So the day you have been waiting for for so long has finally arrived- you’ve given birth to your beautiful new baby and now it is time to go home from the hospital. The first week at home is a mixture of the most heightened emotions- ranging from utter bliss, happiness and love, to extreme tiredness, worry and nerves. It is the most amazing time, but it can be really daunting.
Here is our guide to the first week at home with your baby…
Usually around day 2-5 your milk will come in, even if you aren’t breastfeeding. This can cause an influx in hormones which can make you really teary and emotional, even if you aren’t even feeling sad. The first week or so with your baby can bring a range of crazy emotions, you may get a touch of the ‘baby blues’ where even though you are happy, you cry for no reason or feel incredibly upset about the smallest of things, then start laughing the next. This is completely normal and is just caused by all the hormones in your system, you should go back to normal within a couple of weeks of birth- but do see your doctor if you continue to feel sad as it might be a sign of something more serious.
Midwives and Health Visitors
When you leave the hospital after the birth of your baby, you will be given a care plan from your midwife. Usually this involves them coming to see you on day 2 at home and then again on day 5, but it depends on your area and also whether they need to come more often. If they do need to come more often, it might mean they are checking on the baby’s weight if they aren’t gaining as quickly as they would like, or checking on you if you are struggling with feeding or not healing from labour or your c-section. Eventually the midwives will discharge you into the care of the health visitors, and they will also do things like weigh baby and come and talk to you about things going on in the local area. Please don’t feel like you have to get dressed or tidy up, they have seen it all and want you to be comfortable.
You’ve just had a baby, you are going to have so many visitors wanting to come and see you and have a cuddle with your new arrival. Just do what is comfortable for you, if you want to see people straight away then let them, if you want to wait a few days to adjust just you and your family, then that is fine as well. You will never get these early first few days back so do what you feel comfortable with. Likewise why not have a safe word or something with your partner, where if it gets too much when visitors are over, that you can do something to politely get them to go home.
It’s that old cliche, but do try and rest when you can. Often mums feel completely on cloud nine or are running on adrenaline after the birth of their baby, and as such they find it hard to rest or sleep in the early days. But really do try, they won’t sleep lots in the day forever, so while you potentially might have your partner off work to help, do try and snatch the odd hour of sleep here and there.
You may have decided to breastfeed your baby or bottle feed your baby. But at some time in that first week you might be struggling, whether that is how frequently to give a bottle, or with pain from trying to latch your baby on to your breast. Please don’t be afraid to call up your midwife or health visitor, that is what they are there for. It is so daunting being a new mum and there is no shame in asking for help and advice.
Above all just enjoy it. It’s the most precious time and you will fall in love harder than you ever have before.