Becoming a parent is never easy no matter how many children you have. Bringing home a newborn baby whether it’s the first time or the fourth, each time brings its own set of challenges and struggles. The first few weeks seem to be a blur as parents/caretakers are sleep deprived and trying to adjust to raising a baby. When I first became a parent, I was pretty much a deer in headlights. I had no idea what to do when I brought my daughter home. Never even changed a diaper. I was so confused about breastfeeding and had so many questions. To make things easier for new moms and even new parents, I compiled a list of 28 tips to help get you through the first 28 days with your baby. I hope these tips are helpful for you as a new mom.
Here are 28 tips To Get You Through The First 28 Days After Baby Is Here
As soon as the baby is born, you have the option to do skin-to-skin with your newborn. You can even include this in your birth plan so the hospital staff know that this is something you would like to do. The first few hours is important to build that skin to skin connection with your baby. It also helps start-up milk production.
- BREASTFEED YOUR BABY IN THE FIRST HOUR OF BIRTH
If you plan to breastfeed, then it is important to latch your baby to start the breastfeeding journey. This first hour after birth is also known as the ‘golden hour’ and it’s during this time that it is important to nurse your baby while they are still calm and sleepy. They will have the urge to nurse so establishing a good latch during this time is essential.
- THE HOSPITAL NURSERY IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
After hours of labor, your body needs to rest and recover. Though you may have an adrenaline rush after delivering the baby, your body needs the rest. No matter what time of day you deliver your baby, try to send your baby to the nursery for a few hours so you can sleep. Be sure to tell the nurses and staff not to disturb you unless it is urgent.
- ASK FOR EXTRA SUPPLIES
Most hospitals do a good job providing moms with the supplies they need for postpartum care. Most of these supplies include mesh underwear, maxi pads, ice packs, peri bottles, and pain meds. You can always ask for extra supplies so be sure to ask for some to take home. TIP: Do not ask the same nurse twice!
- HOSPITAL PROVIDES EVERYTHING FOR BABY
Most hospitals do a great job of providing everything you need to care for your newborn while in the hospital. They provide diapers, wipes, pacifiers, hats, blankets, and some even provide clothing. If you are not breastfeeding, then they will also provide all the formula you will need for your baby while at the hospital. You can also ask for extra supplies of any of these as well to take home.
- SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT AT THE HOSPITAL
It is a good idea to schedule an appointment with the lactation consultant at the hospital to make sure your baby is latching correctly. If baby is not latching correctly then ask the consultant to see if there is a lip/tongue tie.
- PACK YOUR BREAST PUMP IN THE HOSPITAL BAG
Take your breast pump with you to the hospital and have the lactation consultant show you how to use it and determine if the flanges are the correct size for you. Sometimes if they are the incorrect size then it will not do a sufficient job at pumping all of the milk.
- ANIMALS AND THE NEW BABY
If you have pets at home, then be sure to have your partner or someone else take a used baby blanket back home and let the animals smell and play with. This is a great way to introduce them to the baby’s smell and that way once the baby comes home they will already be familiar with them.
- SLEEPY BABY
The baby will be super sleepy the first few days/weeks. You may feel that all they do is sleep and eat and poop. Well, that’s all they do all the time even outside of the first 30 days. If your baby is extra sleepy and sleeps while nursing then you can undress them while nursing/feeding and rub their feet to keep them stimulated.
- CLUSTER FEEDING
Cluster feeding is when the baby nurses for long periods of time with very little time in between nursing sessions. It can get very tiresome for the mom and sometimes even frustrating especially during those middle of the night sessions. But cluster feeding is important because it helps establish your milk supply. It also reappears during growth spurts when your supply needs to increase to meet the baby’s needs. Most cluster feeding sessions occur in the evenings but can also occur anytime.
- PUMP, PUMP, PUMP
If you are having a difficult time latching your baby, then remember that you can always pump to continue building your milk supply and providing your baby with breastmilk. Once pumped, you can bottle-feed your baby the breast milk. Pumping schedules should be in line with how often the baby is nursing. If the baby is nursing every 2 hours then you need to pump every 2 hours as well.
Once your supply is established but is still not enough to meet your baby’s needs then you may need to take supplements to help build your supply. Supplements such as fenugreek and fennel can help along with mother’s milk tea, brewers yeast, and oatmeal. Before taking anything though please consult with your physician and/or lactation consultant.
- GET A HAAKAA PUMP
A haakaa pump is a silicone breast pump that suctions to one side while you are nursing or pumping the other side. It helps to catch the milk from the other side so it does not go to waste. It is also useful in relieving engorgement. You can quickly use this on both breasts for a few minutes to relieve some pain before you start a nursing or pumping session. Just be careful of tipping it over though. I have had several occasions where it has tipped over and I lost a lot of milk. I CRIED OVER THAT SPILLED MILK.
- PACK N’ PLAY WITH DIAPER CHANGING STATION
Having a pack n ’play with a diaper station set up on the main floor makes it super convenient for parents to change the numerous diapers the baby will create in a day as well as have a safe space for the baby to nap in during the day.
- ZIP-UP PAJAMAS
Using zip-up pajamas makes it easy during the middle of the night diaper changes. Getting the kind that has the double zipper is probably a better option that way you do not have to unzip it completely. This also eliminates the chances of the baby fully waking during these 2 AM diaper changes.
- SHARE A ROOM
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies should share a room with the parent for the first year. Most parents like to have their newborn in the same room as them for the first few months at least if not longer. If you would like, you can always put a daybed or something in the nursery and have the baby sleep in the crib while you sleep on the daybed if that works better. It just depends on the individual family and your situation.
- KEEP A CADDY IN THE CAR
Purchase a caddy and stock it with all the essentials to keep in the car to always have supplies on hand just in case you run out from the diaper bag or for those moments when you forget the diaper bag at home. Believe me, that has happened and will not just happen once. Don’t forget to restock the caddy though!
- PLACE A WET BAG IN THE DIAPER BAG
Wet bags are great to keep on hand for those soiled clothes or cloth diapers when you are out and about. These are great, especially during those blowout phases. Be sure to keep a wet bag in the diaper bag or in the car caddy.
- INVEST IN A GOOD WHITE NOISE MACHINE FOR THE NURSERY
Babies love sleeping in loud environments. For nine months they are in the womb where it is very loud and that is the noise level they are used to. So instead of keeping it nice and quiet for them, play a loud noise machine while they are sleeping.
- GET A PORTABLE WHITE NOISE MACHINE
Having white noise in the room is essential. But make sure you keep a portable one handy as well to keep in the car seat or in the stroller. Even though it is not advised they sleep in these places, the white noise will help in keeping them calm.
- GET BLACKOUT CURTAINS
Setting up the nursery is not always needed since the baby usually sleeps with the parents for the first few months anyway. Where they will be sleeping though, make sure the room is nice and dark especially during the daytime naps. Investing in good blackout curtains is always a good idea and really helps in blocking out the light.
- GET A FEW DIFFERENT TYPE OF BOTTLES
If you are formula feeding or even giving pumped milk, it is always a good idea to keep a variety of different bottles on hand. This way you can see which one your baby prefers. If you are breastfeeding and bottle feeding then you may want to make sure the bottle is not causing any nipple confusion.
- USE FRAGRANCE FREE PRODUCTS
It is really hard to tell how your baby will react to products so it is best to get fragrance free products such as body wash and lotions for them. You never know if they will react or have eczema so getting fragrance free eliminates triggering a skin reaction.
- LISTEN TO YOUR MATERNAL INSTINCTS
Have you heard the saying “moms know best”? Well, moms do know best and therefore you should always trust your instincts. If you have a hunch that something is wrong or have questions, immediately bring them up with your pediatrician. There is an after-hours line usually and they can help address any of your questions.
- KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MOOD FLUCTUATIONS
As a new mom, you will have tons of fluctuating hormones causing havoc on your mental wellbeing. Usually, baby blues are experienced but in some severe cases, postpartum depression and/or postpartum anxiety can also be felt. It is important to address even the smallest mood changes to your physician so they can further determine if a therapy consult is required.
- ASK FOR OR ACCEPT THE HELP
Some new moms get offered tons of help while others get none. Some accept the help while others do not. Remember, it is okay to accept the help or even ask for it yourself. Getting enough rest is essential for you especially after a cesarean.
- BE FLEXIBLE
Do not do everything by the books and schedule. Things are bound to change and you have to learn to adapt to these changes as they occur. Babies are anything but predictable and therefore, you have to learn to be unpredictable just like them.
- DO NOT COMPARE
One of the biggest tips I can provide is to never compare yourself to other mothers. I know it may seem hard because as humans we constantly compare. As moms, we love to gloat about what our child does and sulk over the fact that our child is not walking yet while someone else younger than him is running in straight lines. Remember, you are doing the best you can and you are the best mother for your child.
Written by Unnati Patel who is a published epidemiologist turned new mom coach and certified pediatric sleep consultant. On her Instagram, at @the.baby.mama.coach she shares resources to educate and empower new moms to help get through pregnancy, be confident about caring for a newborn, be mindful about their own postpartum care, and how to tackle pediatric sleep. She also offers FREE 30-minute discovery calls for all new clients. Feel free to send her a DM on IG or send her an email at email@example.com.