You’ve done it! You’ve made it through 9 months of pregnancy, delivered your beautiful baby into the world, you’ve had the all clear from hospital to go home, you’ve completed the first car journey and you’re safely snuggled up in the comforts of your own home. Now what….??
The first night at home with your baby can be exciting and frightening at the same time.
Trying to figure out life as a new mum after what is usually an exhausting stay in hospital can be very tricky.
My first night at home reached a pinnacle when my husband woke to find me stood in the middle of our bedroom, franticly rocking LJ from side to side whilst sobbing. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was scared, tired and emotional.
That night there were some items that I was really glad I had, and some that I didn’t have and really needed.
I’ve put together a list of items in the hope that it might help other mamas out there to prepare a little for that first night, and the many more to come.
I didn’t have a night light the first night at home with LJ, so I kept the bedside lamp on all night – which definitely didn’t help anyone to sleep. A night light is super helpful, I wanted to see LJ each time she made a noise (basically all night) also, when I fed her it meant I didn’t have to keep turning the light on which would wake her up more. You can get some funky lights that project the solar system onto the ceiling but we just went for a simple, no frills, plug in from Boots which worked really well for us.
In my opinion, one nipple cream rules over all others – Laniosh. Get it, smother it on your nips, don’t run out of it, and keep your fingers crossed that no cracks or blisters develop. But if you do crack or blister…don’t despair….
Again, I didn’t have these the first night, but after a tearful conversation with my mum the next morning, she turned up armed with a box. They are very good at relieving the pain of cracks and blisters and feel very soothing. I used Multi Mam nipple compress.
I had a very simple V shaped cushion that I bought during my pregnancy for support. There are multiple uses post birth for these cushions:
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Baby prop
- Push both ends together and sit on it, with the gap strategically placed under your lovely (bruised and possibly stitched) lady parts for much needed relief.
- If you don’t use it as a breastfeeding pillow you can wrap it around your back for good posture when you are feeding.
- And later, when your baby is practicing sitting on it’s own, you can place it behind them to prevent those banged heads.
That first night I found the cushion really helpful with my breastfeeding positioning.
Energy bars / fig rolls / nuts
Anything you can keep on your bedside table to snack on in the middle of the night – those nighttime feeds burn calories and can leave you craving a roast dinner at 4am. Make sure you keep your energy up!
A BIG one. I lost count of the amount of times I asked my husband to get up and get me a glass of water. Breastfeeding is thirsty work and once you’re under a feeding baby, you’re trapped! Get a bottle that you can keep by your bedside table, preferably with a sports cap so you don’t spill it and wake up your baby – trust me!
Where you want your baby to sleep is a very personal decision and if you can pre plan this I recommend you do. I decided to have LJ in a bedside cot that fitted to the side of my bed and allowed me to have her right next to me. This also meant I didn’t have to get out of bed to pick her up and feed, I just slid her across onto my boob.
Newborns aren’t fond of silence, the womb is a pretty noisy environment and they’ve been used to all those noises for the last nine months. You can get some brilliant white noise apps to download onto your phone, I use the Dream Sleep Sounds app and on that first night I used the “womb” sound which seemed to really settle her.
I was an E cup before I became pregnant and was a G by the time LJ arrived. I didn’t appreciate how painful my breasts were going to become after birth and I needed 24 hour support. I slept in a soft crop top from M&S, one that was easy to manoeuvre a boob out of. Some breastfeeding bras can be worn at night as well – just make sure they don’t have any wire in them.
Everything hurt after my labour – even my knuckles! Ask your midwife or GP what painkillers are safe for you to use, and don’t suffer unnecessarily. Always seek professional advice when it comes to medicine.
Getting through that first night at home can be tough, but waking up in the morning with your little one in your own environment is really wonderful.
Just remember, you can do this, trust your instincts and never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.