Best tips for being home with a newborn

15 September 2010 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

On the parenting listserv I’m a part of, this topic came up last week–what are your best tips, moms, for a new mom home with her baby for the first time? Traditionally, of course, lots of cultures have the mom move back in with her family, or receive a lot of help at home, for the first month or more, but in the US today, a more typical post-partum period involves having family visit to “help” for the first week; then having the husband/partner take a week off from work to “help” for the second week; and then having the new mom suddenly thrust into being home alone with a brand-new infant in the third week of life.

That’s a tough situation, of course, but many moms have been there, and we’ve (mostly) survived.

My no. 1 tip: do not let hubby/partner leave for work in the morning until you’ve had breakfast. Be totally inflexible on that. Be crazy cave(wo)man mama if need be, but stick to it: on my maternity leave, I had a glass of milk and a cup of nursing tea and a bowl of oatmeal EVERY morning before my husband left, and I felt much, much healthier and saner for it.

My no. 2 tip: wear the baby. Seriously, I would wear him during a long luxurious bath for me while he slept on my chest and/or nursed, and wear him when I had to putter around in the kitchen to “make” lunch for me (the quotes are because I think maternity-leave lunches really only require assembling–super easy, but still nutritious, things like cheese and crackers, yogurt, fruit, hummus and wheat tortillas worked well for me), and wear him whenever I left the house to go food shopping, go to the library, and meet friends for lunch.

That’s my no. 3 tip: go out to meet childless people for lunch. I definitely became a “lady who lunches,” meeting my husband, my co-workers, my working friends near their offices and eating lunch with them a couple times a week. In the early weeks (3 through about 10 weeks old), I could always nurse baby at home, change a diaper, pop him in a wrap, and then know that I’d be good for two hours of subway trip plus quiet relaxing adult lunch. It was pretty fabulous.

My no. 4 (final) tip: don’t bother trying to structure your day, other than making sure you get something to eat and drink regularly. I just went with the flow, definitely doing the “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing, and enjoying the days that everyone said (and yes, they were right) would be gone far too soon.

What are your tips for a new mom home alone with her baby?

–Christina

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For-profit hospitals performing more C-sections Aargh, the headaches of “trying for” a VBAC!

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