You’ve just experienced one of the most amazing milestones in life – giving birth to a child. It’s an exciting and joyful time. You are on top of the world! And then it happens. You find yourself at home with your baby for the first time. And suddenly it sinks in. You are responsible for another human life. Help! What am I supposed to do with the baby?!
Take a deep breath and don’t panic. The good news is that, with the exception of feeding, changing, and of course cuddling, most newborns don’t require a lot. As time passes and you gain more experience you will learn how to read your baby’s signals and know exactly when they are hungry, sleepy, or just cranky.
Curious about what your first day home with your baby will be like? Read on for some of my favorite lessons from the first day home.
You’ll be bored
Newborns require a lot of sleep and most newborns tend to be on an opposite schedule, which means they tend to wake more in the evening and overnight hours. So unless you are the parent of multiples or you have an exceptionally busy first day home planned, you might find yourself being bored. Especially if you are the type of person that does not like to sit still for too long. You might even find yourself considering waking the baby. GASP! Instead take advantage of the “extra” down time and catch up on household chores or other work as your energy level allows. This way when your energy does begin to wane and you are in full zombie mode (if you’re not already), you will be ahead of the game. If you are already caught up, use the time to pamper yourself or take up a relaxing hobby such as reading or try a yoga class.
You’ll be on a rollercoaster
Have you ever heard the phrase “emotional rollercoaster”? Well, sit back, strap in, and enjoy the ride; welcome to postpartum! One minute you’re up and the next you’re down. Hormonal changes in the body combined with major life changes and a serious lack of sleep (coffee anyone?), can cause a period of intense emotion. You’ll experience happiness, sadness, fear and everything in between. While it is completely normal for both moms and dads to feel this way, not having control of your own emotions can be frustrating to say the least. Try not to sweat the small stuff and focus more on what makes you happy. Try your very best to maintain a consistent routine to help alleviate stress and chaos throughout the day. If your emotions seem overwhelming or do not get better over time, please make it a point to discuss it with your doctor. Postpartum depression is a very real and serious illness.
You’ll crave adult contact
If you are home with a newborn on maternity or paternity leave, you are probably aware of how lonely it can feel. Becoming a parent can be a very isolating experience. Your changing priorities may not exactly be in line with those of your friends which can put a strain on relationships. Don’t begin talking to yourself just yet! Join a local parenting group to meet other like-minded people. Visit a local coffee shop and start a conversation with a neighbor. The change in scenery will be a great mental break. And you may actually get to talk to an adult about something other than the effectiveness of diaper rash cream or which bottle brand is best.
You’ll make mistakes
Parenting is most certainly a learning experience! There is no manual or instructions on how to do it correctly. As you will quickly learn on your first day home with your newborn, you are going to make mistakes. I can’t tell you how many parents have cleaned up accidents because they didn’t get their baby boy’s diaper on fast enough or accidentally puts their child’s clothes on backwards. It happens. Each day you will gain more experience and each day will get easier with your baby…at least until they start a new phase!
Style goes out the window
That’s not to say that new moms don’t care about their appearance but I am here to warn you that there will be days when the best you can muster is a coffee stained sweatshirt, pants with a diaper cream stain, and mismatching socks. Admittedly, I might be speaking from experience on this one. Fortunately, your newborn doesn’t care about what you’re wearing or how you look. And most of your neighbors won’t either should you choose to wear your yoga pants on your grocery store run just this once. Unfortunately, your clothing will now become a catch all for things like drool, vomit, and food. Sounds great, right?! Carry extra hand towels and baby wipes in your diaper bag for on the go clean ups. You can also try shopping consignment to save money on a new wardrobe when your little one leaves their mark on your clothing. If possible, try a thrift store that supports a great cause such as breast cancer awareness or domestic violence awareness.
Cherish and appreciate these precious days with your little one. Kids seem to grow in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, they won’t be little anymore!