feeding your child and your partner will need to attend to your needs and the baby’s. Everything else comes second and some new parents forget to eat or drink water (or shower!) if they’re left alone without any extra help. If you don’t have close family in town, look into hiring a postpartum doula.
If you’ve given birth vaginally, you’ll want to stock up on an herbal spray for your perineum or the pain relieving spray like dermoplast.
Stock up on depends or any other female ‘diapers’. Whether you delivered via c-section or vaginally, you’ll be bleeding for a few weeks after you give birth and you’ll practically live in diapers, just like your new baby.
Make padsicles – Take female pads and use a recipe that can include witch hazel, aloe vera, lavender essential oil, rose water to give relief and use as a pad for the postpartum bleeding.
Put down a towel on the floor after you get out of the shower because you might leak blood and this way you’ll protect your nice rugs or floor.
Get a nice big jug of water with a straw to stay hydrated during the day. Keep it close by at all times!
Be sure to do some research before about nursing positions and how to get a good latch. This is crucial to breastfeeding success. Understand that this is a new skill both you and your baby are getting a hang of, so be patient with yourself and your baby. It may take a few tries to get a good latch and that is ok!
Get a good nursing pillow. We’ve found the Boppy pillow and My Breast Friend nursing pillows to be the most popular. Our favorite is the My Breast Friend pillow because it has a strap that wraps around your body and a nice shelf like a pillow for the baby to rest on which allows you to breastfeed hands-free!
Create a nursing station with a nice comfy chair and a dresser that can hold snacks, waters, breast pads, books, your phone, and a charger and whatever else you need during nursing.
Babies love being swaddled as it recreates the feeling being in the womb. If you haven’t mastered the swaddle with a simple blanket, you can buy swaddles like the Aden Easy Swaddle. These will help your baby sleep and nap better as being swaddled calms babies and reduces the Moro startle reflex.
If your baby’s lips are dry from nursing, all you have to do is express a little breast milk and put it on their lips. It works like magic!
A sound machine helps recreate the sound of being in the womb. This has been essential for tons of new parents to get their baby to sleep for a longer stretch throughout the night.
Your baby’s first poops will be a tarry black poop called meconium. Meconium is very hard to wipe off your baby’s butt. Get a bottle of coconut oil that you can spray on your baby’s bottom after each diaper change so the meconium is easier to wipe off. You’ll thank us for this advice!
For Your Home
Make sure you have a decent stash of freezer meals, snacks, water, and microwavable foods. We recommend doing this in the days and weeks leading up to your birth date to make sure you won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. Doing this helps you save money and not have to take unnecessary trips outside of your home.
Invest in a few night lights. Night feedings and night diaper changes in the dark can be challenging, and you won’t want to turn on all of the lights in the room or else you’ll awaken and overstimulate your baby.
Create diaper changing stations wherever you’ll be spending lots of your time. Instead of having to walk back to your bedroom or nursery to change your baby’s diaper, you can easily change their diaper in the room you’re already in!
What is your advice for first-time parents? Comment below with your advice or life hacks to make the first few days at home with a newborn easier!