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Bringing home baby: what first-time parents need to know to survive the first 10 days

True Life: What the first 10 days at home with baby were REALLY like.

I swear, there must be something in the water. I have SO. MANY. PREGNANT. FRIENDS.I went to my 10 year high school reunion just a few weeks ago and I felt like there were more pregnant women than not! Plus tons of new moms who were enjoying their first night out since their big arrival. I found myself talking more about delivery and newborns than anything else! On top of that, I feel like I can’t scroll through Facebook without seeing one of those precious pictures of a glowing new mama perched up in her hospital bed with a little bundled up baby in her arms. It really is wonderful. It’s crazy how much differently I look at those pictures now that I have been in their shoes. It’s such a magical time but also comes with unique challenges. Here’s what you need to know to get through the first 10 days with a newborn

Let’s be frank, life with a new baby is hectic. When I look back on those first 10 days home with Emmy, it’s a blur of baby kisses, tears of joy, tears of exhaustion, surprisingly wonderful meals, surprisingly painful laughs and so much more. Expectant mama’s- read on to prepare yourselves!

We arrived home on a Sunday afternoon around 1 P.M. The most surreal feeling was driving away from the hospital with A BABY. Didn’t the doctors and nurses know we were clueless? Luckily Jay’s parents were at home waiting for us and could help calm any baby storms coming our way. How cute is Jay with little 3 day new Emmy?


Bringing Home Baby: The First 10 Nights

During the first 10 nights of baby’s life, they will typically wake every 2-3 hours to eat. It may even feel like they are more awake and alert during the wee-hours of the morning than they are during the day time, but this is completely normal.

After spending 9 months in the womb, they have no concept of what day and night it. This is something you will help them understand as they get older. Be sure to read this post on how I got my baby sleeping through the nights by 8 weeks and how I used simple tactics to help them get their night time vs. day time sorted out.

RELATED: Everything New Moms Need to Know About SIDS

I think it is safe to say that there are very few people in this world who are accustomed to waking every 2-3 hours at night for multiple nights in a row. I am not someone who functions well on little sleep. Add in the fact that I just delivered a baby via c-section and I was a train wreck waiting to happen.

But like you always hear them say, you have to sleep when the baby sleeps. Now this doesn’t mean EVERY time the baby sleeps. I used the rule that anytime she was sleeping before noon during the day, I was too. After noon, I was rested enough to function and I could stay up while she was sleeping after that to complete tasks.

Another note in regards to the nights- be sure you have EVERYTHING you could need for baby close by. Diapers, wipes, extra change of clothes, water for mom, extra swaddle blankets. The less running around you are doing at 3 AM, the better. Not only for baby, but for you too. I set up an entire breastfeeding station to help make late time feeds easier. More on that here.

Bringing Home Baby: Breastfeeding in the First 10 Days

It’s hard. That’s the easiest way to put it.

Baby is really hungry those first few days before the milk comes in. Your nipples begin to dry out, crack, even bleed.

The first few seconds of a latch would literally make me wince in pain. My saving grace was milk storage bags filled with Aloe Vera that had been in the freezer and nipple cream ( love AD cream for nipples and diaper rash).

You can also try rubbing a little bit of your own breast milk on your nipple and letting it air dry. Hot showers work wonders too, just make sure you don’t have a high pressure shower head aimed straight at your breasts.

Bottom line, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But it is SO WORTH IT! I could go on for days on all the wonderful things your breast milk is doing for your baby. By day 10 it won’t hurt as bad. By day 20 you won’t even feel it when she latches on. And by month 3 you will realize how convenient  it is to breast feed.

RELATED: Nursing Your Newborn, How to get  through the toughest stage.

The best advice I can give you to prepare yourself for breastfeeding is to take the online Breastfeeding Class from Milkology. I took it and was blown away by how much I learned and how helpful it was with all aspects of breastfeeding. It was created by a lactation counselor who really knows her stuff. You can read more about the course here.

Also, be sure do download our free baby tracker to help keep all of the details on baby’s feedings and diaper changes straight. This made the first few weeks home with baby so much easier!The Baby Tracker from Swaddles n' Bottles

Postpartum: The First 10 Days

When I left the hospital I looked about the same as I did 6 months pregnant. I had a c-section and had alot of swelling that made wearing pants impossible. I always suggest expectant mothers take a maxi dress as their coming-home-outfit for themselves.

About a week before I had Emmy, I went to Forever 21 and bought a bunch of their $2.80 leggings and plain t-shirts in 1-2 sizes too big.  I emptied out a drawer in my dresser for nothing but the big, comfy clothes I bought. This kept me from sorting through clothes and having to think “that won’t fit me”. It was also a helpful move when having to get dressed quickly to get back to your hungry baby!

RELATED: What to Stock in your Postpartum Bathroom Basket

 Be gentle with yourself and remember that your body created a life! It took 9 months for your body to change and it may take just as long, if not longer, to get back to a similar place as it was before pregnancy.

One of my postpartum nurses told me the best thing I could do to help my body bounce back was drinking TONS of water. So. much. water. You know those big mugs they give you at the hospital as a parting gift? She told me to drink no less than 3 of those a day for the first month. And it worked! I slowly saw my body morph back into somewhat of it’s baby shape. Does it look exactly as it did before pregnancy? Definitely not. But again, I am being gentle with myself through this process.

Also, be sure you have those padsicles ready!

Visitors in the first 10 days

One of the best pre-baby conversations Jay and I had was about visitors. We decided that it was okay to tell people that we were too tired or that Emmy needed rest and we were not up for visitors at the time. This is not to say that visitors are a burden, they can actually be your saving grace. I took some of my best naps when my mom and sister were here and watched Emmy. I ate some delicious meals in those first 10 days due to the cooking skills of visitors. We also did our fair share of asking for rain checks on visits. We wanted to be able to truly enjoy our time with anyone who came to meet Emmy and if we were too tired, we simply asked when another day worked better for them since today didn’t seem to work with Emmy’s sleep schedule.

Point being, enjoy your time with the ones who love you and your baby, it’s a special moment that will only happen once. But also make sure you are taking care of yourself and baby daddy by taking time for yourselves when you need it.

Gadgets and Gizmos we love

There were a few things that really saved us some sanity in those first few days after bringing home baby. Most used item: a sound machine. The womb is LOUD from all of the blood rushing through mamas veins. A sound machine recreates that sound to soothe baby. I found this inexpensive one and it has worked wonders. It can plug into the wall and play all night or on a timer and it has a few different sound options.

The Swaddle Me Swaddlers were HUGE life savers in those first few nights to keep Emmy feeling secure enough to get into a sound sleep.

I would also HIGHLY suggest signing up for Amazon Family Diaper & Wipe Subscription.  It saves time and money… and it saves you from taking a trip to the store with a newborn for diapers. Also, lots of nipple cream, lots of coffee (yes, you can have a cup!) and a whole lot of baby kisses.

Sleepless nights aside, the first 10 days are so magical. Soak in every minute, take entirely too many pictures and snuggle your little nugget every minute you get. I already look back at these pictures of Emmy’s first days and just can’t believe how much she has already grown!

More important articles to read before bringing home baby:

How to Care for Baby’s Umbilical Cord

How to Give Baby Their First Bath

What to Expect: Post delivery test, procedures and common practices

Read more on mama life from S&B

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