The first week with your newborn
Find out what to expect during your first week home with your newborn...
Congratulations! You've just given birth to a beautiful baby and it's almost time to bring her home. But many mums are anxious about bringing baby home for the first time because they do not know what things are going to be like.
It's completely normal to be a bit worried. Looking after a little baby is a learning experience and you will probably make some mistakes along the way in the first week.
We help you get through this first week with your newborn by telling you about a few things you could expect during this time.
Regardless of whether you had a C-section or vaginal birth, you will probably be sore somewhere. You may even be in a fair bit of pain depending on how your delivery went.
If you had a C-section, you will probably need some pain medicine, though sometimes the pain is manageable without it. Mums who delivered vaginally might also need pain medicine, depending on if they had tearing or an episiotomy etc.
With this kind of pain down there, going to the restroom will not be fun for a while. Also, back pain might be an issue, especially if you got an epidural.
When your breast milk comes in, it may bring with some some other pains. Engorgement could make your breasts sore and if breastfeeding, your nipples might be sore until you and baby get the hang of it.
Lastly, you will probably have some small contractions while your uterus shrinks back down to size. This shouldn’t be too painful, but the occasional contraction might stop you for a second.
Avoid lifting anything weighing more than the baby during the first week and beyond. Doing so will make healing take longer and could cause long term damage as well.
How to handle visitors during that first week with your newborn? Find out on the next page...
Everyone loves a new baby and feel like they should stop by and see how you are doing. People assume that new mums want to have visitors or they will feel left alone.
The truth is that most new mums just want to be left alone for the first week or so until everything has settled and everyone is on a better schedule.
Unfortunately, most of us will rarely be left alone for the first week. Just when one visitor leaves and it seems you can have some quiet time, the next visitor will come by. Or the doorbell will ring just as you are laying down to rest.
If this is something you want to avoid, you have a few options available.
- You can make it well known to all family and friends that you will call them when you are ready for visitors.
- You could tell people to call first or that you will call them when it is a good time for them to come and see you and the baby.
- You could even put up a sign on the door to inform would-be unannounced visitors that you and baby are resting and to please call for a better time.
It seems to be a no-brainer, but you might underestimate just how tired you will be during that first week with your newborn.
Newborns often have no concept of day and night. They sleep a lot during the day and very little throughout the night.
While many people will advise you to sleep when baby sleeps, sometimes this is easier said than done as things still need to get done during the day.
However, as a sleep-deprived mum, you should ask yourself exactly how important these things are.
Cleaning, cooking a full-blown dinner, visiting or running errands can probably be put off for a week or so until things start to mellow out at home.
After about a week, you'll get a better sense of your baby's sleeping and feeding pattern. Don’t assume that things will instantly be better, but your little one will soon adjust his or her sleeping pattern according to day and night.
And till then, do try get as much sleep as possible when your little one slumbers. Why? because sleep deprived parents are not as rested or able to deal with the stress that comes with having a very dependent newborn.
If nothing else, maybe ask a friend or family member to watch the baby while you catch a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Keep reading more about the first week with your newborn on the next page...
Eat, sleep, and poop
Mums with older children often welcome the peaceful and simple first week at home with a newborn. First-time moms are often surprised to find out how unexciting their new babies are during the first week of life and maybe beyond.
To be completely honest, newborns will often spend their entire day doing 3 things; eating, sleeping, and dirtying diapers. That is all.
Occasionally they will flash what looks like a smile, but there is very little personality or interaction at this point. There isn’t much to do with them other than to cuddle and kiss them.
The excitement will start later. For now, enjoy the quiet simplicity of your newborn.
If you thought you were paranoid during your pregnancy, that feeling that something is wrong will probably increase threefold or more with your new baby!
You might constantly feel your baby to make sure he/she is still breathing, move everything that is anywhere near their face, and do a million other things to ensure they stay safe and healthy.
Is that face normal? Are they supposed to do that? Why is his head flat on one side? Has she been sleeping for too long? These are just some of the questions that will probably pass through your mind during the first week at home with your baby.
But remember, feeling like this is normal. It is your mothering instincts kicking in and making sure your baby is okay. However, to keep yourself somewhat sane, call a mummy friend you trust or a doctor if you have any doubts about anything.
That way, you will be able to rest assured that whatever you are worrying about is normal. You will probably still check a million times to make sure your newborn is breathing though. A lot of moms do that. It will pass eventually.
Your first week with your newborn at home will be hectic, tiring, and a non-stop learning experience. It might seem scary and exasperating, but it will go by fast.
Before you know it, your baby will be a year old and you will be a whole new confident parent. Until then, savor this time because it will be gone soon enough.
What was your first week with your newborn baby like? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.