Your first week with your new baby will be filled with amazement as you gaze at those saucer eyes and wait for those tiny little fingers to grip your thumb. But that first week will also be filled with a constant soundtrack of wailing and breast milk vomit. It’s the happiest you’ll ever be, but it’s also the most terrified. That’s why we rounded up the top tips for you to prep for baby’s first week home—from parents who have been there.
1. Comfort is key.
You’ve been prepping your home for baby since the moment you found out you were pregnant: picking out cribs and folding a tiny wardrobe. But have you been prepping your home for a new mama?
Since most of your time will be spent feeding and watching the little one, constantly holding a baby can can get uncomfortable—fast. If you’ve had an epidural, your back will start whining as much as the baby. Make yourself comfy. Use nursing pillows for breastfeeding and make sure you surround your plushest chair with magazines, remotes, water, and soft blankets. You won’t want to get up, and you won’t have to.
2. It’s OK to ask for help.
The thought of visiting in-laws before might have caused involuntary anxiety, but now you’ll be napping so hard you won’t even know they’re there. And let’s face it, everyone is here to see the baby now anyway.
You might feel nervous letting go of rigid sleeping and feeding plans you made before birth, but babies don’t work on a schedule. Even if friends and family hang out for only a few hours, that’s a few more hours of sleep you’ll be thankful for during a 3 a.m. changing time.
If your friends ask what they can do to help prep for baby, first thank them for being such wonderful friends. You can also suggest that they start a rota for bringing over pre-cooked meals or easy freezer meals. Chances are, you won’t have time / want to make dinner for a while, and this system can be cheaper and healthier than ordering out. Speaking of food…
3. Don’t let nutrition take a back seat.
Some women feel ravenous during breastfeeding, others have a loss of appetite. Either way, it’s important to eat foods that are rich in vitamins to make sure your breast milk stays strong. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, eating meals packed with nutrients is important for maintaining high energy (well, some energy), and keeping crankiness at bay.
4. Register for what you need, not what you want.
Nipple pads and butt paste might not be as endearing or fun as a tiny pink onesie, but they will be 1000x more useful. Many gift-givers are tempted to buy the cute things first, which means you’ll end up with a smattering of not-age-appropriate toys but zero diapers. Dissuade this tendency by registering for what you actually need. And hey—this means you get to do all the fun shopping yourself.
5. Treating your baby = treating yourself.
A not-crying baby means a happy baby. And a happy baby means a happy mama. When you’ve been up for 30 hours, staying organized (even it it means hiring someone to clean!) and quickly solving baby’s needs are a must for keeping your sanity. Set yourself up for success by having breastfeeding equipment at the ready or buy that bottle warmer you thought was so unnecessary before; shortcuts are your friend.
6. Plan, but be ready to pivot.
From breastfeeding to Ferberizing, you have your baby’s infant care all planned out. But once baby is here, you’ll be ready to try anything in order to get through that tough moment. And that’s okay. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work out and you need to use formula. Sometimes your little one will only stop crying with a pacifier even though you’re worried about nipple confusion. Be open to adjusting your perspective. As long as it’s safe, it works for your family, and baby is happy, it’s the right choice.