Bringing you tiny newborn home from the hospital for the first time can be scary. This is such an exciting time! I remember putting our sweet little baby in her car seat and thinking “I can’t believe they’re letting us take this little person home!”
That night, it hits you that you’re a mom! And, you may wonder if you’re going to be any good at being a mom. Or, how are you going to know what your baby needs? I remember thinking these thoughts as I was putting our baby to bed in our home for the first time.
Being responsible or another human being is a huge job! And it’s the most important job as a new mom that you can have. The first few weeks can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure what to expect. This is why I have put together a little guide on what to expect after your baby comes.
Life at home with your baby
Don’t expect to do much to entertain your baby. Newborns and for the first few weeks, babies sleep A LOT—about 16-20 hours a day. They also eat very frequently and you can expect to change dirty diapers non-stop.
Even though newborns sleep quite a bit, they’re also awake a lot as well and, unfortunately, that’s usually when you want to go to bed. Newborns had no schedule to let them know night vs. day when they were in the womb. Newborns also don’t function as well as we do—they have very small tummies and bladder, so they refill and empty a lot.
When my daughter was a newborn, she ate every two hours, day and night. So don’t expect to get much sleep for the first few weeks or possibly even months. That is why it’s important to try to nap when your baby naps. You may feel the need to clean the house, put the dishes away, or fold the laundry, but don’t Get as much sleep a you can.
Sleeping really helps your body recover. Your body goes through a lot when you give birth and not to mention the lack of sleep during your third trimester. Try to get as much sleep when you can, whenever you can during this time.
Your baby will naturally have cues and signs to show you that they need something. For example, my daughter used to suck on the knuckle of a finger when was hungry. So, when I heard her little sucking noises, I knew that she was telling me she was hungry. Give yourself some time to decode your baby’s signs and cues, in the beginning, you may try feeding your baby, changing their diaper, or burping, to see which one your baby needs.
You will have quite a few visits to the doctor. The wellness check-ups are usually at 3-5 days old after birth, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 months. Plus, your doctor will want to make sure that you’re healing well, so you may have 1 or 2 visits yourself.
The wellness checks are for your baby only. If your baby gets sick or something abnormal is going on, you may have a few more doctors visits. If you’re feeling like you are practically living at the doctor’s office for the first few weeks, that’s normal.
You may had only a few people visit you at the hospital. So, when you get home, expect more. You may have family, friend, neighbor and co-workers who want to come to meet your new bundle of joy and get a few snuggles in.
Your baby won’t care much. He will mostly sleep while people are there to visit you. Don’t expect much from your little one; you don’t want to end up with a cranky baby. And, it’s absolutely fine to not want people to visit. You can politely say that you and the baby aren’t feeling up to having people over and that you would like to get some rest.
You won’t hurt any feelings. People understand how tired moms are with newborns. Set boundaries and let people know when they can come to visit you and your bundle of joy.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet. Make sure to remind visitors to wash their hands before holding your baby, and if they have been sick or around sick people, you may want to tell them to wait a few days before visiting. Because the last thing you want is for your baby to catch something.
Having a baby takes a big toll on your body. So, if you feel exhausted, emotional, and you’re in a little bid of pain, that is all normal. During your time of recovery, watch for signs of postpartum depression and baby blues. It’s normal to feel emotional and sad due to your hormones, but talk to your doctor if these feelings continue after a week or two.
Once you and your baby get home from the hospital, that is a good time to bring out your postpartum recovery kit. If you haven’t put one together yet, check out this post for 15 Postpartum Essentials for a Smoother Recovery.
The hospital will send you home with items that you can use to help you with your recovery such a a peri bottle, witch hazel pads, and big pads, since you’ll bleed for a few days, or possible even for a week or so. They may prescribe you some ibuprofen if you are still in pain.
One of the best pieces of advice that I got was “take care of yourself, when you take care of yourself, you take care of your baby.” I know that it can be hard to take care of yourself when you have a newborn. Let people help you so you don’t have to do everything yourself. I remember when my mom or my husband took our baby off my hands so that could shower, eat a good meal and get some rest. I felt so much better when I took the time to take care of myself. Especially, in the first few weeks, make sure you take care of your needs too!
Every baby is different and every mom is different. There is no exact schedule that every mom follows. You schedule will probably be different than my schedule. And, you may need to make some changes as your baby grows. Keep an open mind when setting a schedule and know that you may have to adjust it along the way.
For me, my daughter actually set her own schedule. I didn’t do too much since she was already following a schedule from day one. Sure, I would have liked her to bed at 8 pm when she was a newborn, but she would go to bed at midnight, and then a few weeks later it was 11, 10, 9, and then 8. Which she still goes to bed at.
When you’re setting a schedule, keep an eye out for cues that your baby may be telling you that they are tired or hungry. If your baby isn’t tired, you can’t make them go to bed. Or, if they’re not hungry, you cant make them eat. As your baby gets older, there will be longer stretches between feedings and they’ll take longer naps, so really pay attention to your baby’ cues.
My daughter would take 3 naps a day, one about an hour after she woke up, one around lunch time and again around 4-5 pm. They would vary in length, sometimes she slept for two hours and sometimes she would take a 30 minute nap.
Sometimes, moms will try to keep their baby awake thinking that will help them to sleep longer. But they just end up with an overtired and cranky baby. Keeping them up can actually cause them to not sleep very well. Again, watch and listen your baby’s cues. That is the best way that you’re going to be able to put a schedule together.
Night Time Routine
My daughter would swallow air a lot when I nursed her. She would only be able to nurse for about 30-60 seconds before I would have to take her off and burp her. If I didn’t, she would throw up all of the food that she just ate. so it took me an hour to nurse her and get her to bed.
Starting around 6:30 pm, I would give her a bath if it was bath day. Newborns don’t need a lot of bath and it isn’t good for their skin. so my daughter would get a bath one a week until she got older.
Then, I would read her a book. I nursed her and put her to bed at 8 She would wake up around 2 and 4 to eat again and then slept until 8 am. Again, my schedule will most likely be different than yours, but this is an example of what a day to day routine with a newborn is like.
Take Time to Enjoy Your Newborn
Newborns don’t stay tiny forever. Even though the newborn stage can be exhausting, make sure to enjoy these sweet moments. There have been times where I cried while holding my newborn because I was exhausted and my breasts hurt from breastfeeding. But, then she would look up at me with a crooked little smile (probably from gas) and that reminded me why being a mom was all worth it.
If you start to feel frustrated at the demands of your baby, it’s okay to set your baby down in a safe space and walk away for a second. My husband was a huge help! He would take her for 30 minutes to an hour when he got home from work so that I could have some time to myself. He still does that even now and I can’t explain how wonderful it is to gt a break for even a few minutes.
I hope these tips have helped to inform you of what to expect with your newborn for the first few weeks. If you have any questions or want to share your advice for new moms, please comment below!
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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