Tips to balance the newborn Fantasy with your new Reality
by Donna Ford & AJ Jonesco, Directors of Client Services
CAPPA Postpartum Doulas & Newborn Care Specialists
You have waited a lifetime for this moment – or at least 9 months. Today is the day you bring your brand new baby home for the first time. Elated? Terrified? Uncertain? Confused? Sore? Yes, you may experience an entire range of emotions as you tackle one of your most rewarding challenges in your life - your newborn!
No doubt that you have plans and expectations for how this time is going to go. We want to help by giving you some quick tips to alleviate some of your uncertainty and give you confidence with your bundle of joy.
- Let it go! It's wonderful to prepare for baby’s homecoming and have a strategy for your first few weeks with your baby. But give yourself permission to let go and take things one day at a time. Or one feeding at a time. Or one minute at a time. Even if your list of things to do didn't get touched, let it go and focus on giving love and care to your newborn.
- Flexibility is key! It is very likely that your sense of timing will feel accelerated. Time and the postpartum period are an interesting dynamic. Days and nights merge and it takes some time to establish a new balance and routine that works for your family. And that’s okay! Take a deep breath and give yourself and your family the time you need to understand and care for your baby. Try not to strive for unrealistic goals or have expectations that are not flexible based on how you feel in the moment. Remember that these little ones are really quite simple; they are all about bonding, feeding and sleeping.
- Track your baby's patterns. Whether in a small notebook, your phone, or on a pad of paper, jot down your baby's feeding times, diaper changes, sleep patterns and anything you notice each day. This will help you be prepared for your first pediatrician visit, and you can bring your notebook with you to show your doctor. You'll be prepared and confident to discuss those first few weeks.
- Ask for support. As you return home, remember that you are recovering physically and emotionally with the added flux of hormones throughout your body. Recognize this and give yourself permission to let others support you. Communicate with your partner, your family, and friends, and accept help. Consider having in-home support or overnight help. A trusted family member or a postpartum doula can help make a plan to allow for your rest and fulfill your baby’s eating and sleeping needs. In fact, research shows parents who receive support can…
· Feel more secure and cared for
· Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
· Have more fulfilling breastfeeding experiences
· Have greater self-confidence
· Have less postpartum depression
· Have lower incidence of abuse
By taking good care of yourself, you will better be able to manage your baby. It will take time to understand your newborn’s signals and patterns but be patient this will come as you get to know him or her a little better. Remember, your baby is still growing at a rapid pace in those first few weeks. A newborn’s stomach size is the size of a marble. By a month, your baby’s digestive system will mature and feedings may spread out a bit. There is a lot of change in a short period of time, so expect that and listen to your baby’s cues as they learn to communicate their needs to you. Every baby is different – and you will get to know yours in no time! Relax, be easy on yourself, and accept support, and know that this period is fleeting. Enjoy the journey – make it yours and every single day with your new baby. J