You want me to take this home?
So, you’ve done it. You’re leaving the hospital with your baby in the back seat, and it finally hits you. You have a baby in the backseat. You are going home. With a baby. Of course, you’re excited, but also slightly terrifying. This person is completely dependent on you. What’s going to happen? What if I totally mess up and ruin this little person forever?
Well, all of us with kids have been in your spot at one point. Here are some of the things you can expect in the first couple of weeks with your brand new baby and some ways you can make it easier.
Babies sleep. A lot. They just don’t do it how you would like them too. They’ll get a few hours here and there and then need to be fed or changed.
This is one of the reasons it’s good to try and sleep when your baby does. You’re not going to be able to get a full night’s sleep all at once, so try to get a couple of naps throughout the day. You might not feel completely refreshed, but any sort of sleep will be helpful.
What is it about a brand new baby that people love so much? I have no idea, but I can almost guarantee that family is coming out of the woodworks to see your little human.
How you handle guests is completely up to you. Do you want to have people over? Bring them on. Have them do a couple of chores while you’re at it or bring the family food. Not too into having guests? Then, that’s fine too. They’re your baby. You’re the parent. You set the rules. Just stay strong. Do not let anyone bully you into a visit that you don’t want. A simple, “Hey, we’re using this time to figure out our baby. We appreciate you want to visit and will let you know when we’re ready to see you.” Let’s be honest here, the baby isn’t going to know either way.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your baby onto a schedule? Well, you can eventually, but in these early days, I’m talking about you for now. If you’re lucky enough to be raising your child with a partner, section out your day so you know who’s responsible for baby at what time.
Repeat after me: do not keep score.
You don’t want to be listening to the baby cry at 2 in the morning, running on no sleep, and arguing with your significant other about who got up last. No one wins there.
Schedule your day out in chunks. Try to make them shorter time periods. Maybe four-hour chunks until you both get used to things, then you can adjust the timings later. This helps you take breaks throughout the day and should hopefully clear up any disagreements about who’s turn it is to change the diaper.
4. Help Each Other
You should try to stick to your schedule on who’s taking care of the baby at what times, but if you see your partner is struggling, help them! If the baby has been crying for an hour (or maybe more, it’s hard to tell sometimes) don’t just sit there and do nothing. You are a team. Offer to try to help calm the baby for a little while. It’s highly possible that your partner is stressed, the baby can tell there’s stress, and that’s why they’re freaking out.
Give each other an opportunity to recollect and regroup.
5. They Don’t Do Much
Honestly, they’re pretty boring right now. Why’s the baby crying? Well, they probably need to eat or be changed. Or they’re really tired and now they don’t know what to do other than cry.
I know. I don’t get it either, but the world is confusing when you’re brand new.
Try not to stress out as much as you can. It’s an emotional time. You’re low on sleep and again, this little person is completely dependent on you. That’s insane to think about. Right now, you’re all (you, baby, and partner) just figuring things out. Your baby is figuring out life and parents are figuring out what to do. Take those first few weeks as a time to just learn. Soon you’ll be a pro at changing diapers and feeding the baby.
Don’t freak out. Your baby really isn’t doing all that much. The scariest part of your first few days and weeks is that it’s new. It’s a brand new experience and you have to make an adjustment in your life.
Enjoy this time as much as you can. Babies grow so, so fast. Soon they’ll be smiling, babbling, and walking and you’ll wonder why you were so worried in those beginning days.