Most parents have a plan for their time in the hospital for the birth of their baby. Many of us make lists, pack our hospital bags in advance, and arrange things to take care of at home while we are in the hospital. During childbirth and the birth of the baby, the time in the hospital is blurred for many new parents. The hours go by and you often don’t even know what time it is or when you last ate. Pain from birth and hours without sleep cloud your mind and suddenly you are discharged to go home! Many new parents have the same feeling at this point: are you sending us home with this baby? What should we do now?
Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, the first night at home with your baby is both exciting and captivating! Below we have highlighted some things you can expect during your first night at home with your newborn.
The mother’s recovery after birth
The feeling of pain and exhaustion is expected from all mothers. Whether you have had a vaginal or cesarean section, your body probably feels as if you have just run a marathon, as most of your muscles will ache from hours of birth, pushing, surgery and / or medical procedures. Be sure to take your painkillers as directed by your care provider. You probably haven’t slept much either before or during your hospital stay. In addition, you may feel the emotional effects of all of these things mixed with postpartum hormones, so you may be tearful and moody. And while you’re probably under pressure to stay awake and with your baby, it’s crucial to try to sleep as soon as you get home from the hospital.
Try to arrange to have a trusted family member or friend when you arrive home so that hot food awaits you. If you are breastfeeding, try to feed your baby soon after you get home. As soon as the baby is fed, allow your partner or other support person to pick up the baby so you can go to your bedroom and take a nap. Allow yourself to sleep as long as you can while your baby is with your support person. The key is to try to sleep long enough to allow your brain to complete a sleep cycle that is 90-120 minutes for adults. This important nap will help you make up for lost sleep and also serves to support your body as it heals from birth. For the first few days at home, continue to do these basic naps as part of your daily routine while your baby sleeps.
Although you will not yet have a routine for you and your baby, the main things you will focus on the first night with your baby are feeding, soothing, sleeping and caring for the newborn. Be sure to change your baby’s diaper before each feeding. You will also want to notice if your baby’s diapers are wet or have feces in them. Most hospitals will make you keep track of wet and dirty diapers, and we suggest you continue to do so during the first few days at home. This is not only something that should be mentioned to the baby’s doctor at their first follow-up examination, but it is also a clue for you. Newborns should have at least one wet diaper diaper a day.
Therefore, when you get home, you need to be aware of how many wet and dry diapers you are changing, as well as what the contents of the diaper look like. The newborn’s stools pass in the first days after birth, and 3-4 days after birth your baby’s stools should be greenish-brown in color. Frequent wet diapers and stools tell us that your baby is getting enough food, so remember that lots of dirty diapers are a good thing!
You will notice that your baby is very sleepy during the day, but more awake at night. Eating can be a challenge in the early days for many reasons. If you are breastfeeding, you may find it difficult to learn how to twist and position your baby during feedings. You can also deal with inflamed nipples or chest pain from swelling. If you bottle-feed, your baby may have gas or spit. And almost all newborns become very sleepy during feedings, so it can feel like a constant struggle to wake the baby and keep them awake to feed well.
If your baby just won’t stay awake during a feeding session, you’ll need to try to keep him awake. Try tickling your baby’s legs, undressing him or going to a bright room. Anything you can do to keep them awake will benefit both you and your baby. They will be able to last longer between breastfeeding sessions and this will help your milk to enter faster if you are breastfeeding.
After a feeding session and when you and your baby are very sleepy, you will want to make sure that you are not holding the baby during sleep. Allowing your baby to sleep on your hands while you are awake is fine, but if you feel that your eyes are heavy, it is important to put your baby in the crib or crib. For safe sleep in the bed with the baby there should be no extra blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or sleeping positioners.
Have realistic expectations
The first night at home with your baby is often spent awake, holding, soothing and eating. Your baby has been held in you throughout your pregnancy and newborns expect nothing less right after birth! You and your partner will probably need to take turns holding your baby for comfort on the first night at home. Newborns also tend to want to eat often at night, which is called cluster feeding. That’s why we encourage these basic nap during the day for new parents, because we expect the night to be a challenge. Newborns usually finally fall asleep better in the second half of the night, and new parents can usually expect to get 2-3 hours of continuous sleep after 3 o’clock in the morning.
In essence, the first night at home with your newborn can be more stressful than you hope, due to the fact that both you and your young child have to make many adjustments together. It is perfectly normal and newborns are expected to be picky and cry more when we try to leave them. It will take time for your baby to learn how to sleep on his back and he will need you there to calm and support him during this process. There is no such thing as spoiling a newborn, so we encourage you to spend a lot of time holding your baby, and when possible, continue to practice skin to skin often. This practice serves as a perfect way to support your baby’s transition from womb to the world!
Although your first night at home with your baby may not live up to your expectations, it is important to realize that preparation is key. Arranging support for the first days at home can do something different for new parents. This is a time in your life when you need extra TLC, so let your family and friends pamper you with the love and attention that all new parents deserve!