Let’s be real here. Coming home from the hospital with a new baby in your arms is overwhelming. Whether it’s your first or fifth child, there are always things we can do to make our lives easier and save our sanity as we learn to navigate the landscape of being a new parent.
It doesn’t matter if you are planning to nurse or not, your body just went through the ringer and needs to hydrate to help repair itself and help you get your strength back. I made sure that before my due date, I had cases of water, Gatorade and coconut water on hand for easy access. Proper nutrition is of course important as well, but during the first weeks home from the hospital, drinking my nutrients was just easier (think smoothies, protein drinks and vitamin juices).
2. Plan ahead
Get a plan in action, mamas! Whether you have older children or pets to take care of, reminders and to-do lists are a must when your head’s in a fog. I used those bursts of energy during the very end of my pregnancy to make sure everything was in order at home for the first month or so that I would be home from the hospital because I wanted to be able to relax and enjoy that time instead of worrying.
3. Have pain relief spray and Tucks waiting in the refrigerator
It’s going to burn like crazy every single time you go to the bathroom for a few weeks. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re stocked up with pain relief spray and Tucks pads (get both at your local drugstore). Tip: Keep the Tucks pads in the refrigerator — the cooling sensation will honestly be something you look forward to. Padsicles (pads frozen with witch hazel applied to them) and frozen condoms filled with water are also gaining popularity.
4. Have a great food delivery service on speed dial
I didn’t have family nearby when I had my recent baby and meal planning was a little bit overwhelming to me with everything else going on, so I planned meals for my first few weeks postpartum using a mixture of premade meals from the grocery store, meal kits and ordering in. It worked out perfectly for us.
5. Get out of the house, for real
Give yourself a few weeks to stay at home and heal, but when you’re feeling up to, don’t hesitate to get outside and move a little bit. When my daughter was born in August, my family came to visit us about three weeks postpartum, and we were out and about in our city for three days straight. It was so good for my soul and happened right around the time I was starting to go stir-crazy.
6. Have a small postpartum wardrobe waiting for you
I can’t recommend this enough. The last thing you want to be doing postpartum is trying to find clothes that fit. Make sure your maternity clothes are still handy and buy a few staple items that will help ease you back into your old wardrobe. Believe me, as soon as you pop that baby out, you’re going to want to feel some sense of self again, and a huge part of that is your wardrobe. I gave birth in August, so I had some cropped yoga pants, boyfriend tees and a forgiving cotton romper at the front of my closet. All were comfortable and easy to dress up if I wanted to leave the house.
7. Limit your visitors
Everyone wants to pop over and meet the new baby, but they also need to understand how important it is for you to have downtime and family-bonding time — alone. Make sure everyone knows ahead of time that they need to schedule a visit that works for your routine and that just showing up will be a big no-no.
8. Find your mom tribe
I remember how good it felt when my older son was young and I had that “me too” moment with another mom. Finding out that I wasn’t alone and going through daily struggles with babies and young children is normal and having someone you can text any time who is going through similar struggles is so empowering.
9. Give yourself a break
Finding a self-care balance in new motherhood is crucial. You can’t take care of an infant without taking care of yourself first, so make sure you’re doing that. Take a break to get a manicure, run to Starbucks or read a book. Whatever it is to help you feel good about yourself and be emotionally sound will help you be the best mom you can be.
10. Put down the phone and focus on the present
We all want to capture those sweet moments of new motherhood and announce our new babe’s arrival on Facebook, but you’ll be frustrated looking back if you didn’t allow yourself to soak in those moments too. I had a conversation with my husband about pictures ahead of time and made sure that he knew to capture some important ones so that I could relax and not feel like I needed to add this to my to-do list.