I know this is only my second time at this rodeo I call parenting a newborn, but I feel like I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful to those coming up on their first or even second experience of bringing home a newborn baby.
1. Take a daily shower. When you don’t leave the house and your days and nights seem to all run together, it’s so easy to just say “screw it” and skip showering for a day or two (or three or four). Don’t do it. Why? Because between the leaky boobs, the baby spit-up on your shoulder and possibly in your hair, and the period-that-won’t-go-away (seriously – it’s like mother nature is making up for all that lost time when you didn’t have a period for 9+ months), you’ll feel so much better after you’ve spent a good 15 minutes in a warm, steamy shower. It’s cheaper than therapy and it’s also the only “me time” I get during the day so you better believe I’m taking it.
2. Don’t put away your maternity clothes. And don’t put on “real” clothes unless you absolutely have to. That’s right. Go ahead and get comfy in those granny panties. There won’t be any hanky-panky with your significant other for at least 6 weeks anyway. Since I had a c-section, I didn’t want anything touching my incision so pants were completely out for the first few days. Or they were pulled up really high, Urkel style. And I’ve already mentioned my undying love for the mesh underwear the hospital gives you. Make sure you take a few extras home for those first couple of days.
3. If friends offer to bring you food, take them up on it. I have some truly awesome friends. Since I couldn’t have sweets, carbs or alcohol, all of my friends brought me candy, cookies, cake, cupcakes, wine, beer, and champagne. My friends just GET ME, man. A few even brought dinner and I can’t tell you enough how helpful that is. I truly feel blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. So if someone offers to do something nice for you, let them. And return the favor when it’s their turn.
4. Stock up on your “new essentials”: nursing pads, Lanolin (hospital will provide a small tube for free), menstrual pads, and if you’re one of those more unfortunate souls like myself, you’ll also need Colace and maximum strength Preparation H. Yeah, it’s all as sexy as it sounds.
5. Delegate all household chores to your significant other for the short term. (Or mom or sister or whoever is there and capable.) Since I’m not allowed to lift anything heavier than the baby and I’m not allowed to drive for the first two weeks, all laundry, errand running and grocery shopping falls to the hubs. I’ve done a couple of loads of dishes and folded some clothes, but that’s about it. Another tip? Use paper plates, at least those first couple of weeks. I know, I know, it’s wasteful and not eco-friendly but if we didn’t use them, we’d have to run the dishwasher 2-3 times a day.
6. Keep your smartphone handy at all times. My smartphone is my lifeline to the outside world. During my first pregnancy, I made friends with a group of ladies that were all expecting around the same time as me. Most of us were all first-timers and we really leaned on each other, sending middle-of-the-night tweets about fussy babies, sharing tips or advice where we could, but mostly just sympathizing because we were all there, in the trenches, together. Now, I’m a little on my own with #2, so when I send a middle-of-the-night tweet, no one is usually there to answer me, but that’s okay. I catch up on blog reading or Facebook posts. I make notes on my phone so I don’t forget to do things, like who to send thank you cards to, or what the hubs needs to buy on his next trip to the grocery store.
7. Remember that newborns are NOISY. And I’m not referring to their crying. I mean when they sleep, they fidget and snort and gurgle and squeak and squawk. It’s enough to give any first-time mom a heart attack because you think your baby is dying/drowning/choking/etc. As a second-timer and someone who prefers for her newborn to sleep in the same room for the first few weeks, I’ve had to retrain myself to block out those sleeping noises and only get up when he’s truly awake and ready to eat. If you plan on having your baby sleep in his/her own room from day 1, consider turning the volume DOWN on your monitor so you only hear him/her when he/she is crying – and not every grunt that comes out of their tiny mouths.
8. If the weather is nice enough, get out and WALK. This is good for both your physical and emotional health since walking is believed to help the recovery process post c-section and the fresh air is just good for helping you cope with that cabin fever feeling. I was not able to do this until about day 16 but that’s only because this stupid horrible winter decided to stick around longer than usual.
Hopefully this list is helpful for any first-timers out there. Anyone else have tips to share?