The feeling of leaving the hospital with your first child is pretty scary. It is exciting and amazing but all at the same time you just can’t believe they are going to let you take this little person home. Just like that and when you get home the and the baby cries you think oh my goodness am I going to be any good at this? What if I do something wrong or don’t know what the baby needs?
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Don’t worry, I was a nanny for 10 years and I totally felt the same way! Being responsible for another human is probably the most important job you have had yet. So, today I wanted to walk you through what home life with a newborn might look like. That way you have an idea of what to expect when the baby comes home.
The first week at home with baby…
Babies sleep A LOT! Like 16-20 hours. They also eat, pee and poop a lot too! So yes your baby will be sleeping a lot but your baby will also wake up a lot. Newborns don’t function like us. They have tiny tummies, bladders, and bowels that need to be refilled and emptied often. The reason for this is the insane rate that they are growing at.
The good news is your baby will have little natural reflexes and cues to show you what they need. Once you get the hang of decoding your baby’s cues it will be much easier to see what your baby needs and what you can do to help.
I think the reason you are so uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy is to prepare you for the baby. You wake up to pee and change positions all night long! I think it is to prep you for what’s ahead with baby getting up every hour or two.
Visiting the doctor…
You will be at the doctor’s office a lot! Visits are recommended at 3-5 days after birth, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. Those are only the well child exams. So if your little one gets sick, rashy or something else you’ll be there even more. I never knew before I had little ones that we would go to the doctor so much! We had two preemie babies so we practically lived at the doctor for the first few months!
Visitors at your home…
You will still most likely have quite a few people who want to come meet your new snuggly baby. It may be relatives, friends, co-workers and even neighbors. Everyone loves a baby!
Tiny humans do not care if your great grandma is there to visit they will sleep right through the whole thing. Try not to expect too much from your little one or you may end up with a cranky baby.
It is okay and perfectly fine to not be up to visiting. If you are not just politely say that you and the baby really need some rest and you would love to visit another time, most people will be understanding.
Another thing to remember is that tiny humans have tiny immune systems that are entering a big world of unfamiliar germs. So it is acceptable to ask your visitors to wash their hands. Or keep some hand sanitizer stocked and offer some to anyone who wants to hold or touch the baby.
Having a baby takes a lot from your body. It is very normal to be exhausted, emotional, uncomfortable and feel like a totally different person. Don’t worry this too shall pass. It will take some time but you will eventually start feeling like yourself(if you don’t then you may need to seek help for postpartum depression. Many moms suffer from this and there is so much help out there so please don’t feel alone). Well, I should say your new mommy self, not your old self. Having a baby will change you in a lot of ways.
Make sure to take care of yourself. I know this is a daunting thing when you have a newborn to take care of. I remember being on a mission to do it all. I didn’t want people to think I needed help. Then, the first time my parents were there to help and I got a shower, nap and a nice meal, I wondered why on earth I had felt that way! So, let people help you! They want to do it! You will be a better mommy if you let people help because you will have more patience and energy to be a better mommy.
What a day with a newborn baby looks like…
Every baby is different. Every mommy is different. There is not a cookie cutter schedule for every family. I know it is nice to have an idea of where to start or what a day can look like. Keep in mind though your family can make changes to this schedule to accommodate your lifestyle. Maybe you have to leave early for work or maybe you have to work later in the night. Just adjust the times to what will work for your family.
I try to set the stage for my little ones based around a 7 am – 7 pm day. Both my kids still follow this time frame. Sometimes it’s a half an hour to an hour off but for the most part that is when my kids are up for the and day and down for the night. This works really well for me because I get some me time in the morning and some husband time at night(here is my schedule for a baby and toddler)
|7:00 AM||Wake Up/Change|
|10:00 AM||Wake Up/Change|
|1:00 PM||Wake Up/Change|
|4:00 PM||Wake Up/Change|
|6:00 PM||Wake Up/Change|
|7:00 AM||Wake Up/Change|
Some things to keep in mind with this schedule…
This schedule is intended for babies from birth to 6 weeks. As your baby passes that mark the schedule will change with your baby’s changes. Your baby’s feeding schedule may vary based on whether you have a formula or breastfed baby(the benefits of breastfeeding in plain english). Here is a chart to give you an idea of how much milk your baby needs. Breastmilk digests much faster than formula. If you are breastfeeding(8 ways to make breastfeeding easier) feedings may more frequent and if you are formula feeding feedings may be more spread out.
Naptimes can really vary as well. Usually, babies newborns tend to have 2 longer naps and some shorter ones mixed in. Every baby is different and every household if different so naps can be very different from baby to baby. This is a great resource for how long your baby should be awake between naps and how long you can expect them to nap for. Often people keep their baby up too long thinking they aren’t tired and end up with a cranky, overtired baby. So, use this tool to help you with timing and be sure to take a peek at the clock every time your baby goes to sleep and wakes up.
A great way to help your newborn distinguish days and nights is to NOT talk, play, change(unless it’s poop) in the night time(if your baby has sensitive skin you may need to change in the night but try to keep the lights to a minimum and no talking). Keep the lights off and try to just use a night light.
Enjoy your baby…
The newborn phase can be exhausting! The days will fly by though and soon your little one won’t be so little anymore. So, enjoy your baby! Watch your baby sleep, cuddle up with your baby, kiss your baby a million times or whatever it is that you love to do with your baby. It is such a special and short window of time in both of your lives so remind yourself that it is wonderful and precious and to enjoy it.
If you are feeling frustrated with how demanding your baby is try to take turns with someone. Try to get a break when you can. It’s okay if the house is messy, the world will not end. Take a nap, read a book, watch your favorite show, have a shower, do something for you that will make you feel good. Then when the baby wakes up again you will feel ready to be a better mommy again.
Hopefully, this schedule and tips will help give you an idea of what your first weeks at home with your new baby will look like. I would love to hear from you all! Do you have questions about the first weeks with a baby? Anything else you are wondering about babies? Other momma’s out there please feel free to share your best advice for the first few weeks with your new baby! I love to hear from all of you and I want this to be a place for women to connect! So please, even if you never leave comments, I would love if you left one here : )