Enjoy bonding with your newborn – and getting to grips with your new role as a mama – during those initial 24 hours at home
Put zero pressure on yourself to look good or even get dressed in the first 24 hours. ‘Don’t worry about what you look like,’ says health visitor Sheena Gofton. ‘Stay in your pyjamas.’
As well as being comfy, it’s a psychological reminder not to overdo it.
Treasure this special time
While it’s tempting to invite friends and family round so you can show off your newborn, limit visitors today – and for as long as you need to.
You need time to relax and bond with your baby so put the domestic goddess routine on hold.
If you do have guests make sure they’re the type to pitch in and make the tea of the type who won’t judge for going without.
Your baby will sleep a lot, but wake him every three or four hours for a feed.
Wake him every three or four hours for a feed
Write down the times you feed him if it helps you remember.
‘If he doesn’t stir by himself, wake him by tickling his feet,’ says Sheena. ‘Regular feeds encourage your milk production and his weight gain.’
Check his nappies
Forget about checking Facebook updates, nappy watch is your new obsession.
‘Newborn poo should be dark green, thick and tar-like,’ says Sheena. Change him before or after a feed.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll be extra hungry. Eat lean proteins and wholegrains for sustainable energy, and snacking on nuts will help, too.
Of course, whatever type of cake you fancy should be eaten too.
Get into good sleep habits
Start as you mean to go on. ‘Get into the habit of settling your newborn on his back before he goes to sleep in his cot or Moses basket,’ says Sheena.
Make sure he’s not wrapped too tightly, and keep the room around 16-20°C.
Sleep when your baby sleeps.
You may feel pretty excited right now, but your body has been through a lot and it’s important to rest, especially because you’ll have to look after your baby during the night.
Spending time just getting to know your baby is your key task. Enjoy skin-to-skin contact and simply looking at all his tiny uber-cute features while you connect with each other.
Stay in touch
Keep important phone numbers such as those for community midwives and breastfeeding support services nearby.
And write down any questions you have for the midwife, who’ll usually visit after you’ve been home for two days.
Take a break
Accept help – don’t try to do it all.
Take time out to have a bath. It’ll give you a rest and allow your partner to bond with your baby, too.