This was it.
It was really here.
Time to take my newborn daughter home from the hospital. (Or lovingly referred to as Baby Girl).
I waited in the hospital lobby for my (then) husband (Hubby), to get the car from the parking structure. I was with the CNA who had brought my daughter down in her car seat.
So, you know how you normally see women in the movies being wheeled down, well for some reason I was allowed to walk. I guess I could have let someone push me in the wheelchair, but when you have been confined to a bed for 4 days, you want to stretch your legs.
Hubby pulled up the car to the curb, and the CNA helped load Baby Girl into the car. Once everyone was settled we were off. Heading to our home sweet home.
We arrived home and unloaded the car seat and everything else that had been brought for the hospital stay. Once we opened the front door and walked in, Hubby and I looked at each other for a minute and down at Baby Girl and he said “Now what?”
Coming home from the hospital is exciting as a mom. But also daunting. So even if you are coming home for the first time or the 8th time from the hospital, here is what to expect on the first day home with a newborn.
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- How to Get Rid of a Diaper Rash
- How to Swaddle a Newborn: A Step-by-Step Guide
What to Expect on the First Day Home with a Newborn:
1. The Unknown is Scary
Being in the hospital, you have a team (although sometimes it felt more like an army, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) of nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals to care for you and your baby. If you have questions, really about anything, they are there to provide answers.
If you are breastfeeding, the nurses can usually answer your questions to help you and your baby. If not, they can find resources and answers to make sure feeding goes smoothly for you and your baby.
If you are exhausted and can’t even, then your baby can go spend some time in the nursery.
I never directly asked for Baby Girl to be sent to the nursery, but there were a couple of times during my stay, where my nurse encouraged me to send her there because I was beyond exhausted.
I never outright asked because I was breastfeeding and didn’t want her latching to be a problem if she was fed with a bottle. But thankfully, latching was never an issue for her. So off Baby Girl went to the nursery for a few hours, so her tired mama could get some needed sleep.
You don’t have to worry about food in the hospital. At home that’s another story.
It almost feels like you are in a bubble in the hospital. A safe bubble. Even though hospitals are uncomfortable and always loud, it feels insulated from the world. Because of all of the people there to constantly check up on you and your baby. (It made me feel a little invincible).
2. Home is the Best and Worst
Once you come home, it is really nice to be there. Your own bed to sleep in. Your own blankets and pillows. Your baby’s own crib to sleep in.
No more having nurses and doctors coming to check up on you, poke you, or give you medicine at weird hours of the night and morning. No more being in an uncomfortable hospital bed for days. You get sick of being in a hospital pretty quickly.
But on the downside, you no longer have someone making your meals for you. You don’t have someone checking in on you and asking if they can do something for you. You no longer can just sit in bed all day. You and you alone have to determine why your baby is crying.
3. Everything Seems More Difficult (Don’t Worry, It Gets Better)
Maybe it’s because you are already sleep-deprived from the hospital or because your hormones are out of whack, but on that first day, everything seems harder. (1) It is harder to function as a human being. It is harder to take care of your baby.
But honestly mama, it will get better. But it can take a while to feel like a normal human being and not a zombie. It takes a while before you start to feel like you are starting to get the hang of this parenting thing.
4. Flexibility is Key
Honestly, this is a lesson that extends beyond that first day home. (Probably for the rest of your life.) Maybe you had a plan for that first day home, but you need to know that plans change and unforeseen circumstances will happen.
I only had a few newborn clothes for Baby Girl because it’s not a size you get much of at your baby showers. The few newborn onesies I had were short-sleeved.
I brought my daughter home from the hospital in the middle of the summer. I thought the short-sleeved onesies would be enough. I could then swaddle Baby Girl tightly in a blanket keeping her warm.
But she wasn’t warm enough and couldn’t sleep. Which isn’t good for her or me. She was small and left the hospital smaller than when she was born.
So, thankfully a family member was willing to go to the store to get long-sleeved onesies, long pants, and more socks. It worked. She was a lot warmer and was able to sleep, if only for a little while.
5. Newborn + Clothing = Tears
Newborns hate clothing. It does make sense. Think about it. Your baby has been naked for nine months and then when they come into the world they still don’t have to wear clothing, only a diaper.
You probably figured this out when you tried to put your baby into clothing for the first time at the hospital. Since babies are messy, especially brand new ones you’ll most likely have to change your baby’s clothing multiple times that day.
They’ll probably holler and fuss and try to break free of the clothing. Hang in there. Your baby will come to tolerate clothing until being incredibly fussy every time.
6. Cluster Feeding: All the Time!
Maybe you discovered your baby cluster feeding when you were in the hospital. Your baby eats and then not too long after will eat again. It is exhausting, especially if you are breastfeeding.
This may or may not happen to you when your baby comes from the hospital. But know it is a definite possibility that this cluster feeding will continue. Take a deep breath, find an awesome Netflix show, and let your baby get through this phase.
7. Mama, You’re Still Going to Hurt…A Lot
When you come home you will still be very sore. You have been healing for a few days at the hospital, that’s true, but it takes a long time to feel fully healed.
Having to physically heal, makes it a little rough to take care of a newborn. Be aware of this. Be wary of the medicine you are taking, especially if you are breastfeeding because it can affect your newborn. Your doctor will send you home with medicine that should be safe to take, even while breastfeeding.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are healing from giving birth to a baby and taking care of a newborn. That’s pretty amazing, mama.
8. The House Can Wait
Your first thought when you get home might not be to clean your house. That’s okay. You don’t need to clean right away.
But if you feel like you need to clean or do your household chores, let it wait, mama. Get to know your little human that first day, and rest so your body can heal.
9. Visitors Can Wait Too
Your friends and family will be so excited to meet your new little one. And obviously for good reason.
But, mama you’re tired. If you are not up to having people come over, then don’t have them come over. There is no rule saying your friends and family must come over to visit by a certain date or time.
Remember that new babies can get sick easily. So, if you do have friends and/or family come over, make sure that you have them wash or sanitize their hands. If anyone is sick with flu or cold symptoms, have them stay away until they are better. (2)
10. Diapers, for Days
The number of diapers you change will probably not change that first day home compared to when you were in the hospital. But I think it needs to be noted. Because you no longer have a whole bunch of people to help you or to provide diapers for you.
11. Don’t Forget to Eat
Food is the last thing on your mind. You have your baby’s needs to think about. And even though they are simple, they sure are time-consuming. You’re tired. You’re sore. If you had a c-section, food might not even be tasting appealing yet.
But with all that said and done, food is fuel. Food will help you be able to take care of your newborn easier. It will also keep up your milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
12. Accept Help
Your friends or family might offer to help you in some way. They might offer to make freezer meals for you which makes it easy to have a home-cooked meal when you are too tired to think, let alone cook.
Or they might offer to clean your house while you are still in the hospital. No matter what they offer, accepting is a good idea. It allows you to build support networks and makes that first day home so much smoother. (3)
Coming home with your newborn for the first time is intimidating and scary. But it is also a happy occasion to have your baby home with you. Knowing what kind of things to expect when your baby home will make the transition easier for you and in turn make it easier for your baby.
How did these tips help you on the first day home with your baby? Are there any other tips that worked for you that aren’t listed?