The first few days home from the hospital are just as important to you as they are to your baby. As new parents you will have gone through an exciting birth that will have left you breathless and exhilarated.
As a new mother you will be emotionally and physically exhausted. As a new father you will be overwhelmed by your new responsibilities. The first days at home are a time to take a deep breath, sit back and relax, and take some time just for you.
During your first days at home it may be wise to limit the amount of visitors that you welcome into your home. Other than your immediate family and good friends you might want to ask other friends to wait a week or two before they descend on you with gifts and wanting to hold the new baby. You need time to recuperate and settle into the routine that a sleeping, feeding, and often crying baby brings into your life.
As a new mother you will need to pay particular attention to the way that you are feeling so that those “baby blues” don’t creep up and surprise you unexpectedly. It is normal to feel a bit out of sorts and sad for the first couple of weeks after giving birth. Your body is going through some major physical changes after the birth of your baby. Your hormones will be changing and you likely will be feeling a lack of sleep.
All of this can affect the way that you feel. You should be patient with yourself, understand that all these feelings are normal, and that in a couple of weeks things will feel better for you. If you find that you are feeling more and more depressed, and find it difficult to care for yourself and your family, you should consult your doctor so that he/she can determine if you are suffering from a condition called postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Overwhelming feelings of sadness and depression accompanied by crying.
- Having little or no energy.
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
- Having no interest in your baby or being overly concerned and worried about your baby.
- Weight gain accompanied with overeating.
- Weight loss accompanied by not eating.
- Feeling afraid of hurting yourself or your baby.
During the first few days at home your family will be adjusting to the additional member of your family. If you have other children at home you may be dealing with feelings of jealousy as the new baby takes center stage. Make sure that you include your other children in the day-to-day activities that are part of the new baby’s routine.
Let older children help with diaper changing, feeding, and just sitting and holding the new baby if they are old enough to do so. This is your time to adjust to the changes in your life and settle into a comfortable routine.