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Preparing to Bring Your Baby Home

I was 21 when my husband and I headed to the hospital to give birth to our first baby.I wanted to go unmedicated and breastfeed and knew how to do the breathing. 

I ended up being induced, not really knowing what that entailed. I ended up with an epidural that only worked on one side. I lost a lot of blood and they had to use forceps to pull her out. The Dr did an episiotomy I was unaware of at the time and I had to have a catheter to pee for the next 24 hours because I was so swollen. My first birth experience was not amazing. But as soon as they handed her to me with her head full of hair I knew she was mine.

When we left the hospital I couldn’t sit without a pillow, my milk hadn’t come in, she wasn’t latching well and we spent the first 3 days crying. I felt like every part of my body had fallen down about 2 feet and swelled or leaked or bled or ached. We didn’t sleep, she wouldn’t eat and I was like well this is unexpected!

It is normal for you to feel like you’re swimming through sand during those first few weeks. It’s normal to be sore, tired, confused and unprepared. You just don’t need to do it alone. Expecting parents spend a lot of time preparing for delivery which I am a HUGE proponent of. But today let’s go over a few things you can do to prepare to start life with your plus one.

Preparing the Sleep Space

  • We all look at Pinterest to get ideas for our perfect nursery. The reality is that the AAP recommends your baby should sleep in your room for at least the first 6 months. So when we talk about setting up the sleep space we’re thinking about where your baby will sleep in your bedroom. I will share a few of my favorite products, I am an affiliate of these products. 
    • If you decide to go straight to the crib invest in a firm and flat crib mattress with a fitted sheet. The only thing that should be in the crib is the mattress and your baby. No extra blankets, mobiles, toys, music makers etc.
    • For the first few weeks it will be most convenient to have baby at arms reach so place the crib at the foot of your bed or even sharing a wall with you. 
    • Consider using a bassinet or co-sleeper for the first few months to keep your baby close while ensuring they have their own safe sleep surface.

Understanding Wake Windows

  • One of the biggest surprises new parents realize is that a newborn needs to be asleep at least every 45 minutes. This short 45-60 minute wake window (the amount of time your baby is awake between one nap and the next) lasts until 6 weeks old.
    • Newborns (0-2 months) typically have wake windows ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour. As they grow, their wake windows gradually extend, with 3-4-month-olds averaging around 1.5-2 hours of wakefulness.

Monitoring Weight Gain

  • Feeding is the companion to sleep. If one is off the other will naturally struggle. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, keeping track of your baby’s weight and consumption is important. During the first few weeks, it’s normal for newborns to lose some weight before they start gaining again.
    • Most babies regain their birth weight by two weeks of age, and then continue to gain weight steadily thereafter.
    • Breastfed babies may gain weight more slowly than formula-fed babies initially, but as long as they’re having an adequate number of wet and dirty diapers and are meeting developmental milestones, it’s usually not a cause for concern.
    • Your baby’s tummy is tiny but growing quickly. Get my free stomach size chart to help you know how much they should be taking in as they grow. 

Surviving the First 12 Weeks

The first few months with a newborn can fell overwhelming, but with the right support and resources, you can begin to feel more confident as a new parent and trust your instincts. After bringing 4 baby’s home myself and getting certified as a postpartum educator and sleep consultant and created a guide, “Newborn Beginnings,” which offers practical tips and advice on surviving the first 12 weeks. From soothing techniques to establishing feeding routines, this guide covers everything you need to know to care for your newborn and adjust to parenthood. I want you to have tools in your toolbox. There is a learning curve that comes with parenting. Be patient with yourself, your partner and your baby. You’re all new! Being new is exciting and difficult. Book a free sleep assessment with me if you want support during your transition!

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