It has officially been 1 full week since we brought home our first baby from the hospital! It has been an incredible week filled with both highs and lows, and I wouldn’t change a second of it. Our first week has truly been a week of learning and adjustment. But overall, I feel like it has gone smoothly, without too many bumps in the road! Today, I want to share what I’ve learned and my advice to any first-time expectant moms on their journey to motherhood in the hopes that it may make your first weeks a little bit easier!!
#1 Ask Questions!
While you are in the hospital, take advantage of the knowledge and experience that you are surrounded by. (After all, a few short days after giving birth you are sent home and expected to do this all on your own without the constant 24-hour help and advice of your doctors and nurses.) I am very thankful that I did this and have felt much more confident as a new mom back at home because of it. I asked every single, silly, little question that came to my mind before I left the hospital. There was a wealth of knowledge at my finger tips: from educational videos available for me to watch from the comfort of my bed, to nursery nurses who were willing to teach me one-on-one how to do anything from cleaning my baby’s umbilical cord to how to bathe him, and of course the patient & knowledgeable nurses who answered my one million questions about how to care for both myself and my newborn when we returned home. And to go along with this, remember to take a notebook to write down all of the answers to your questions. You may think that you’ll remember everything, but trust me, those first few days postpartum are a blur and you will be glad that you wrote everything down once you return home!
#2 Prepare Ahead of Time!
You will be glad that you did! I put quite a bit of thought and effort into preparing ahead of time to ensure that our return home and first few weeks postpartum would go smoothly. Here are a few things that I did ahead of time that I was so glad that I did:
Meal Preparation: If you know me at all, you know I can’t go without talking about meal planning! The month prior to my due date, (with the help of my mom) I prepared a bunch of freezer meals so that dinner time would go smoothly in the first several weeks! I am so glad that I did this! It has made dinner time a breeze and both my husband and myself have really been enjoying having a hot, homemade meal for dinner every night!
Keep the House Clean: In the weeks leading up to your due date, try to keep the house clean and in order because you never know when the moment will come for your little bundle of joy to enter the world! Your last few weeks of pregnancy, you will definitely be tired and exhausted, so don’t overdo it. Pace yourself and just do a few things a day. I don’t know about you, but if I have tasks undone, it stresses me out! It is much less stressful to know that you don’t have anything hanging over your head and everything at home is in good order for you to return home to.
Relax and Rest: Make sure that in your flurry of nesting in your final days of pregnancy that you don’t forget to take time to prop up your feet and rest! After all, these may be your last days to get a long afternoon nap, watch an uninterrupted movie or get a full nights sleep! Take advantage and rest your body for the marathon of labor, delivery and newborn care that is right around the corner!!
#3 Have Confidence in Yourself!
You can do this mama! Yes, there is a lot to know and so many worries and questions running through your mind, but you can do this!! You are strong and capable and before you know it, you will be a pro! You were made to do this and so much of it will come as instinct to you! But when you have a moment of doubt, call your mom, a mom-friend or your pediatrician to answer those nagging questions!
#4 Accept Help When Offered!
When friends and family offer you a helping hand, by all means, accept their help! Whether it is picking up a few groceries for you or running the vacuum while they are over for a visit, take advantage of your loved one’s generosity. You will be focusing on caring for your baby and your own recovery, so this is one time in your life when it will be impossible to keep up with your normal tasks and errands. Accept other’s help, you’ll be glad you did!
And one final thought, make sure you take time to enjoy every single second! I speak from experience! This first week has flown by entirely too fast! Treasure & cherish every single second of this experience because you will never get it back. Just consciously pause often and remind yourself what is going on! In the moments of a contraction ripping through your body, you don’t think you will ever be sad that this moment has passed. But, you will be. These moments pass too quickly, so be sure to pause and enjoy! From the first contraction, to the first cries of your little one, to your first night at home: pause, soak up the joy & excitement of each moment, and remember to cherish each and every second with your little one. Because time is so fleeting and before you know it, you will be longing to relive those times!
These are just a few things that I could think of and I’m barely scratching the surface. I’m sure that there are many more pieces of advice that I could give. I am definitely not a professional in this subject but just wanted to share my thoughts after experiencing my first week as a mom! It has been exciting, rewarding and so very fulfilling! I am excited about this journey of motherhood that I have begun and look forward to the many special moments that lie ahead of me!
What are your memories from your first week with your first child? What lessons did you learn? What surprised you most? Share your thoughts and comments below in the comments, I love to hear from my readers!