...about bringing a newborn home....
- You will be sleeping a LOT less - yes, they tell you this, but let me explain: I thought I was training myself getting 4 hours of sleep a night. I would give my right kidney to get 4 hours of sleep a night. 1-2 hours is about par. They say you should feed your baby every 2-3 hours (but no more than 3 hours without feeding), so the nightly process becomes:
1. Take baby to get changed (15-30 min since we are new to this)
2. Feed 15 minutes per breast (30 min)
3. Weight loss? Supplement with bottle feeding (15-20 min)
4. Supplemental pumping (10 minutes)
5. Put baby back to sleep (eternity)
So that's about an hour and a half (we are slowly optimizing this) which means we have another hour and a half max before the next feeding. So, by the time I fall back asleep, I have to get back up in 30 min.
- The terror of SIDS is real. The first time your baby spits up (hopefully, it's at the hospital for you but for us it was at home at 2 AM), you then become terrified that it will happen while he/she is in the crib so every noise / movement wakes you up to look at the baby monitor (if you can even fall asleep in the first place).
- Have someone (family, parents, anyone) help you the first couple of weeks at home if possible. The sheer amount of laundry and cleaning you will be doing every. single. day. is insane. This is especially true if your partner had a c-section as they will not be able to get up without help for the first week or two.
- Make your follow up appointments in the afternoon as much as you can. We had a morning appointment (9:30 AM) with the pediatrician and getting out there was a hazard to everyone involved.
- If you are breast feeding, booby cooling packs, nipple shields, and nipple comfort pads are worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox.
- White noise machines are your friends...
- ...so are sleep masks
- If you have a partner, have them play crowd control. As much as you can, have your first night home be only the people that will be sleeping there (i.e. no visitors). you're going to be trying to get everything together and get your bearings, and having to entertain people coming over is just adding to unnecessary stress and is easily avoidable.
- Take all of the time off you can. I'm blessed through my employer with 3 months of secondary care giver leave. I'm taking all of it. From what I hear, it takes about 6 weeks for babies to start sleeping through the night and if the baby isn't sleeping, neither are you.
- Help your partner with every component of baby care (feeding, changing, holding, soothing, everything). Teaming up helps everyone and relieves stress. You guys are going to be a team, a single unit, for the rest of your kid's life. It also helps shave precious minutes off of #1 above.
- Your nursery is organized wrong. Trust me, it is. (Ours looked like a pinterest post of a heavenly spa / Relais & Châteaux). At 3 AM you absolutely do not care and want everything within arms reach and organized by order of use.
- Get all your newborn baby clothes with buttons or snaps and burn them (or exchange them) and get ones with magnets. Buttons are my eternal enemy now. My nemesis. My archrival. My thesaurus doesn't have enough options.
- Don't listen to any advice that anyone else gives you (including this list). You will figure it out and want to do things your way. Your instincts are going to be your best guide and you will do great! (this last one is mostly self-serving).