Tips from an LC: Bringing Baby Home from the Hospital

The first few nights at home with your newborn are often the biggest transition for new parents! Though it can be exhausting, here's some tips that may help ease these major changes as you and your baby bond and learn to feed together.

Top 9 Tips When You Get Home from the Hospital

Transcript: What to Expect When Bringing Baby Home from the Hospital

The first night at home is often the trickiest. This is normal for nearly everybody with a new baby, so please don’t worry. Most babies tend to really “wake up” on their 2nd to 3rd night. This means that your baby will probably want to feed all night long, this is normal…But can be exhausting!

So, how do you cope with this?

One way to think about it is that for the next few nights you're about to “work” a night shift…or two…or three…or maybe more. If you were about to go and work a real night shift, you’d want to get some sleep in the daytime beforehand! This applies here as well. There is no easy trick to stop babies from wanting to feed frequently overnight, so the way to cope is to try and get as much sleep as you can - when you can - during the day, as well as in between feeds at night of course.

This is one of the most important things for all new moms to make a priority. Yes, you will probably hear this said all the time and there’s a reason for that, because these first few days are both beautiful and exciting but also at times exhausting and emotional. Having a baby is likely to be the most incredibly wonderful time of your life, but for some it can also be understandably challenging - especially in the first few days. Moms are naturally tired after birth, and then add to that learning how to get the hang of breastfeeding, learning how to understand your baby’s feeding cues, learning what every cry really means, and learning how to know when your baby has had enough milk! This takes time for every new parent! So, having enough sleep can make everything feel that bit easier to cope with.

Top 9 Tips to Help in the First Few Days After Giving Birth:

1. Limit your visitors. Keeping some time for yourself allows you to settle into your new role as a mom and family.

2. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others.

3. Ideally have some yummy healthy food stocked up in the freezer before you go into labor, so you don’t have to cook in those first few days at home.

4. ...And definitely don't even think about doing any cleaning yet!

5. Feel confident knowing that your baby is getting well-fed. If it’s helpful, keep a note of how many times your baby has fed, how many wet nappies and how many dirty nappies, and the color of the poos - A printable feeding and pumping log can be especially helpful for recording this information in a real-time, easy to read format! We also have another video which talks about how to know your baby is getting enough breast milk.

6. Remember, it is normal that your baby probably wants to be near you or held by you almost all the time. Your baby has spent the last nine months in constant contact with you, knowing every movement, every sound, and every heartbeat. Therefore it is absolutely normal for us, as tiny humans, to want to be held and made to feel secure as we venture out into this new world. As your baby grows older over the next few days, weeks and months, it will become easier to settle your baby.

7. Holding your baby in skin to skin contact is one of the most helpful things you can do. Skin to skin contact helps to calm both mom and baby, it helps babies to cry less, it helps babies to seek out the breast and feed, and it helps your milk to flow…plus, it feels absolutely lovely. Just because you’re at home now instead of in the hospital doesn’t mean that skin to skin contact is not still important - It most certainly is!

8. ...And remember, it’s okay to have a good old cry and a great big hug from those you love around you. This is hormonally an emotional time full of highs and some lows. As your hormones change over the next few days, you might feel quite sad at times and then really quite elated and joyful others. Remember to talk to those people around you as this really helps. And, if you feel that you are not coping in any way, it is important to reach out to your healthcare professional. Never feel worried about being honest about your feelings. Remember, your healthcare professional has probably seen and heard this from thousands of new moms and completely understands.

9. Talk to your partner about how they can help too. Sometimes it can be really difficult for a partner, as they feel like a bystander when they can’t feed the baby. But, your partner can help you and your baby in so many other ways; settling your baby, holding your baby in skin to skin contact, bathing your baby…and yes, the other not-so-great jobs like changing diapers! The little things around the house, like keeping you well-fed and the occasional tidy-up can be worth its weight in gold in these first few days. A partner’s job is to look after the mom, so she can just concentrate on learning to breastfeed with her baby.

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