10 Tips on How to Survive Bringing Home Baby

We are several weeks postpartum with our second child. Birthing and bringing home a child is one of the most life-changing and intense events you can go through and the postpartum period can be really difficult. I’ve learned a lot after two babies on how to make this “fourth trimester” easier, making plenty of mistakes along the way. So here are my tips to surviving the postpartum period and bringing home a brand new baby:

  1. Prepare food ahead of time. Stock that freezer full of meals that only require heating, baked goods like muffins and bagels that make for easy snacks, and anything else you like to eat. Also, stock the pantry with plenty of easy to eat foods like granola bars, dried fruit and nuts, crackers, and treats like cookies and chips.
  2. Have supplies ready. The last few weeks of pregnancy, make sure you have supplies fully stocked. By supplies, I mean everything you would need for yourself and the baby. For the baby, this means diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets, as well as bottles, pumps, pacifiers and whatever else you plan on using. For yourself, this means plenty of heavy duty sanitary napkins, comfortable clothing that is easy to breastfeed in, and things to help with healing. Witch hazel pads are great to have for swelling or dreaded hemorrhoids. I love Earth Mama Angel Baby’s New Mama Bottom Spray. It’s also nice to soak some sanitary napkins in witch hazel and stick them in the freezer.
  3. Drink a ton of water. Get the largest water bottle you can find and guzzle down that water. Water will help to prevent bladder infections and UTIs that are common postpartum problem. It also helps to your body to heal in general, because staying hydrated is key to all normal bodily functions. And if you are breastfeeding, you are going to need all that extra water to produce milk!
  4. Limit visitors. This was one of the best things that we did this time around. Well-meaning visitors and family can be great, they are excited to meet the new baby and wish you a congratulations. But right after giving birth, there is just too much going on to play host to someone who just wants to hang out on the couch and hold the baby. Bleeding, swelling, leaking, and breastfeeding can make it uncomfortable to be around others and if visitors throw off the breastfeeding schedule, it can sabotage your supply and baby’s growth. More people around also means more chances of illness being brought into the home. And illness is just not fun while trying to recover and potentially dangerous to a new infant. Loved ones will understand that there will be plenty of time to meet the baby. It’s ok to say no! If they want to really help, suggest that they bring ready to eat meals, throw in a load of laundry, or do the dishes.
  5. Talk to people and ask for help. Now I know I just said to limit visitors, and I still mean that. But that doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself. In fact, with all the hormonal changes, this is the worst time for isolation. Check in with a few trusted family members or friends every day, whether it be in person, by phone, by text, or even by email. Share your feelings, your thoughts, your complaints, and your anxieties because not only will it make postpartum depression easier to monitor if it pops up, it will make you feel so much better. All of the crazy thoughts that happen after a baby are completely normal and happen to everyone that has brought home a baby. You can only benefit from opening up, so keep talking to people!
  6. Let the little things go. Especially after having a baby, it’s totally fine for your house to be a disaster. Let the dishes stack up in the sink, forget about folding laundry, and don’t fret about applying makeup. Now is the time to be easy going about all of those little things because you want your time to be spent resting or snuggling that new baby. Leave the housework to people asking how they can help or for after you’ve recovered.
  7. Have entertainment ready. There will be many hours spent in one spot feeding, holding, and changing the baby. Be ready with things to occupy your mind and time to keep you from going crazy.  Although books and magazines are great, hands free entertainment is best. Go for audio books, movies, and TV shows. Now is definitely the time for binge-watching your favorite shows with absolutely zero guilt.
  8. Arm yourself with knowledge. Especially after my first was born, my google search history was seriously long. There will be a ton of questions on what is normal and not when it comes to your healing body and your new baby. Questions will come up such as when breastmilk comes in, what aches and pains are normal, how to care for an umbilical cord stump, and even what baby poop should look like. Read and research ahead of time, if you can, so that you know the basics on what to expect and what to be on the lookout for.
  9. Take care of yourself. There will be days when you suddenly can’t recall the last time you brushed your hair and teeth or how many days in a row you’ve been wearing the same pants. That is completely normal and totally fine. But don’t forget to give yourself time and permission to take a shower, change your clothes, or eat a sugary treat. Give yourself some love and kindness. The postpartum period is tough and you are going to need all the love you can get. Ask your partner to hold the baby while you shower or at the very least, do a little online shopping for yourself.
  10. REST. Not resting was the biggest mistake I made with my first child. After a few days of rest, I tried to go back to my normal activities around the house. But even that was too much, too soon. Birth, whether it be vaginal or a c-section, is a huge trauma to your body. Organs need to go back into place, your uterus needs to contract and heal, and wherever baby made their entrance from needs time to heal as well. Add a cocktail of postpartum hormonal changes, and your body is a hot mess. Take as much time as you can to be in bed, resting. Even better if you can get someone to stay home and help, like your partner, a parent, or a postpartum doula. This is why having meals and snacks prepared ahead of time is so important. You want to focus your energy on resting and bonding with the baby. And finally, while it will be so annoying to hear over and over, sleep when you can. Even if it’s an hour power nap at noon.

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