How to Have a Happy HomecomingApr 26, 2016
Sarah Crawford, Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse
After nine months of pregnancy and likely hours of labor, the moment is here: bringing baby home. Your baby is dressed in their beautiful coming home outfit; the car seat, is waiting; all that’s left is a discharge form from your nurse and your quiet peaceful ride home. Or is it?
Unfortunately, no matter how much time you spent with nurses, lactation consultants, or mommy books, nothing can quite prepare you for the first unnerving week of parenting on your own. While babies don’t come with manuals, we think our quick checklist will help:
Assemble Your Tribe: While it’s tempting to think that you’ll want to spend the first few weeks soaking up alone time with your newborn, immediately forget that idea. Instead, regard your precious newborn as a Category 4 hurricane. Prepare accordingly by graciously accepting help from your mother, father, mother-in-law, father-in-law, doula, sibling, or other applicable helper (although not all at once). Trust us on this—there’s nothing that compares to the first week of learning to be a mother.
Also remember that asking for help should not make you feel like less of a mother. Consider this: it wasn’t so long ago that civilization for the most part lived in tribes where babies were raised by multiple women. So, assemble your tribe, add your doctor and the lactation hotline (if you’re nursing) to speed dial, and remember: motherhood is not an inherent knowledge, it is learned.
Forgive and Forget: Despite the number of parenting classes you took pre-baby, it becomes an entirely different feat when there’s a small human writhing in front of you, likely to pee or even better, puke on you any moment. There are two key aspects in handling motherhood, especially during the first few weeks: forgive yourself, and forget the guilt.
Fortunately for you, your little bundle of joy has no other mother to compare you to—you’re the best he or she has ever had! With that in mind, forgive yourself for putting their diaper on backwards, forgetting the baby wipes, or not changing out of your pajamas all day. Instead, laugh it off: it will come with time, we promise!
Everything Will Change: Don’t get too comfortable, mom—everything is going to be constantly changing now. From the first time you and baby are completely alone together to the first time they’re walking, you’ll constantly be adjusting to new routines. In the midst of all that happy chaos, it’s important to establish something close to a schedule and let everything else work around it. Your sanity will thank you!
While a happy homecoming can sound a little stressful, it’s important to try and keep your expectations in check. Both you and baby are going to be new at this! If something doesn’t work well for you and baby, don’t be afraid to try something else until you find what works for you.
If you have more questions about how to better prepare for the coming-home party, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you!