Saturday, July 9, 2011

You just had a baby. Now what?

It's been almost a year since I experienced this. Yet, I remember vividly the first days home from the hospital.
Ok. You just got home from the hospital/birthing center. You've just had a baby. Now what?
You're probably tired/excited/tired/terrified. First things first. Close your eyes are take a deep breath.
You might have some family, friends and neighbors that welcome you home. They'll bring food and offers to help. Take them up on it.
Let them hold the baby while you go take a nice hot shower and relax. Maybe even take a nap. Yes, you'll feel the mommy guilt setting in because all you want to do is cuddle the little bundle. Yet, you need to take some time to care for yourself. Even for a few minutes. Another nice thing about breastfeeding is that you can steal the baby back by saying, "Sorry guys, time for baby to eat," and retreat to a quiet location to reconnect or snuggle on the couch. I used this often!
Things to remember:
  1. Eat and drink. You need your energy and even more so when you are breastfeeding.
  2. Rest. Even if you have a good sleeper, you'll still be getting less sleep than you normally would because of baby's need to eat and be changed often. Rest when you can. Plus, c'mon, you just had a baby. Your body needs to recouperate.
  3. Things may not be exactly as you want them. It's okay. So the dishes are put away in the wrong spot. So the laundry isn't folded your way. At least these things are getting done. You didn't have to do it. Soon this swarm of helpers will thin out and disappear and you can return things to your liking.
  4. Ask for help. If you need help getting up, you need a drink, need a pillow or need some socks for your cold toes, just ask. People want to help.
  5. You may have people that are spilling over with advice for the new mommy. Just be gracious and say thank you. But, always remember in your mind and your heart, you are not bound to do what others say you should do. They will leave and you will go about things in your own way.
When I first arrived home I felt tired, sore and sort of strange. Things had changed. We left the house, just John and I and we returned with a baby. A human that we are responsible for. The experience had blown my mind. My mom and inlaws welcomed us home, made dinner and cleaned up. My mom forced me to take a shower and lay down for a bit. Boy I was glad for it. Evan slept and slept and I eventually stopped feeling like I was abandoning my child.
So, take care of yourself so that you can be the best mama you can be.

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