The first days after your baby is born are some of the most precious you will ever experience, they go by so quickly and everyone wants to celebrate.
Whilst it is a time where you will be wanting to show off your new addition to your family, it is also a really important time in your baby’s life and in your adjustment to mothering. Regardless of whether it is your first bub or another one to add into the family, you will be tired from the physical demands of birth and possibly recovering from small or large physical elements such as a caesarean section or having some form of drugs or pain relief.
In the first-day baby will often have a few little feeds, followed by a large sleep. Many new mothers can find the surge of adrenalin that occurs very late in labour to help birth makes it hard for mum to settle into a sound sleep. It is important to really try to sleep or rest in that period because after this first long sleep baby can often want to feed, and feed, and feed.
For several days feeding and bonding with your baby needs to be your priority, along with rest, sleep and looking after yourself. Thankfully, long hospital stays with the poor opportunity to sleep are a thing of the past for the majority of women. For those who end up with a longer than planned stay, it is important to give clear instructions to friends and family (and the staff) as to when you would like visitors and when you would like to rest. At home, put a sign on the door and limit the times that you are available for visitors. Facebook has some very funny options for signs for tongue in cheek reminders. It is also useful to have a “visitors help sheet” which could list small things that visitors can do whilst they are around which might just help in your day. In the early days having someone to hang washing, take the dog for a walk, empty the rubbish or make a cup of tea for you can be an absolute blessing.
Once you hit a week or more, whilst you may be physically fully recovered from the birth, tiredness from disrupted sleep is likely to be at its maximum. A long afternoon nap is a must. Try to organise a helper at least every second day to take the baby (and a toddler if need be) for a little walk or to the park, take the phone off the hook, disconnect the doorbell and put on a mask and earplugs. Any visitors who have been leaving you to adjust are likely to start wanting to visit by the end of the first week. Organise a “bring a plate” lunch on a Saturday or Sunday and allow visitors to come in a certain time (say 10-12). Ensure that you have an opportunity to have a rest afterwards and don’t let the baby be handed around and around during this time.
Everyone wants to enjoy you and your new baby, and there will be plenty of time to celebrate the wonder of your new little one. Just pace yourself and pace your visitors.
Published in the Toowoomba Style Magazine