The arrival of a long-awaited newborn is such a wonderful time for expectant parents. You’ve waited nine long months (although let’s be serious, it’s really ten) and made it through the ultimate test of grit and endurance: labor and delivery. You’re riding high and soaking in the whirlwind of skin-to-skin baby snuggles, vital statistics, phone calls, and FaceTimes to family and friends. The first hours of your baby’s life are unlike anything else, and time flies by. Before you know it, you are already on day two of life with your sweet little mini-me.
That’s when things really start to get interesting. Your baby is “waking up” from their busy day of birth from the day before. The adrenaline that carried you through labor and delivery is starting to level out. As you begin to settle back on Earth, the physical and emotional stress of what you just went through can arrive with a vengeance.
Surviving the First Days With Your New Baby
You and your baby are getting to know one another. This is something that can take time and patience. Now that your baby is out of the cocoon of your womb and in your arms, they can be shocked by the drastic change to their living quarters. As a result, they may be fussy and demand to be held at all times (which I’m sure you’re happy to do!). However, this can get difficult when you are running on empty and need sleep and a hot shower in the worst way.
The baby may start cluster feeding and learning to adjust to life outside of its mama. This can be a tricky transition. As difficult as it is, remember that just as you are adjusting, so is your baby. This learning curve is one you and your baby are navigating together. But there are tips and tricks so that you aren’t only surviving with your newborn; you are thriving.
1. Ask lots of questions.
One way to survive the first days with your newborn is to lean heavily on your nurses, doulas, doctors, and midwives. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise and utilize the tips and tricks they offer. Having a support system set up and in place is so helpful. They are instrumental in getting you through those difficult moments of the first few days of your baby’s life.
You’ve heard this before, but remember that there is no question they haven’t heard, and nothing is too personal. They can help normalize all you are feeling and assist you as you handle the transition from labor and delivery to postpartum. Your caretakers have a wealth of knowledge from years of experience. Having that at your disposal is invaluable. Soak it up while you can!
2. Sneak that shower.
Getting that first postpartum shower under your belt is unlike any other shower in your life. Ask your caretakers or your partner for help getting into the bathroom and enjoy feeling the warm water washing over your body. The feeling of euphoria after that first post-birth shower is unlike anything in the world. It can do wonders for your energy level and mental health.
After your shower, pull on those cozy pajamas or your fluffiest robe and snuggle your little cutie. Feeling clean and refreshed will make all the difference in the world as you balance battling your exhaustion with making sure your newborn feels satisfied, warm, and comforted.
3. Eat healthy meals.
You’ve definitely worked up an appetite after giving birth! Enjoy your postpartum meal of choice, guilt-free! However, as you begin settling into your new normal, consider making sure the majority of your meals and snacks are healthy. Eating food that will provide stamina and energy is essential as you take on this newest challenge.
Plan out with your partner to make sure there are healthy snacks around the house. Perhaps consider meal prepping for the week to make your life easier and minimize having to plan ahead too much. You’ll thank yourself for it later, I promise!
4. Rely on your partner.
Having a supportive partner is so important to help you survive the first days with your new baby. Regardless of who your support person is, lean on each other and take shifts to get some much-needed rest between cluster feeds. Your body is still recovering from the ordeal it went through the day before, and jumping right into mom mode is a Herculean task. Having a partner who is there for you emotionally, physically, and mentally is so important. It can make all the difference in the world as you tackle this beautiful yet overwhelming time.
Give yourself patience and grace as you settle into this new normal with your family. As the adrenaline stabilizes, remind yourself that the ups and downs are to be expected and that this, too, shall pass. It can be challenging to keep that in mind in moments of exhaustion, but tapping into your support network and having the perspective that this is a fleeting moment in time will help you through.
The first hours and days after your baby’s birth are such a special time. During the difficult moments, remind yourself of the most beautiful miracle that has just emerged. Enjoy it all, buckle up, and remember that if you can survive the first days with your new baby, you can make it through anything.