I personally found the first week with my newborn daughter completely magical. Being delighted in every single dirty diaper, cry, snuggle, and middle of the night wakeup. I felt so incredibly blessed that my baby was finally here and HEALTHY that I honestly felt I was on cloud nine for the first week, and if I’m being honest the first 3 MONTHS at least! For me, motherhood was the easiest transition that I had ever made. I felt that I had met my true calling when I became a mother.
I want to share with you 5 practical tips that helped make this transition easier for me so that you too can enjoy those magical early days with your fresh little newborn!
Practical Tip #1: Have help lined up!
Find help, be it friends, family, or short-term paid help! This seems like a no-brainer but I think it’s important enough for me to say anyway! You will have your hands full (literally) with a precious little baby that I guarantee you will not want to put down. Try your hardest to line up some friends and family members to help you with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and holding that sweet one so you can get a shower in. My husband and I have quite a lot of family in town (a perk of never leaving your hometown!). We had a few people bringing us meals here and there which was very sweet. My mother would also come over and fold laundry.
If you are not lucky enough to have a support system close by I highly suggest you get yourself ready by preparing freezer meals, signing up for a company like Blue Apron, or setting up grocery delivery. We use Instacart and LOVE IT! You are going to be tired and VERY hungry (especially if breastfeeding). The last thing you are going to want to do is meal plan, shop, and prep when you have a tiny little human you want to be snuggling or sleeping next to.
If you don’t have that support network you might also want to think about hiring a housecleaner for the short term. It will take such a load off your shoulders knowing there is someone coming to help you once a week. In hindsight, I really wish I had done that. It can be relatively cheap to have a housecleaner come for an hour or two. I wish I had budgeted for that before my daughter was born. It would have been so helpful and so completely wonderful! A total luxury, but if we had saved for it it would have been totally worth it!
Practical Tip #2: Making showering a priority!
I also feel like this should be a no-brainer but I have heard so many women say they didn’t have time to shower when their babies were really little. To be honest It makes me want to roll my eyes when I hear women saying they didn’t have time to shower when they had a newborn in the house. I don’t say this to be insensitive. I say it so that you will make it a priority to take time for self-care EVEN with a newborn.
Believe me, showering is a must when you are covered in breastmilk, spit-up, bleeding profusely from your lady parts and potentially suffering from night sweats and hot flashes! Do what you have to do so that you can squeeze in that 10-minute shower. How long can it possibly take? Oh yeah, maybe 10 minutes? There is time for that! I promise! Pass your baby off to your husband, neighbor, friend, or mother if your baby isn’t sleeping long enough for you to take a shower. Wash your hair, shave your legs, and enjoy the hot water. You will feel like a new human and will be able to rest so much better if you are clean and comfy! Bonus! The shower will also relax you and a relaxed mama = a more relaxed baby!
Practical Tip #3: Invest in a DockaTot or similar co-sleeper
I heard in one of my birth classes the phrase “a newborn baby’s natural habitat is on your chest skin to skin.” This is a glorious way to hold your baby, and you are most likely going to do a lot of resting with your little one resting on your chest. But you are also going to want to put them down for a little while. Having a co-sleeper so you can put them down next to you is a must! Being able to stretch out in bed with my daughter sleeping safely next to me was so reassuring. She was within arms reach at all times and I really enjoyed the closeness we had in the early days. I was able to eat, rest, and sleep with her right there safely beside me.
If you are cringing at the price of the DockATot you can always pick up a cheaper co-sleeper! Amazon has this one and this one. Just so you know, I did feel that despite the steep price tag the DockATot felt worthwhile because I used it ALL THE TIME! It was a true lifesaver. I recommend the DockATot to everyone I personally know!
Practical Tip #4 Have a nursing/changing station set up in your room!
If you are planning on co-sleeping during the early days as I suggested above. I highly suggest you get all your supplies together so that you can easily nurse and change your newborn all within steps of your bed. Remember that you should be staying in bed and recuperating for most of your first week after the baby is born. Make it easy on yourself and get a little station stocked with diapers, wipes, and everything you need for nursing. If you need some ideas on a nursing station, check out my post on setting up a breastfeeding station.
Practical Tip #5 Forget the world and focus on snuggling that little baby
I know this is easier said than done but believe me, time goes by so fast. Cozy up in bed with your fresh little newborn and enjoy the newborn smell, smile, and snuggles. You won’t regret a single moment you spent holding your little one, I promise.
I hope that I can share some tips with you to help make those early days and weeks a magical time for you too!