Bring your tiny newborn baby home from the hospital for the first can be scary. This is such an exciting time! I remember putting our tiny little girl in her car seat and thinking “I can’t believe they are letting us take this little person home!”
That night it hits you that you’re a mom! and you may wonder if you are going to be any good at being a mom. Or how are you going to know what your baby needs? I remember thinking these same thoughts as I was putting our newborn to bed in our home for the first time.
Being responsible for another human being is a huge job! but it is one of the most important jobs as a new mom you can have. The first few weeks can be a little overwhelming especially when you are not sure of what to expect. That is why I have put together a little guide on what to expect after your baby comes.
Life at home with your baby
Don’t expect to do much to entertain your baby. When they are newborns and for the first few weeks babies sleep A LOT! about 16-20 hours. They eat very frequently and you can expect you’ll be changing dirty diapers non-stop.
Even though newborns do sleep quite a bit they also are awake a lot as well and that is usually when you want to go to bed. Newborns had no schedule or ques to let them know night VS day when they were in the womb. Newborns don’t function as we do they have very small tummies and bladders so they refill and empty a lot.
When my daughter was a newborn she ate every two hours day and night. So don’t expect to get much sleep for the first few weeks or possibly even months. That is why when your baby is napping you take a nap as well. You may feel the need to clean the house, put the dishes away, or fold the laundry but don’t! Get as much sleep as you can.
Sleeping is a great way to help your body recover. Your body goes through a lot when giving birth and not to mention the sleep you didn’t get during the third trimester. Sleep is a wonderful thing!
Your baby will naturally have cues and signs to show you that they are in need of something. For example, my daughter uses to suck on the knuckle of her pointer finger when she was hungry. So when I heard her little-sucking noises I knew she was telling me she was hungry. Give yourself some time to decode your baby’s signs and cues, in the beginning, you may try feeding, changing the diaper, or burping to see which one you baby needed.
You will have quite a few doctors visits. The wellness checks are usually at 3-5 days old after birth, 2, weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Plus you may have 1 or 2 visits yourself. Doctors like to make sure that you are healing well downstairs.
The wellness checks are for your child only. If your child gets ‘s sick or something abnormal is going on you may have a few more doctors visits. If you are feeling like you are living at the doctor’s office for the first few weeks that is normal!. At 7 months old we found out that our daughter had food allergies so that added a lot more doctor visits for her.
You might have only had a few people visit you at the hospital. So when you get home expect a few more. You may have friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors who want to come to meet your new little bundle of joy and get a few baby snuggles in.
Your baby won’t care much. He will mostly sleep while people are there to visit you. Don’t expect much from your little one you don’t want to end up with a cranky baby. It is also totally fine to not want people to visit. You can politely say that you and the baby are not feeling up to having people over and that you would like to get some rest.
You won’t hurt any feelings. People understand how tired moms are with newborns. Set your boundaries and let people know when they can come to visit you and your bundle of joy.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that little humans don’t have a big immune system yet. So remind visitors to wash their hands before holding your baby and if they have been sick or around sick people you may want to tell them to come to visit in a few days. Because the last thing you want is for your baby to catch something.
Having a baby takes a big toll on your body. So if you feel very exhausted, emotional, in a little bit of pain that is all normal. During your time of recovery watch for signs of PPD (postpartum depression) and baby blues. It is normal to feel emotional and sad due to your hormones but talk to your doctor if those feelings continue after a week or two.
Once you and your baby get home from the hospital that is a good time to pull out your postpartum recover kit. If you have not put one together yet check out The Ultimate Postpartum Recovery Checklist!
The hospital will send you home with items you can use to help with your recovery such as peri bottle, witch hazel pads, and big pads since you will bleed for a few days maybe even for a week or so. They may prescribe you some ibuprofen if you are still in pain.
One of the best pieces of advice I got was “take care of yourself, when you take care of yourself you take care of your baby”. I know it can be hard to care for yourself when you have a newborn. Let people help you because you don’t have to do everything yourself. I remember when my mom even my husband would take our baby off my hands so that I could shower, eat a good meal and get some rest. I felt so amazing when I took care of myself. Especially in the first few weeks make sure you take care of your needs too!
Every baby is different and every mama is different. There is no exact schedule that every mom follows. Your schedule is probably going to be different than my schedule. And you may need to make changes as your baby grows. Keep an open mind when it comes to setting a schedule and know that you may have to adjust along the way.
For me, my daughter actually set her own schedule. I didn’t do too much since she was already following a schedule from day one. Sure I would have liked her to go to bed at 8 when she was a newborn but she would go to bed at midnight and then a few weeks later it was 11, 10, 9 and then 8. Which she still goes to bed at.
When you are setting a schedule to keep an eye out for cues that your baby may be telling you they are tired, or hungry. If your baby is not tired you can’t make them go to bed. Or if they are not hungry you can’t make them eat. As your baby gets older they will be able to do longer stretches between feedings and take longer naps so really pay attention to your baby’s cues.
My daughter would take 3 naps a day one about an hour after waking up, around lunch time and again around 4-5 PM. They would vary in length sometimes she slept for two hours and sometimes she would sleep for 30 minutes.
Sometimes moms try to keep their baby awake thinking that will help them sleep longer. But they end up with an overtired and cranky baby. Keeping them up longer can actually make them not sleep very well. Again watch and listen for your baby cues. That is the best way you are going to be able to put a schedule together.
Night Time Routine
My daughter would swallow air A LOT while nursing. She would only be able to nurse for about 30-60 seconds before I would have to take her off and burp her. If I didn’t she would throw up all of the food she just ate. So it took me an hour to nurse her and get her to bed. I had a really fast let down so that didn’t help.
Starting around 6:30 PM she would get a bath if it was bath day. Newborns don’t need a lot of baths and it is not good for their skin. So my daughter would only get a bath once a week until she was older. Or if she had a big blow out!
I would read her a book. Yes, even as a newborn I read her books. Nursed her and put her to bed at 8 PM. She would wake up around 2 and 4 to eat again and then slept until 8 AM. Again my schedule will most likely be different from yours but this is an example of what a day to day routine with a newborn.
Take Time To Enjoy Your Newborn
Newborns don’t stay tiny forever. Even though the newborn phase can be exhausting enjoy the sweet moments. There have been times I had cried holding my newborn. I was exhausted and my breast hurt from breastfeeding. But then she would have a crooked little smile (probably from gas) and that reminded me why being a mom was all worth it.
If you start feeling frustrated at the demands of your baby it is okay to set your baby down in a safe space an walk away for a second. My husband was a huge help! He would take her for 30 minutes to an hour after getting home from work so that I could have some time to myself. He still does that even how and I can’t even explain how wonderful it is to get a break for even a few minutes.
Hopefully, these tips have helped to inform you of what to expect when you get home with your newborn for the first few weeks. If you have any questions or want to share your advice for new mamas please comment below!