Bringing your newborn home is what you’ve been dreaming of for nine months (possibly longer). You will have played out that moment, time after time.
Dad opening the door with you walking over that threshold, babe in arms, into a room full of your nearest and dearest, balloons and teddies littering the room. You beaming with pride, skipping around the room, showing off your precious bundle (or bundles)
That glossy magazine picture perfect home coming.
Coming home from hospital is where you really begin to recover.
Whilst most pregnancies and labours are fairly straightforward, some can be long and tough.
We tend to put much more thought into how our pregnancy is progressing and how our birth plan should hopefully pan out.
Too little time is taken to really consider just how much support we will need when we get home and my urge would be to make sure you plan to be supported for at least 6 weeks postpartum.
This may seem like excessive but trust me, I work with on average 25 families of newborns each month through my work as a Maternity specialist and experience of facilitator for a Perinatal Depression and anxiety support group with Juno.
I see daily, the problems that come with not having that support already in place at the beginning of your journey into parenthood.
These glossy magazines and TV ads DO NOT represent the reality of:-
1 – Getting your head around the fact you are now responsible for this vulnerable and needy being
2 – The length of time it takes you to physically and mentally recover from pregnancy and childbirth.
A new mother will often be suffering from Aneamia and her hormones will be surging and dropping frequently. She will be exhausted from the labour and probably in pain from after-pains, tears, stitches, a c-section wound or even pain around the site of the epidural or spinal.
We all know that a body heals well when it is nourished and has enough rest.
So without the luxury of 8 hours sleep each night, how to we survive living with a newborn AND recover well?
Here are my top 10 tips on Planning the Arrival of your Newborn
1 – Prepare lots of easy to heat frozen meals, think Mac n Cheese, nourishing soups, Spag Bol and Casseroles. Freeze them in small portions as you will want to eat little and often. Also see my recipe for lactation cookies. The dough can be frozen in bite sized balls, and brought out as and when required for a quick bake in the oven. These make excellent snacks which are great to eat whilst feeding your baby. They can boost supply and taste amazing!
2 – Advise your well meaning loved ones that you’d much prefer some nesting-in time when you come home from hospital. If they are aware of your request well in advance, they wont feel so impatient to arrive on your doorstep. Giving you that well required time to find your feet around your own house with your new addition, and also allowing you to feel comfortable with breastfeeding, if you choose to do so. Additionally, this will help keep your little one more settled as they become accustomed to the new smells and tones of their new home.
Too many visitors can be unsettling to the whole family unit.
3- That aside, the visitors you should make allowances for are close, supportive family or/and friends.
Back in ‘the olden days’ women were surrounded by their sisters, mothers and aunties. Really that only goes back a couple of generations where there were multiple generations living under the one roof.
Now-a-days we are lucky if we have a relative that lives within 10 miles of where we live. We are also pressured to want to manage everything on our own with a big, grinny smile all day, along with having our make-up neatly applied and glorious lushious locks and nails well maintained.
When that much needed support disappeared along came the prevalence of perinatal depression and anxiety.
20% of new mothers are diagnosed with PND and there are many more that struggle along without diagnosis and help.
If you do not have the luxury of close family or good reliable friends, Id suggest having a look into hiring a Postnatal Doula or Maternity nurse. They can be hired on a hourly basis and really can be a valuable and reliable source to assist with many issues that may arise. Doulas often are trained in one or more complementary therapy and Maternity nurses are trained to assist with all aspects of feeding and sleep issues.
Frequently postnatal workers are requested when there is a crisis, such as low milk supply, low mood, lack of sleep and often when all of these things are present. Its highly advisable to get your postnatal package arranged prior to birth, so you can meet with or interview outside providers if this is something you feel you may need. (It will also be likely you wont need the support for as long should you have it in place before a crises arises.)
See Doula UK or Scottish Doula Network
4 – Get some fresh air each day!
Even if its miserable outside, getting out for even a quick walk around the block will do you the world of good! Keeping your natural Vitamin D levels topped up as best we can will help boost your immune system and lift your mood. A change of scenery also helps balance the mind.
Daily exposure to sunlight helps restore the body’s internal time clock or carcadian cycles which is important for both mum and baby.
5 – Snuggle with your baby often and drink in the baby smells. Whether you are breastfeeding or using a bottle, skin-to-skin will boost the Oxytocin in you and your baby. Oxytocin is the love hormone, the hormone that helps us bond, helps regulate our cortisol levels, which in turn helps regulate all other hormones in the body and blood pressure. Its the natural feel good hormone that can become very addictive.
My favourite book is the Oxytocin Factor which I can lend out if you fancy a read.
A bespoke maternity service, providing Doula, Maternity Practioner, Infant Feeding (Breast/Bottle) Sleep training, Weaning and Infant classes.