So many things are happening simultaneously when you come home from the hospital with your new baby. You're healing from birth and the physical and hormonal changes that come in those first few days. You are in an the all-consuming cycle of feedings and diaper changes. You may feel like you are in a sleepless fog that even the most prepared parents feel. Add in the love, awe, and responsibility for this new tiny person…it’s not for the faint of heart. These tips can help make those first days just a little easier.
Consider Your Support System
There’s no shame in asking for or accepting help when you bring a new baby home. The most helpful friends and family are the ones who don’t judge your mayhem or your pajamas. This isn’t the time for entertaining; this is the time to ask a friend to do your laundry or bring you more maxi pads from the grocery store.
Give Yourself the Time and Tools to Recover
Eating well will ensure you’re getting enough calories to support healing and breastfeeding, so make sure you have a supply of nutritious food. Staying well hydrated is especially important as your body begins to shed the immense fluid volume you’ve been carrying around during pregnancy, so drink lots of water. And having time to sleep (can anybody really just sleep when the baby sleeps?) will help the healing process, too. Allow yourself naps whenever and wherever you can.
Be Kind to Yourself
Figuring out how to respond to all your baby’s needs takes an enormous amount of time and patience. Nobody ever gets it all right. And every single other thing can wait.
Note: If you are interested in connecting with other new mothers, join our Becoming Mom online discussion group. Receive virtual hugs of encouragement and joy from other new moms and a childbirth educator without leaving your home. Email WBHGroups@pennmedicine.upenn.edu. We'll get back to you with dates, times and other details.