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Create Great First Week Memories

The first week at home with your newborn is a precious time.

You will never get another first week, and your memories will remain for a lifetime. You want to live in the moment, enjoying yourself... unencumbered. Being mindful of all that is good in your life.

Self-confidence and a positive attitude are the goals. Your healing, your milk production and your ability to enjoy these precious moments depend upon it. Now, during the last month of your pregnancy, is the time to gather your support team so you can achieve your goals.

When asked “Who/what do you wish you had during your first week at home with your newborn?” The most common answer was, by far, better breastfeeding support, followed by more help with household management.

Carole: 62, mother of 1 said “... breastfeeding help. I was all consumed with the how and the when and the conflicting advice from friends and even the pediatrician. I wish I had more support for the most important thing... feeding my baby.”

Siobhan: 37, mother of 3 replied "...help with breastfeeding.  Which I finally got, but more than one session with a lactation consultant, in my home, during my first week would have been fantastic.”

Marni: 22, mother of 1 said “... my baby was a premie, she didn’t come home for 2 weeks. I was recovering from a c-section, pumping, traveling, crying... I am still having a hard time making it all work...”

It is abundantly clear that breastfeeding success is paramount to your well-being and your feelings of self-assuredness. If your baby has sucked and swallowed until he was content – then slipped off the nipple, all milk-mouthed and sound asleep – so asleep that he isn’t going to awaken when you put him down... aaah... What a great feeling!

A board certified lactation consultant can show you the path to successful breastfeeding and a postpartum doula can take care of you, your nutrition and ease you into motherhood, full-time.

A Lactation Consultant... will meet with you prenatally, answer all of your breastfeeding questions and dispel the negative myths. She is your source of science based, positive thinking... your hands on – feed my baby – support person. Pre-arrange for a consultation shortly after you give birth to get the best start, learning to avoid hospital protocol barriers to early breastfeeding that you will likely encounter along your way. So smart!

A Postpartum Doula... will support you and your newborn at home. This is the person who makes it possible for you to rest in bed, all day, with your baby. She will guide you through your first few days at home after having given birth, inspire your confidence and answer questions about your self-care and how you can best care for your baby. A prenatal visit is a great way to get everything set up... this way she can shop and be ready to cook nutritious foods designed just for you - to support your healing and your milk supply on your first day home together, as a new family.

The list of wise ideas:

You will need supplies... and you will have folks asking you “what should I get, what do you need?” Be Bold – tell them what you want.

Ask your partner, friends and family if they would prepare ready to reheat foods, all wrapped up, labeled and freezer ready...” I would love 2 person portions of your delicious lasagna, Mom, or maybe that creamy carrot and ginger soup.” Many people enjoy giving gifts of food.

Host a pre-baby party with a freezer foods theme or a basic baby clothes theme. Ask for 100% cotton onesies, leggings, drawstring gowns, socks, burp cloths and blankets, newborn through 6 months. Stay minimal and you don’t need a baby bathtub!

Ask for these simple, non-exciting, yet indispensable supplies...

1. 12 rolls of paper towels.

2. Plastic bags of all sizes, from sandwich to trash.

3. Sensitive skin laundry detergent (and 2 rolls of quarters, if needed for the machines)... you will have more laundry than you thought.

4. 2 Thermos bottles. One for you and one for baby.

5. 2 rolls of non-sterile cotton. Once for you and one for baby.

6. A bottle of witch hazel. It will be warmed up, put in the thermos and kept bedside with the non-sterile cotton for soothing soaks to you perineum - as necessary.

7. A package of disposable sheet protectors = 23" x 36", for under you and baby wherever you set yourself down. Fewer loads of laundry is a big plus.

8. 6 containers of baby wipes, the sensitive skin kind, and the warmer for them... Trust me on this one. If you choose warm water on cotton for diaper change cleaning, you 2nd thermos and cotton roll comes into play.

9. Diapers, all sizes, all absorbencies... You will eventually use them.

10. Breastfeeding support products... Mommy Knows Best offers breastmilk storage bottles with insulated travel cases and breast pads... Ask a friend for the fist set or send them to this site to pick a surprise gift for you.

Ask for the gift of companionship or baby-minding.

Sometimes you feel like a chat and sometimes you don’t. Ask for the gift of time, for a friend to come over and share a cup of tea or bring lunch for both of you. If you want quiet time alone, ask that your friend hold your baby, sing to your baby, read to your baby in between feedings... in another room.

Be kind to your body...practice mindfulness. Start now.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/mindfulness.

Slow, controlled breathing has been used for centuries to promote mental calming. Breathing slowly and mindfully activates the brain to send out chemicals that slow down stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. As simple as it sounds, breathing mindfully takes practice. Focusing on your breathing during physical activities and especially during labor can help you become more aware of your body and enable to use your energy productively. It starts with a simple breath.

Try this exercise:

Sit up straight and place your hands on your abdomen, just above your belly button. Let your fingertips touch lightly. Exhale fully through your mouth. Breathe in deeply through your nose and into your belly, so your fingertips start to spread apart. Hold your breath for two to five seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Match the length of your inhale with the length of the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner for five minutes today and increase by a minute each day - up to ten minutes a day, twice a day. Start now. Really.

Paula Zindler BSN RN IBCLC

Comments

  • Posted On July 29, 2017 by Howard Meister

    More great advice! Keep it coming!!

  • Posted On July 29, 2017 by Carole Wasson

    I had my only child 28 years ago, and boy, do I wish I had this advice then. I especially like the idea of practical items as gifts as opposed to special occasion clothing that only gets used once and then outgrown. There’s so much anxiety as a first time mom about breast feeding, and seems like such a basic thing to be able to access advice about.

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