Life at home with your new baby
How can this little creature who barely moves take up so much time and space?
3 min read
Coming home from the hospital with a newborn baby might feel pretty strange. All of a sudden, there’s a new little person in your home and he/she requires your constant attention, despite sleeping most of the time. It might take some time before you get into functioning routines. When are you supposed to breastfeed, change nappies or sleep yourself? And how do you have time to cook? A great tip is to order takeout or ready-made meals for the first period if you haven’t already stocked the freezer. If your relatives want to come and visit, tell them to bring food, or cook when they are there – incredibly valuable!
There are plenty of books, magazines, articles, blogs and other information about the initial period with a newborn baby, and about children’s development. It can be a good idea to read up, as many feel that “knowledge” provides security and it’s fun and inspiring to learn about the baby and explore parenthood. But remember that all children are different: just because it says so in a book doesn’t mean it’s correct for you. Be patient and give yourself time to get used to all the new stuff. Find ways that work for your family. If you are breastfeeding and have a partner, make sure you agree that they do the domestic chores in the beginning – breastfeeding can take up to ten hours a day in the beginning. If you are alone with the baby, ask for help where you can get it – from friends or relatives. You will need relief to rest and recover so that you can cope with sleepless nights and feed on irregular hours.
Very often, people will want to visit you when you come home with the baby. Your mother-in-law has waited a decade for the baby and granddad is ready to teach the little one everything he knows. It’s great to have visitors, but a tip is to wait and see how much you can manage right now. Sometimes it’s nice to be in the “baby bubble” without any distractions: just you, your partner and any siblings. Don’t hesitate to tell your friends and relatives that you need some time by yourselves to digest your new life. And the family doesn’t have to worry: once you have landed in your new life, there will be many opportunities for babysitting and socialising!
If you are worried that your baby doesn’t get enough breast milk, or if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, it’s important that you get support and information about the alternatives. You can talk to the Paediatric clinic, maternity ward or the lactation consultant at the hospital. If you are unsure about anything else, don’t hesitate to call and ask.
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Breastfeeding the very first time
Straight after birth, the newborn baby tends to be awake and alert for about two hours, which is when the baby breastfeeds for the first time.
Getting the baby to latch on to the breast
It is important that the baby can latch on to the breast properly as this will reduce the risk of sore nipples, uncomfortable breastfeeding, engorgement, insufficient amounts of milk and slow weight gain in the baby.
The first days of breastfeeding
The breastfeeding pattern differs from child to child. Some babies sleep almost the entire first day after birth, while others want to feed straight away and often. Although your priority is not on yourself, make sure to sleep when the opportunity presents itself, eat well, and ensure that you get enough fluids.
Bleeding and discharge after giving birth
After giving birth, it’s normal for the mother to bleed, for up to eight weeks. Most of the bleeding is from where the placenta comes away from the wall of the uterus. This happens to all women, whether the birth was vaginal or by cesarean section.
The uterus will shrink back down to its normal size after delivery. The contractions are called postpartum pains, or simply afterpains, and are similar to period pain.