You've made it home! Congrats, you have birthed your beautiful baby. Such an exciting time but you probably are thinking a few of these thoughts: "What now? Who do I ask to get medical advice? We're all alone, how am I allowed to be responsible for this baby?" These are completely normal. I like to call it the "new parent arrival home anxiety". Here are a couple tips to ease your process home and to not have a freak out.
- Sounds silly but take care of yourself. If you're a disaster, guess what? You're going to get stressed and so will caring for your baby. If baby is asleep, relax! I use to get so upset when people told me to sleep when the baby was sleeping. Honestly, it's the truth. If you can sleep, do it. If you can't sleep while baby is sleeping, find other ways that you can relax during that time! It's you time. So eat, watch tv, sleep, whatever you need to do.
- Write it down. Write down everything the baby does. Diaper change- write it down! Keeping track of the baby's schedule can help you with getting to know the baby but also come in handy to keep your eyes open for any medical problems.
- Check those diapers! Before you left the hospital, they should have told you what to look for when diapering (and how many). Keep these in mind.
- Fever is always top of the list for parent freakouts. If this is you, check the baby's temperature. You will feel better. If high, don't hesitate to call the doctor or get medical attention. You've prepared for this baby's arrival. Don't second guess yourself when it comes to baby health. Getting a second opinion never hurts.
- Feeding anxiety? Take a deep breathe. I still have anxiety about whether my son is eating enough and he is a toddler. Remember your tips about how to see if your baby is swallowing milk. Check the amount of time your baby is feeding for and how many times. If you have a baby scale, great! Weigh away! If not, go to a local hospital to weigh your baby to see after a couple of days if they're gaining or losing.
- Don't hesitate to get a lactation consultant. If you are completely stressed about breastfeeding and have any problems call a lactation consultant. La Leche League will always answer questions on the phone as well as your hospital. Just a conversation can put your mind at ease and relax you.
- Call a Postpartum Doula! They specialize in the transition home from birthing. They can assist in so many different ways that help you and your family. Their job isn't to take the baby away from you but to support you through becoming a new parent. A lot of Postpartum Doulas will offer services even if you haven't booked prior to birth or know someone else who is available!
- Be honest with yourself. If you're overwhelmed, don't invite a million people to come visit the baby. Think about what is best for you and your family. There will be plenty of time to meet the little one.
- Ask your parents. Yes, it's a little different from when your parents had you but having the ability to ask them doesn't make you a worse parent. Don't be afraid to ask them questions.
- Ride the free meals train! I at first didn't want meals but soon learned it was a blessing. If others want to make you meals, take them! Less stress for you and you'll have food!!
- Get use to a schedule. Flexibility is key but if you get into a routine in the first couple of days it can save you a headache as time goes by.
- Follow your postpartum care instructions. A definite must! Especially if you're recovering from a c-section! Follow the orders to prevent infection. Also, plenty of tips out there to help with any discomfort!
- Lastly, BREATHE! No new parent instantly knows all the answers! It's a learning process for you and baby!
Enjoy all the obstacles with laughs and wonderful stories to share with others. I still remember my child's first poop like it was yesterday and still laugh about how awful I was at changing it. You're going to be a pro before long!