If you’re due to give birth any day now, you may think that you’re well-equipped for the first week of living with your baby. Sure, you may be stocked up, but assembling the crib, sourcing their tiny clothes, and stockpiling diapers isn’t even half the battle. All the equipment in the world won’t get you fully prepared for the first week of motherhood. However, there are various techniques which can make things easier. Here are a few tips for making that first week as smooth as possible.
Sure, your newborn will sleep for up to 20 hours a day, but this won’t be in one long stretch each time. Most babies will sleep in little windows ranging from one to four hours and will wake up at all hours of the night to remind you they’re not happy with something. If you’re an experienced napper, then try to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. If you’re simply not up to this, then enlist some help immediately! Having your mom or another member of the family stay with you after you bring your child home for the first time, provided they’re happy to take shifts, will give you longer stretches of healthy, uninterrupted sleep.
Soothing your Baby
Infants, once they’ve left the warm, cozy cocoon of the womb, will want holding and soothing, pretty much all the time. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby or over-mothering. They won’t start retaining memories for some time. Instead, try your best to recreate the warm, comfy conditions of the womb. This will trigger a calming reflex and give you a little longer without hearing them cry. Swaying, shushing, holding your baby on their side and letting them suck your finger can all be great “off” switches for a distressed baby.
Shedding the Weight
You’ve already taken one of the most selfless jobs in the world, so don’t feel bad about thinking about yourself once in a while! If you started at a normal weight before you became pregnant, it shouldn’t take too long for your body to naturally go back to its former state. However, if you were overweight and gained several more pounds, the process can take much longer. Loading up on foods that are heavy in nutrients and light on calories and fat, breastfeeding, and drinking plenty of water, can all be great ways to shed the weight faster. These kinds of lifestyle tweaks can give you a clearer perspective of your weight situation if you’re considering tummy tuck surgery or similar, specialist treatments. It may sound counter-intuitive, but try to avoid going on any official diets. You’re already going to be stressed out by your new role as a mother, and feeling deprived of your favorite foods can actually cause you to gain weight, rather than shed it.
You can expect to feed your baby every one to four hours. There isn’t anything you can do to get around this schedule, but you can still make it a little more manageable and comfortable. Whenever your baby eats, you’re going to be bound to the couch, the rocker, or your bed. Make sure you keep all of these areas as comfortable as possible and have something to occupy yourself with. Read a novel you’ve been meaning to get around to, listen to music that won’t keep your baby awake, or whatever else you want to do.
Getting Daddy On-board
Getting daddy to help out with baby from day one can be extremely difficult, especially if he hasn’t taken time off work or you’re nursing. If you’re putting it off, make a point of asking him to dive right in as soon as possible. When he’s learning some new part of caring for baby, leave the room. This will stop him from crumbling under his nerves, and will force him to figure things out for himself!
The First Bath Time
Your baby is going to be slippery when wet, so you might be extremely nervous when you first come to give your baby a bath. The best advice anyone can offer is to relax, and take it at your own pace. You’ll want to work around the umbilical cord, as the faster it dries, the sooner it will fall off. With this in mind, a sponge bath is often the best way to go. Furthermore, if your baby is circumcised, you’ll need to give this area some time to heal before submerging it in water. Set out an area in your home for giving your baby baths, stock up on the supplies you’ll need, and keep them within arm’s reach.