i thought, based on my experience of our first week together, i’d write out my list of “essentials”—would-not-want-to-do-without-these-things—when it comes to giving yourself the space and freedom to drink in the magic of the first days of life…pure magic…pure love…pure ecstasy. sacred days.

  • find a room in your home that can be converted into a dedicated space for “baby central”; this means having all the necessary baby goods within an arms reach, so to speak (i.e. diapering station, chair/foot rest/pillows for nursing/feeding, bassinette, etc accessible without needing to leave the room, go up and down stairs, etc.).  it also means mom resting, partner tending to mom’s needs around food, water (lots of water!), and ice cream–of course.
  • don’t bother fussing with dressing baby those first few days.  for one, they don’t usually like to be dressed and undressed, but even moreso…save yourself the extra work b/c your lactation consultant will more than likely tell you to feed skin to skin, especially when you and your little one are in those early days of learning.  instead of clothes, swaddle your baby up in a couple of flannel blankets and maybe put a kiddo.potomus swaddle over that…keeps them warm; saves you energy and the stress of hearing your baby wail while you change their outfit.  plus, this makes diaper changing that much easier, too.
  • speaking of diapers, don’t stress if your baby doesn’t poop right away after the meconium has passed, if you are breastfeeding your baby, that is.  according to my naturopathic pediatrician, bf babies always poop, it’s just a matter of when…our little bear didn’t poop for a few days and i was worried, but oh dear let me tell you…………..everything is working just fine in that dept now–more on that later! (of course, always follow your instincts and check with your pediatrician, just in case.)
  • hunker down…cozy up…and fall in love with your baby and your partner…the rest of the world can wait b/c this is your time to bond as a family.  visitors are well-meaning, but will only cause stress in the long run…even though unintentionally.  these days will go so quickly and trust me…everyone will still be hankerin’ to see your little bundle a few weeks later.  babies just do that to people.
  • and that reminds me, i can’t tell you the stress you’ll save yourself if you stock up on freezer meals before your baby is due…when making dinner, just double your recipe and freeze one.  you’ll not regret this one bit…even if you have a whole host of people dropping off meals just after your baby is born, eventually that will stop, but you’ll still need to eat!
  • take turns with your partner in caring for your baby so that each of you can go to the guest room, the sofa, or an air mattress—a tiny bit away from your sweet baby and her precious noises that will keep you from being able to truly fall asleep—not forever, just long enough to get a nap so that you’ll be able to handle a potential crying jag or diaper blowout with grace…not to mention being able to face the challenges of breastfeeding if you and your baby need extra practice with latching on, etc.  sleep deprivation can make us begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed and paranoid, among other more difficult to manage emotional states of being…by giving yourself a slot of time for “interrupted” (not sure there’s such a thing anymore!) sleep.  you might be surprised how difficult it is to relax into sleep when you can hear your baby’s every sound.  i know i was.
  • with regard to breastfeeding, if you are planning to do so………..have the name and number of a lactation consultant handy in case you get home and bump into some difficulties.  even better, contact her before your baby is born to see if she will do home visits to your area and to see if you feel comfortable with them over the phone, etc.  you may need the help and you won’t want to delay on getting it if you start to feel like your nipples are about to be bitten off!  when the breastfeeding is painful, it’s very easy to begin to resent your baby’s need to be fed and it can also  cause off the charts anxiety, etc.  not to mention, the interference with the all-important and amazing bonding process.  plus, when the baby is properly latched, you will feel a delightful sense of feel-good hormones coursing through your veins—now, why delay that experience?! 🙂

so, these are my top essentials for making your first week just that much more simple and exceedingly, delightfully, deliciously magical.  what things would you add to the list of must have’s/must do’s?

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