You are sure to be excited about bringing your newborn baby home. This is completely normal, but be aware that you can make the most of your few days in the maternity ward to prepare for the return home. Here are several recommendations to best prepare for life with your new arrival!
Get ready for the return home
A few hours before leaving the hospital, the midwife and the doctor will pay your a visit. Make sure you have all the documents necessary for your release, as well as your prescriptions for contraception or painkillers. The hospital will also provide you with guidelines for taking care of your baby, and recommendations for either breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
Base your routines around the rhythms of your newborn
As soon as the baby falls asleep, make sure you lie down as well. At night, go to bed early and take two naps during the day. Switch off your telephone and explain to your loved ones that you will not be available before the end of the day.
Get the daddy involved to feed and put the baby to sleep. Encourage him to take paternity leave if possible, in order to relieve the burden on you.
Take time for yourself
It is normal to be stressed and annoyed by the cries of your newborn baby. There is no need to feel guilty about wanting to take a little time for yourself, in order to rest and relax. By contrast, it is essential that you schedule half days here and there just for yourself. Entrust the baby to a babysitter or a friend, and go and do some sport, to to a spa or have an ice cream on the terrace with a good book.
Listen to your body
If you suffered from haemorrhoids during pregnancy, ask your treatment team to prescribe you painkillers, creams or anti-inflammatory ointments. At the same time, monitor your diet, eating plenty of fibre, dairy products and whole grain cereals. Constipation increases the risk of haemorrhoids.
Finally, if you suffer from heavy legs, back pain (which occurs in 50% of cases, due to poor posture during pregnancy), or if you notice heavy bleeding a few weeks after giving birth, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.
Get your shopping delivered
Minimise domestic tasks as much as possible. Get your partner to look after the cleaning, cooking and laundry, and take advantage of the baby’s naps to do your groceries online. Nowadays, it is very easy to order on the internet and get your food delivered directly to your home.
Cook balanced and varied meals. Go for fresh fruit and vegetables, and invite your friends over. These visits will do you great good, and help you feel connected with the world.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Professionals are there to help you. Check with your local authorities to find out about the possibilities of domestic support (particularly with housework). Costs can vary depending on your household income.
If you are concerned about your ability to take care of your baby, make contact with the medical team in the maternity hospital. They will direct you to the appropriate local supports. Many areas offer the support of a public health nurse, who can offer guidance on taking care of your newborn. In the very first few days, you can also consult a midwife in private practice, who may be able to come to your home. Check with your health insurance provider to see what cover they may offer.
Slowly reignite your sex life
It is perfectly normal not to want sex just after coming home from the maternity hospital. Neither the mind nor the body is in the mood. In fact, the genital area is generally sore and sensitive, and vaginal dryness is common, which makes sex difficult. Breastfeeding can also reduce the sex drive. It is no accident that many religions advise an abstinence period of 40 days after giving birth, to allow the lining of the uterus to be rebuilt. In any case, it is wise to wait until bleeding as stopped and until any wounds have fully healed before considering having sex again.
In terms of contraception, ovulation is theoretically possible from the fourth week after giving birth. To avoid another pregnancy, talk to your doctor who will be able to guide you.