First Day Jitters: 12 Helpful TipsDianna Graveman |22, June 2012
The first few days home with your new baby will probably be busy ones -- with visits from family and friends and lots of support. But eventually, your spouse will return to work and your friends and other family members will go back to their own busy lives, and you and your new baby will have to go it alone. That first day or two alone with a newborn can be a little scary, especially if this is your first child.
Below are twelve helpful tips from seasoned moms who also once experienced "first-day jitters" with their own little newborns:
1. Set up your "nest" and make sure you have within reach plenty of water, snacks that you can eat with one hand, a TV remote or computer keyboard, and a cell phone. You probably won't be moving a lot!
2. Wear comfortable, loose pants that you can pull down with one hand without zippers or buttons. If the new baby falls asleep ON YOU, you can scoot the baby up over a shoulder if you need to use the bathroom, but it is important to be able to get yourself dressed/undressed with one hand if necessary.
3. For your own sanity, shower or bathe every day, even if you don't have time until 10 p.m. Once a day, you just need to do something by yourself, for yourself.
4. Relax! It is important not to psyche yourself out. Enjoy the special time with your baby. If you are tense, your baby will pick up the signs and may have more difficulty nursing.
5. Let yourself be lazy. Forget the housework! It will be there after you and your baby have had time to adjust.
6. Sleep! Try to nap when the baby naps. Keep the monitor close by with the volume high so that you can relax, knowing you'll hear your little one if she wakes. (Remember never to bring your baby to sleep in your bed with you, which can increase risk of suffocation for your baby.)
7. Make a date to get out by yourself while hubby takes care of the baby. Just knowing you have that date to look forward to will help you breathe easier.
8. Freeze some healthy meals before the baby arrives--you may not feel like cooking for awhile.
9. Set super low expectations for the first day. Example: drink enough water or watch a favorite television show. Pamper yourself AND your baby!
10. If you have a dog or cat, ask a friend or your spouse--while you are still in the hospital--to take a blanket home that has your baby's scent on it. Place it near your pet or even in its bed so that your dog or cat will recognize the baby's scent when you bring her home. Of course, it's important to remember to never leave a newborn alone with a pet, even a very gentle one.
11. Make sure you have phone numbers of the doctor and the hospital nursery at your fingertips in case you need them.
12. Know when to call the doctor--then do it. You may worry that you are over-reacting, but conditions can worsen quickly in a very young baby. Your doctor would probably rather you call with nothing serious than to take a chance and not call. Some things to watch for are a fever (rectal temperature of 100.4 or higher), dehydration (no tears, depressed soft spot on head, no wet diaper in six to eight hours), a soft spot that bulges when your baby is quiet, a baby who is difficult to wake, labored breathing or bluish lips, vomiting, bloody vomit or stool. Your doctor can provide more details about when and if you should call or when you should take your child to the hospital emergency room.
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