If you are reading this post you might be wondering why this mama is focusing on the most exciting night of your life. Why would you need to learn how to survive your first night home with your baby? What haven’t people been telling you?
Bringing your beautiful new baby into your home is one of the most incredible moments of your life. You have imagined this day for almost 10 months, or longer if you have been dreaming of being a mama or tried to conceive for years, and you can’t wait to just be home snuggling your baby.
If you are even a little bit like me, you have researched everything, I mean EVERTHING about pregnancy and having a baby. You have your hospital bag ready and everything is in little baskets all ready to go for when your baby comes home. You are prepared and excited!
This was me, for sure.
I had waited years to be a mama and had 4 miscarriages. I was not going to miss any detail that I could control and wanted to ensure I brought Eliana into this world.
So, I was shocked when I brought her home and my little fantasy of the three of us laying on our bed together and sleeping and snuggling- laughed at me in my face. Well, maybe more like smacked me in my face.
This is not to scare or worry you. you have enough anxiety during pregnancy. I am providing you with some valuable reading while you are awake during those insomnia pregnancy nights. Maybe I’m not as entertaining as the latest trend on YouTube, but hopefully you will find it helpful and maybe give you a few sympathy laughs at my humor along the way.
If you are reading this post and thinking, “Jackie, I had a great first night at home, why are you talking to women about how to survive your first night home with your baby?” Please know I am genuinely so incredibly happy for you!
Also, you need share your wisdom and tricks to help those of us who were maybe a little more…. overwhelmed, neurotic? Either way, please share how your night was successful. I’d love to hear from you!
For the rest of you, if you think you might need to be a little more prepared, just in case. Get ready, I am about to lay some truth on you for how to survive your first night home with your baby.
How To Survive Your First Night Home with Your Baby
When you walk into your home, you may feel completely overwhelmed with emotions.
Can I just say hormones! And aren’t we lucky that having our bodies pumped full of fertility medications makes us even crazier than the typical hormonal new mom? Another perk for us.
I suggest stocking up on a case of tissues, maybe just use a towel, if needed. Get ready for some crying, crying, and more crying-and I mean from you, not just your baby.
I actually cried within minutes of getting into our house. We set Eliana down on our bed in her car seat and it just hit me. We had a baby in OUR home. I had dreamed of this for years and here she was, in our home. Insert “tears streaming down face” emoji and the ugliest cry ever.
My husband even recorded it, so now I can’t ever forget just how blotchy and puffy my face can get when I am this emotional. Thanks for that, babe.
I was so overcome with immense joy that I had a difficult time controlling any aspect of my emotions. I was not prepared for that level of love or the intensity at which I felt that love.
Looking back, I am not sure I could have done anything differently to control my crazy hormones, but just having an understanding that I was going to be completely uncontrollable would have helped me embrace it better.
I would have given myself more grace, though. It is so important to love yourself. Even when you are 100% devoted and focused on your new baby, you must always love yourself first. That will give you the strength and confidence to tackle all of those hard moments when you think you just can’t. Remember the “enough” phrase-you are enough mama and you are the perfect mama for your baby.
You may feel crazy. I don’t mean Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted kind of crazy, but more like when “you can’t turn your brain off” kind of crazy.
You may have all or most of the following thoughts:
- Is something wrong with my baby?
- Is something going to happen to my baby?
- Wait-is she breathing?
- Has she been sleeping too long?
- Why won’t she sleep?
- Will I ever sleep again?
- Did she poop again? Is that color of poop normal? Why is it so sticky?
The list goes on and on. And remember this is night one at home. You have left the comfort of the nurses being a call light away and people checking on you and reassuring you that you are doing great and your baby is ok.
Doubt will consume you. You will want to be perfect for this little human that you are now responsible for. You will forget everything you’ve read in all those articles and books and second guess everything you do.
Patience and Understanding
My number one advice is to give yourself patience and understanding-remember what you have just gone through and realize how badass you are! You can do this mama! You are exactly the mom you need to be for your child. That is truly all that matters.
It is also super helpful to have an experienced mama who you can contact at all hours-you will need that go to person. This should be someone who is supportive of YOU your first night home with your new baby. I was lucky enough to have a friend who had a baby one year older than me and was incredibly helpful and supportive.
“Mom Brain” is Real
Your brain and memory will fail you, it’s cruel really. I remember before being pregnant, I bragged about my stellar memory. During pregnancy, I couldn’t even complete a thought or walk into a room and remember what I needed. I was convinced (or maybe it was hopeful) that my brain would work again.
Welp, after having pregnancy brain, you now get “mom brain”. It’s real, and I promise you- you can’t remember details at all.
I remember wanting to take the hospital log sheets home with me. These little sheets let me quickly see when she pooped, peed, ate, slept, etc. They were so helpful. I didn’t have to remember anything.
Within hours of being home and not remembering which breast she ate from last, I needed help. I coudn’t even remember if I moved the “breast feeding” bracelet to the correct arm after she ate-seriously, it was this bad!
I was able to find a really helpful app. It was a life saver!!! I used it for the first 15 months. (I am a crazy , detailed mom, I know, I know)
It’s called MammaBaby- breast feeding App for tracking. But it tracks so much more than breastfeeding.
This app allows you to track the following:
- Feedings – has breast feeding-sides and timer, bottle feeding time and oz, and solid food time and amount
- Diapers-wet, poopy or both. It even has 12 options to describe the poopy! (welcome to mommyhood)
- Sleeping-start and stop and the duration. You don’t have to do the math!
I can’t express how much having an app can help your memory during your first night home with your baby. It also has been so much fun to look back on and see the growth of Eliana and the little milestones. This was one technical thing that truly helped me throughout her first year.
Slow as a Snail
Well, maybe you won’t actually be moving as slow as a snail, but you might feel like it. Depending on your labor and delivery, your pain experience will vary, but for the majority, you won’t be able to move very fast. Don’t expect to be hopping out of bed and rushing around or being super productive. Showering and brushing your teeth will be enough at this point. (and for the next year!)
I do recommend having as much as possible at your fingertips.
- Your phone and phone charger– for all needs. (100 cute pics, tracking the necessities, texting your experienced mom friend, social media for when you can’t fall back asleep, etc.)
- Tissue-remember all that crying I talked about?
- Water-You will want to have a gallon of water. You will be sooooo thirsty, especially if you are breastfeeding. Like “you can’t possibly ever drink enough water again” thirsty. I liked the Trudeau Plastic Water Bottle 24 oz, BPA Free water bottle for the non-slip grip and the flexilbe straw.
- Healthy snacks are a must! My go to snack was trail mix. I needed something at the bedside to quickly stuff my face with after nursing and go back to sleep. My husband made a quick and easy one using the customizable recipe at The Healthy Maven. I kept mine very basic with almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews, pretzels, a tiny bit of dark chocolate and walnuts. Trail mix was my friend and definitely got me through that first night.
- Keep chapstick/lip balm nearby. For some reason your lips seem as though they can no longer hydrate themselves.
- Dim light for night feedings. I absolutely loved the Meridian Electric Tap lights. They were bright enough for me to change her diaper and feed her, but not so bright that we were shocked wide awake from the light.
There are many other items you will want to have ready for that first night home with your baby. Check out this helpful post from See Jenny Go- Your Postpartum Checklist: The Essentials for You for a specific checklist of what supplies you will want to have ready before your first night home with your baby.
I could definitely go on and on about so many little things you may want to be prepared for but I know we are all different and have different experiences. I have highlighted what I wish I would’ve known and been better prepared for, in hopes this will ease some of your anxiety.
Most importantly, I want you to try your hardest to just enjoy the moment with your new family. Enjoy the simple beauty in that new life you are holding. Enjoy the fact you are finally a mama and that little baby is all yours.
I hope this information is helpful for you and you more than survive your first night home with your baby. If you have any other questions or ideas to help other new mamas-please leave a comment!