Your first weeks home with a new baby can come with a lot of anxiety. You may have prepared a great deal for your baby’s arrival; like assembling the crib, washing and safely arranging their little clothes, stocking up diapers and all that.
But the real test is not until the baby arrives when you need to master new skills that you could not have prepared for beforehand, like breastfeeding, soothing, bathing the newborn, and surviving with little or no sleep, including tackling all other new areas that motherhood will bestow on you in the first week.
Below are at least seven tips to help you ease into your new roles in the first week after your baby arrives:
1. Sleep Deprivation:
Your newborn will snooze for approximately 20 hours a day, but it won’t be in long stretches. Typically babies sleep one- to four-hour spurts.
Mum tip: Invite a close female relative over just before the baby arrives or as soon as it arrives. Here, in Nigeria, mums and mother in-laws are usually excited to be around to welcome their grandchild and cradle them while you get some rest.
If you are in a foreign country or can not have a relative around for some reason, you can trade-off with your husband. Have your hubby keep the baby in the living room, while you get the much needed sleep your body requires. When it is time to nurse, your hubby can always bring the baby to you.
2. Soothing The Baby:
Newborns, fresh out of the cosy confines of the uterus crave constant cradling and soothing.
Mum Tip: Don’t worry about spoiling your newborn-it’s not possible. Cuddling your baby or hugging them a lot will not make them spoilt, it will only trigger a calming reflex in your newborn.
Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of the Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD says he recommends swaddling, swaying, shushing, holding your baby on her side, and letting her suck on your finger. If you love to strap your baby to your back the Nigerian style, so you can move about or get some minor work done; all fine.
About all these calming techniques, Dr. Karp had this to say:
“These steps performed individually or together can often be a virtual ‘off’ switch for the crying,”
3. Getting Daddy Involved:
It can be tricky to include the dad right off the bat, particularly if he doesn’t have time off work.
Gently encourage your husband to spend as much time with the baby from the-get-go, whether it is bathing, cuddling, burping or diaper changes. Do bite your tongue if he isn’t doing it exactly as you want, the last thing you want to do, is discourage him.
4. The First Bath:
Many new parents are anxious about bathing their tiny creature in the first week, but you can do just fine with a little help and confidence.
Relax and take it slow. Have your husband or an assisting relative help you while you give your newborn a sponge bath working carefully around the umbilical cord. If your baby has been circumcised, you’ll need to wait for the area to heal before completely submerging it in water. Have your hubby or relative gently help pour water to rinse the soap as you bath your baby.
5. Keep Night Feeding Sleepy And short:
Feeding in the middle of the night can be stressful for you as a new mum, but there’s a way around it.
Do not let your newborn cry for long when they wake up to feed. If you feed them just in time, they will not be fully awake and you can just nurse them briefly before they fall deeply into sleep again, and you can get some moment for yourself too.
6. Staying Sane:
Between lack of sleep, physical discomfort, and plummeting hormones, even the most excited new mummy can feel overwhelmed.
Don’t let the pressure of keeping the home clean get to you, relax and give yourself the licence to let the house get dirty. Going outside even to the balcony and enjoying fresh outdoor air can lift your spirits.
7. Recovering From Labour Pain:
Many first time mums are totally unprepared for the pain they have to cope with after birth, not to mention tiredness.
Have a designate family member come stay with and take care of you; after all, you are doing your bit expanding the family. Lol.
On a serious note, take a sitz bath to relief your soreness if you had a vaginal birth, your nipples may get sore from time to time, a nipple balm will do the trick.
There you have it, 7 easy to follow tips to help you through the first week of your baby’s arrival.