Have diapers ready and clothing and bedding washed. When you have to come home and start organizing everything, it will put you under unnecessary stress and that’s not good for you or the baby! If everything is ready when you first get home, you and your baby will feel relaxed.
CREATE A SNUG SLEEPING AREA
Remember, your baby has been in a very tight space, so being placed into a big, sparse crib straight away can be a little jarring. It’s absolutely fine to put him in a crib, however, roll up a couple of thin blankets and place them on either side (at his waistline or below) so he feels more secure. I always like to place a new baby across the crib instead of lengthways – it feels a little cozier. If you have a bassinet, you can still add a couple of thin rolled blankets.
PLAY SOME TUNES
A playlist of soothing music creates a calm ambience for the whole family. The first couple of months after birth are considered the fourth trimester, so let it feel like it.
KEEP VISITORS AT BAY
This first week is a big transition for all of you, so don’t get bogged down with feeling the need to entertain. If family and friends would like to pop by to drop off food, let them do so, but please express your need to relax and adjust. This way you get to enjoy every precious moment of that first week. You will be tired enough without having to hang out.
GET REST YOURSELF
Although very important, it’s often a little difficult when you are running on the euphoria of having your baby and telling the world about your amazing new arrival. Let Dad step in and handle the announcement calls.
CUDDLE A LOT
This is a beautiful time to help create a bond (hold her, talk to her, snuggle her!) with your little one. Don’t worry about trying to figure out her different cries right now. Too many new moms get a little stressed about this. Just trust your gut. If you feel they’re hungry, feed them. If you feel they need to be held, hold them. A mother’s instincts are incredibly strong so you’re probably right.
If you are breastfeeding, nurse every 2-3 hours as your baby asks for food. Your milk supply is established in the first couple of weeks, so the more your baby eats the better. But remember, when you do put your baby to the breast, you want it to be a good feeding, otherwise he may become a snacker instead of a hearty eater!
KEEP A SCHEDULE
Have a chart ready so you can keep track of when you fed, how much you fed and, if you’re breastfeeding, which side you started on. It’s also important to stay on top of when your baby pees and poops. Believe me, mommy brain will cause you to forget things very quickly, so having a record makes it easier to make sure your baby is doing everything he needs to do.
According to many studies, a swaddled baby feels more safe and secure. Their little nervous systems are very immature right now, and they startle very easily. Wrapping your little one up can help calm these reflexes so she’s much more restful.
CHECK THE LIST
If your baby is crying a lot, run down the list of reasons (hungry, needs diaper changed, has to burp, tired, etc.) first so you know you’ve tried everything to soothe him before calling the pediatrician.
Known as the Baby Nurturer, Moon is one of the most respected experts in the baby care industry. Using a calm, results-oriented approach, she’s also helped a few celebs (Elton John, Elizabeth Berkley, etc.) make it through those first few weeks of new parenthood worry free. And now you can find her helpful advice in her new book, Cherish the First 6 Weeks: A Plan That Creates Calm, Confident Parents and a Happy, Secure Baby, or on HLN’s Raising America as their Nanny on Demand expert.