What to expect in your first few weeks home after having your baby.
Bringing your baby home from the hospital for the first time can be both exciting and daunting. Having realistic expectations of what is ahead of you can help ease the transition and ensure you enjoy the magical newborn stage.
Here are some common things to be ready for before you launch into your new life:
1. Your body will have changed.
As you return home you will still have a baby belly, you will be bleeding and your milk will likely be coming in. You will feel like you don't know your body, but trust that it knows what it is doing.
No matter how you brought your little one into the world, you will most likely still have pain when you return home. If you are lucky enough to be feeling well, be prepared for the afterbirth pains to kick in as your uterus gradually shrinks to its original size. These can be particularly bad during breastfeeding. Be prepared for these changes by having heat packs, ice, breast pads and any recommended medication ready for your return home.
2. Everything feels awkward.
You get into a bit of a groove at the hospital then all of the sudden, you're in a different environment doing it by yourself.
Bathing, feeding, sleeping and changing nappies all take some readjusting and learning how to do it in your home. Not to mention looking after your own needs on top of this, but know that you will find your rhythm and routine. Give yourself time to do so.
It is likely that you will have a stream of family and friends wanting to meet the baby, particularly if it is your first child. Look after yourself and baby first. Don't be scared to say no in the early days, as you need time to bond with baby and recover.
I had a no visitors in hospital rule and only family visited in the first couple of weeks. Spreading out visitors also helps you avoid becoming too lonely in the first months as you find your feet.
Before baby arrived you may have had expectations of the type of mum you were going to be or an image of your baby. Accepting that things aren't going as you had planned is hard, and you will likely shed a lot of tears in the early days as you find your way.
We have no way of knowing what personality our babies will be blessed with so try to take time to get to know your baby and your style of parenting before putting pressure on yourself.
I spent months wondering what I had done that caused my baby to only want me. In social situations, she would scream if anyone else so much as gave her a sidewards glance. When I accepted that this was just part of her personality, I was much more relaxed and we enjoyed our time together more. Fast forward to baby number two and she is the exact opposite; the same upbringing with a very different outcome.
Finally, always remember if you are worried about baby or yourself, contact your health provider. There is no shame in asking questions. Otherwise, back yourself and your instincts, because you've got this Mumma!
What advice do you have for parents bringing baby home for the first time? Let us know.