The First Days at Home with Your New Baby

By: Gail Metcalf


First Days at Home

The first days home from the hospital are just as essential to you as they are to your baby. As new parents you will have gone through an exhilarating birth that will have left you exhausted and excited at the same time. As a new mommy you will be emotionally and physically exhausted. As a new daddy you will be overwhelmed by all your new responsibilities. The first days back at home are a time to take a few deep breaths, sit back and relax, and take time just for you.

During your first days at home it may be wise to limit the number of visitors that you allow into your home. Other than your immediate family and good friends you might want to ask others to wait a week or two before they arrive with gifts and wanting to hold the new baby. You need time to get your strength back and settle into the routine that a sleeping, feeding, and often crying baby brings into your life.

The Baby Blues

As a new mommy you will need to pay close attention to the way that you are feeling so that those “baby blues” don’t creep up and surprise you. It is normal to feel a bit out of sorts and sad for the first few weeks after giving birth. Your body is going through major physical changes after the birth of your baby. Your hormones are changing and you likely will be feeling the lack of sleep. All of this can have an affect on the way that you feel. You should be patient with yourself, understand that all these feelings are normal, and that in a couple of weeks things will feel better for you. If you find that you are feeling more depressed over time, and find it difficult to care for yourself and your family, you should consult your doctor so that he/she can determine if you are suffering from postpartum depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

• Overwhelming feelings of sadness and depression accompanied by crying.
• Having little or no energy.
• Feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
• Having no interest in your baby or being overly concerned and worried about your baby.
• Weight gain accompanied with overeating.
• Weight loss accompanied by not eating.
• Feeling afraid of hurting yourself or your baby.
• Insomnia.
• Oversleeping.

It may help to talk about your feelings with others. Talk with family and friends. You can find out if there are any parenting groups in your community. Or contact the National Mental Health Association for a list of local affiliates at 1-800-969-NMHA or visit their Web site at www.nmha.org/. Churches and religious organizations in your community may be able to help you find people to talk to. You may also want to meet personally with your doctor to discuss the situation.

If you have friends or family who will help you with meals, housework or shopping, now is the time to ask them. It is also a good time to let your baby's father help out.

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