Congratulations on the newest bundle in your life! There is absolutely nothing else to compare to those first moments with your new baby. The baby you wondered about for all those months. The baby that you cared for inside your body, that is now joining you in the world. All I want to do is soak in that newborn smell and the all the squishy cheeks. I am so in love with the first week with my newborn, and spend most of my time being in awe of the little miracle I made!
Between all the joyful moments, the newborn period is challenging for any mama. Along with the recovery period, the adjustment to the new normal is overwhelming. It can feel like a blur between the sleep deprivation, feedings, and all the things piled on your plate. Despite the long nights, the newborn phase passes by quickly and there are so many things to love about that first week with a newborn. If you are a new or expecting mom, I hope you get a few of these joy-filled moments in your first week with your newborn as you both embark on the journey into postpartum together.
Be As Prepared As Possible
This one technically hinges on how well you prepared before baby arrived! Since this is my third babe, I know HOW HARD postpartum life can be. How you can feel like you are drowning in all the things. If something can be prepared ahead of time, get it done! I spend almost the whole third trimester in preparation mode. We do not always have the luxury of preparing as much as we would like depending on baby’s plans. But if you can, take those final few weeks to prepare for the postpartum haze.
Take All The Pictures
Getting professional photos taken with a newborn can be wonderful, but nothing tops the candid photos you snap yourself during that first week! It is easy to forget how small newborns are and we often do not get in the pictures ourselves as often as we should. Take all the pictures you can during that first week so you can look back and remember anything that felt like a blur at the time. Phone selfies are the best.
Accept Help Whenever
Even though this is your first week with baby, you are also recovering from a traumatic event. Even with the most blissful birth possible, your body still went through trauma. If you want to eat a sit down meal, take a shower, or sleep accept the help when it is offered. Even if that help looks like your husband trying to console a screaming baby while you shower quickly, it’s the effort that matters. Take help anytime you feel you want it, and let go of any guilt. You are recovering too, and you are doing the best for that sweet babe.
For me, the best help is having someone to spend quality time with my older kiddos. I love one on one time with them throughout the day, but I have a lot less mom guilt when I know they are being focused on and enjoying their day while I am still figuring things out with the newborn. Think about what help is most helpful for you, and do not be afraid to embrace it when you have the opportunity.
Prepare For Breastfeeding
If you are planning to breastfeed please know: even moms that have breastfed babies before, every single time is a learning curve. You are re-learning everything and your new baby is also learning. You will have to find a rhythm together and it can take lots of time and tears. It is something you should prepare for before baby arrives, and something that you may have to work at together. Latching, supply establishment, feeding schedules, etc are all part of the new routine. Do not be discouraged by nipple pain, cluster feeding, low pumping sessions, or any other obstacles that pop up in the first week. There are tons of resources available between lactation consultants, courses, and support tools that can be the right fit.
Check out my ultimate postpartum recovery checklist with breastfeeding tools to make that first week easier!
If it something you want to do, commit to it and you absolutely can do it. The first week will feel so much easier if you have the right breastfeeding mindset. If you decide to go with formula or a little of both, that works too! If you are looking for the best formula for your baby, I did a TON of research on baby formula with my first, and I hope you can benefit from all the time I spent.
Prepare For Lack of Sleep
People tell you all the time while you are pregnant that you won’t sleep once the baby arrives. Without knowing what kind of sleeper your baby will be, it is helpful to mentally prepare for being tired. Even pro newborn sleepers still eat several times throughout the night and often struggle to put themselves back to sleep. Knowing you will be tired and reframing that time in your mind into something positive can really help.
Every night before going to bed I spend some time preparing for the night ahead. I get water (a sometimes late night snacks) for my bedside table. I get a book I am reading or the remote set to my favorite Netflix show. For baby, I have diapers, wipes and extra swaddles in a station right by the bed. I try to minimize any stressors or reasons for getting up during the night and find things that help me stay awake for feedings.
Despite the exhaustion, I truly treasure that first week of nights with baby. It is quiet, uninterrupted time for me and baby and the bond is incredible. For many couples, it can be helpful to trade nights or portions of the night with your partner to maximize sleep windows and allow for both partners to be night helpers. You could even trade nights in a guest room so that you each get a night of quality sleep in between.
Do not feel the need to tackle everything during those first few weeks. It is perfectly okay to lay in bed all day with your newborn. Not only are you recovering in many ways, but your newborn appreciates the slowness too. It is okay if things are messy and you spend much of your day nursing and staring at your newborn. These moments are fleeting. Forget the things that don’t really matter for a little while at least, and soak up all the newborn snuggles. Newborns spend most of their time sleeping at first. If all you do is hold them all week, you are doing everything you should be! Everything is okay. The mess, the no showers, the quick meals. It’s all okay if all you do is just be.
Smell your newborn all the time and remember the scent (yes, really!). It disappears so quickly. Memorize all the little things about that babe. The stork bite on their neck, the tiny fingernails, the little peach fuzz covering their body. By the two week mark, some of the newborn things are already starting to fade as your baby adjusts to life outside the womb. Those first 7 nights will feel never ending, but that first week with your newborn is gone in a flash. Soak it all in, mama.
The postpartum period is a roller coaster ride from the very beginning. The first week with your newborn is so important to the start of your journey as a mom to that baby. There are so many things to love about that first week with your newborn and all the weeks after. I hope you enjoy every little bit of newborn goodness!
All the best,