Lower Your Standards
Having a baby is a huge transition for new parents, and until it actually happens you won’t quite understand how much of a game-changer a newborn can be. If you are lucky enough to live in Canada and have access to a year-long maternity leave, you may be inwardly dreaming of all of the things that you will be able to accomplish with a newborn in tow – house renovations, deep cleaning and organising your kitchen cupboards, quilting, whatever.
But just remember this: It can all wait. The most important thing for at least the first six weeks after your baby is born is that you and baby are well looked after while you all try to figure it out. The clutter on the counter? It can wait. Your husband expecting home cooked meals each night? Have him order out or pull out a freezer meal. Want to catch up on laundry while the baby sleeps? Sleep instead. While it’s tempting to struggle through and keep going at 100 mph, you likely had next-to-nothing for sleep while in hospital and it will catch up to you if you don’t rest.
Make Yourself a Mama Haven
Between the hourly, seemingly never-ending breastfeeding sessions and those pesky diaper changes, it is easy to forget yourself to motherhood. However, with a little preparation, you can easily squeeze in some me-time while caring for your newborn baby. Self-care for mothers is super important because you need to be healthy and happy in order to provide the best care to your bundle.
So, here are some ideas for when you are creating your “Mama Haven”:
- Place a comfortable chair in a central or tucked away area in your home, depending on your preference
- Put your travel crib with change table beside your comfy chair. If you don’t have one, dont fret! You can also set up a little change station nearby on a table or the floor. All you need to include are:
- Diaper cream of your choice
- A couple sleepers and onesies for quick changes
- A waterproof changing pad
- On a side table, make sure to stock all of the things you may want or need to get you through the first six weeks, including:
- Books and magazines you love
- Your beloved phone and remote, with Netflix on standby
- A breastfeeding pillow
- Burping cloths and blankets
- Your breast pump and supplies if you are using, nipple ointment, breast pads
- A ginormous water bottle (make sure to refill at the end of each feeding!)
- And don’t forget the most important thing – SNACKS! You may be surprised to know that nursing mamas actually need more calories per day than they did during their pregnancy (SOURCE). Almonds, energy bars, trail mix, cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus or ranch dip, a banana or other fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs, and greek yogourt all can be pre-made and ready to eat on the fly. It’s a great habit to get into to feed yourself each time you feed your baby!
- Voila. Enjoy quality time with your newborn baby while taking time for yourself too! Having a set-up like this will make those long, clusterfeeding sessions during growth-spurts much more enjoyable!
Keep Visitors to a Minimum
Of course everyone wants to see you and your new baby! It’s a super exciting moment for everyone, but having visitors over frequently can easily become overwhelming. Please remember that you and your partner are now your baby’s advocate – so if people keep coming over and you’re not getting enough time to sleep or figure out the whole breastfeeding thing, you will need to shut it down – politely of course. You all need to eat, poop, sleep and get into a routine.
Not necessarily in that order.
Share a Room With Baby
Co-sleeping in the same room as your baby has proven to have many benefits including higher breastfeeding rates, allowing for a faster response rate for settling and comforting infants, and reduces Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates by 50% in comparison to infants who sleep in a separate room (source).
You can safely share a room with baby by placing them on their backs to sleep in a bassinet or crib beside your bed. That way, your baby is easily accessible for frequent feedings and diaper changes through the night.
You may eventually find that your baby’s (completely normal) tossing and turning and little whimpers throughout the night are preventing you from resting between feeds. In this case you may find it best to try putting some space between you two. Find your groove and don’t look back!
Farm Out Your Older Children, At Least Part of the Time
This isn’t to say that you don’t love your older children and want to spend time with them too, but a newborn baby requires much more time and attention, which is exactly what your older children received when they were infants but will be unable to remember. If you are having a baby with siblings under school age, it will be really helpful if you can find a part-time childminding solution so that you will get some 1:1 time with baby,and actually nap when the baby naps! Try to find arrangements ahead of time with a daycare, family member, or friend so that you are not scrambling after baby is born.
Stock up on Mom and Baby Items Beforehand So You Don’t Have to Stop on the Way Home
The last thing you will want to do when you bundle your newborn baby into it’s car seat, is to stop on the way home to get this or that. Here is a list of items that you will most likely want postpartum. Of course, your doting partner could pick these items on the fly as well, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!
- Vitamin D drops – if breastfeeding, get the ones to apply right to the nipple
- Vaseline for sticky meconium poops – apply at each diaper change to make clean-up easy!
- Diapers – get a small package of newborn sizes and a big case of size 1 – many babies skip the newborn size altogether. If you want to stock up, don’t worry about sizes too much as most Walmarts will exchange without a receipt!
- Wipes – look for packages that self seal so that you can use them for travel too!
- Breast Pads- These will be a must after day 3 or 4 when your milk comes in, especially at night
- Peripads- Your favourite long maxipad will do, tampons are off-limits for 6 weeks while your body heals.
- Pain Relievers & Stool Softeners for Mom – Better to be looking at it than looking for it!
- Infant Tylenol – Just in case, but for use under three months consult your doctor prior to using.
These are just a few tips to help mom and baby get through the first few weeks of the postpartum period. Do you have any you think we should add? Help a fellow mama out and add them to the comment section below!
xo, The Mama Nurse