That first week you get home with your new baby is exciting but daunting. You really are learning as you go and the main points to remember are as long as you feed the baby, change the nappy regularly and keep them warm then you are doing ok. That may sound very straightforward but if you are the mum who is tired, sore and dealing with hormones on overdrive then it’s handy to have a few tips to help get you through this first week and beyond. Here’s my top 10 in no particular order!
Fresh sheets on the bed
Nothing beats lovely fresh sheets on the bed. Ask your partner to change them for you when you are in hospital; it will be hugely appreciated by you when you get home. The hormones make you sweat at night a lot after having a baby so be prepared and know that it will settle down.
Visitor Rules with a Newborn
People will want to call to see your new baby and they mean well arriving with presents, cards and good wishes. But you might not be feeling up to visitors. I remember when I was training to be a midwife, I was out doing postnatal house visits and one couple had a sign on their front door saying “Baby and mummy resting, no visitors for 2 weeks please”. I thought at the time that it was a bit OTT but now I think it’s not such a bad idea! However, if you don’t want to go that far, let people know there’s no visits after 8pm, don’t let people stay too long and let them make their own tea. The biggest rule is don’t have people pass baby around especially if baby is sleeping, it will lead to a cranky baby overnight. Make sure visitors wash their hands too.
Have Food to Hand
If you are super prepared, you might have the freezer stocked with homemade nutritious meals you lovingly prepared for yourself towards the end of your pregnancy. If, like me, you thought that was a great idea but never quite got round to it then here’s plan B! Have an account set up for online grocery shopping, then you can get it delivered or get someone to collect it for you. For the first 3 days, my mother brought my partner and I hot dinners, it was absolutely brilliant. If you have someone that could do this then just ask! I will never forget those dinners because the days just fly and you find yourself ravenous all the time but somehow there’s no time to make something proper. And people bring cake so you end up just eating cake and biscuits because they are there and you feel you need the sugar to keep going. This is all fine but good to get some healthy stuff in as well as the cake! Fibre is especially important because you want to avoid constipation at all costs – it can take up to 5 days for your bowels to move so be patient.
Take the Pain Relief
You might think you are feeling fine but believe me – take the pain relief tablets regularly in that first week. You usually get a prescription for paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory so take both as instructed especially after a C Section or if you had any tear with a normal delivery. If you need more pain relief after your prescriptions are finished, you can buy paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory (such as neurofen or ibuprofen) over the counter in a pharmacy. These also help with breast engorgement and nipple trauma. Don’t be a martyr!
Have Daily Baths
Have one every evening if you can. Add 6 drops of tea tree oil and 6 drops of lavender oil to help keep any stitches clean and relax you. Even if you just sit in it for 10 blissful minutes, it is great to just have some ‘me time’ and give your body a rest. I did this religiously for the first 4 weeks and never had any problem with wound infections or healing.
Granny Pants and Big Green Maternity Pads
Stock up on the big granny pants in the likes of Penneys or Dunnes, they are more comfortable than disposable pants. Best to get them in black and a size bigger than you usually wear. Then team these with huge green maternity pads you get in the hospital. You can buy them in most pharmacies – you might need to ask for them as they aren’t always on display. These are the best ones as there’s no plastic so it allows air to circulate and helps prevent infection. Remember to change them every time you go to the toilet even as the bleeding subsides. Stock up on them before you have your baby. They are also useful for making padsicles! What? These are for your poor bruised and swollen and possibly stitched perineum. Just put some water on a green maternity pad and freeze it in a sealed food bag. When frozen, place it below your regular pad (so frozen one is not in direct contact with skin) and the relief is amazing. Just try it! Yes it’s a real glamorous time of your life 🙂
Take a Multivitamin
If you were taking a pregnancy vitamin tablet pre-delivery just keep taking them. Your body has a lot of adjustments to make and you are probably not eating that well so give it a helping hand. Any good multivitamin will do though.
Beat the Dehydration
Have water everywhere to encourage yourself to drink as much as possible especially if breastfeeding. I used to leave small bottles around the house for myself! And moisturise, I noticed really dry patches in random places such as on my elbows- keep moisturised and hydrated! Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you will be washing and sterilising at some stage either breast pump equipment or bottles. Your hands and nails will suffer so get some handcream and use it every time after the soapy water or use gloves.
Use a Sling or Carrier for your Newborn
This may not seem essential and it was in week 2 we bought ours. I didn’t do much research, just a quick google and read a few reviews before deciding. I ordered online and received the carrier the next day. It wasn’t cheap but worth every cent. It gets used every single day and many times a day even now at almost 4 months. Babies love to be close to you and this was the only way I could get things done. Also my husband uses it regularly – I made sure to get a black one so he wouldn’t be put off. It is the one thing that I would not be without. It’s also handy if you are out grocery shopping as you have your 2 hands free and most babies love the closeness and end up falling asleep. The one we got was the Boba 4g but there are many options out there and everyone has their own preferences. You can also get them second hand so worth a look on done deal or adverts.
This is probably the most important advice. Sleep whenever you get the chance because newborns do not sleep through the night no matter what anyone says. BUT they will sleep for you in a few weeks so go with the flow… until the 4 month sleep regression which I am currently experiencing but no point worrying about that in the first week!
I hope these tips are some use! Feel free to comment below or contact me if you have any to add. Thanks for reading x