Bringing home a newborn for the first time is so exiting – and it’s also daunting. That’s particularly true if you live far away from family and core friends from childhood and college.
What we’ve learned over time though, you don’t need as much as you’d think in that immediate first few weeks.
5 Things That Would Have Made it Easier to Bring a Newborn Home with Courage
And, yes, if you do have a community of sorts via neighbors, work, church, book club, the local La Leche League, etc., that’s helpful too. Here are five, core things we feel are worth knowing or establishing before bringing your newborn home for a sweeter, more streamlined and relaxed experience.
1. Attend and join some type of Mom Group before your baby is born
It’s going to be a while before you and baby are ready to head out of the house and attend things like La Leche League meetings, parent-child exercise classes and/or Moms groups. So visiting those groups, attending meetings and even joining ones you enjoy before baby comes home can be instrumental in setting up the support you need once that long-anticipated moment arrives.
Visit our post on, Support Groups for New Moms in Bellevue to learn more about some of the groups available to you. The La Leche League is worth starring as breastfeeding support can be instrumental in easing the transition home with your baby.
2. You only need the nursery essentials
It’s easy to get carried away on the tide of all the sweet things people load into their Baby Shower registry. When it comes right down to it – there isn’t much of that you actually need. We’ve isolated that list down to 7 Basic Nursery Essentials – including a co-sleeping bassinet or crib, a breast pump, a portable changing station set-up and a baby monitor.
The baby will spend the large majority of the first several weeks within arm’s reach of you, your partner or other caregivers so you can decide what else – if anything – you need when s/he grows from newborn to infant.
3. Plan nothing for the first week or two
We are big believers in a home-based Babymoon (we’re talking about the staycation, focused on you and your newborn kind). Don’t plan to go anywhere or do anything other than required newborn checks for at least a week or two. This time together with you and baby – mostly lying in bed or on the couch/chair together – is so important.
It gives your body time to heal after the birth (read, Healing After Childbirth – A Gentle Guide (and Timeline), it gives your baby time to adjust to its new, more exposed existence in a safe and familiar environment (your arms, chest, belly, neck, etc.), and it gives you both plenty of time and space to develop your natural rhythm together. After those first two or three weeks, you’ll be able to schedule plans based on the times of day that seem to be best for you both.
4. Have professional breastfeeding support contacts at the ready
Breastfeeding is absolutely the healthiest postpartum path for both mother and baby, and it is a natural process. It can also be a challenging process for some moms and newborns, so having professional breastfeeding support at the ready makes all the difference.
- Visit your local La Leche League before baby is born if you can or at least have their number up on the fridge or in your contacts so you can access them if you need them. Give the contact information to your partner/spouse as well so s/he can enlist support for you if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Print our post, Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers and have it handy.
- Never hesitate to contact your midwife, OB and/or healthcare provider and ask for support. They should all have quality lactation consultant referrals at the ready if they haven’t given you that information already.
5. Say, “Yes!” When people offer to help
Don’t let your friends and family members’ offers of help evaporate into the ethers. Say, “Yes, please!” and let them pitch in. For some mothers, having the dishes, laundry or light housecleaning (or transportation of other children to/from school and sports) are lifesavers. For others, having someone come hold the baby so you can move your body a bit, take a shower, or enjoy a nap is essential.