Our first full week at home came went smoothly enough. I think with each child, generally speaking, the additional challenges and juggling come with more experience to help guide you. For this reason I have not found this postpartum experience to take more effort or provide more stress. Hubby took three weeks off of work and that proved essential to us easing back into our new normal. He focused mostly on our two preschoolers and me so I could focus on the challenges of breastfeeding this third time around (next weekâ€™s blog) and C-section recovery.
I camped out on our couch for about a month for each pregnancy. Lying down and getting up took extra effort and I wanted to avoid straining myself much in those first crucial weeks of healing. Hubby said his job was to defend the borders of Baby Central Station.
My central station includes a variety of essentials to make it through:
- Blanket and pillow, big enough for sleeping but small enough to not get in the way. Also great for propping up legs, elbows, etc. for ideal comfort during feeding
- Nursing pillow for both nursing or when weâ€™ve had to bottle feed from time to time
- Big insulated cup (32 ounces) with lid and straw. No sweating for cold drinks, lid for protection from other kids and random incidents
- Remote controls
- Wipes, wet bag, and diapers (I eventually moved the wet bag to the bathroom once able to walk more easily)
- Camera and cord to connect it to myâ€¦
- Safe space for baby to sleep (co-sleeper for us)
- A few changes of clothes for baby, extra sheet for co-sleeper, and an extra shirt for me
- Burp cloths
- Nipple cream, nursing pads, lip balm, lotion
I was camped out at the station most of my day during those first weeks getting up to bathe, use the restroom, and other small simple tasks. Recovery does involve moving around to help foster healing. Aside from having hubby and family around to help in key ways, I also found a few things eased my first couple of weeks at home:
- Drop the act of independence. Take a deep breath and gracefully ask for help. Say thank you but donâ€™t feel indebted. You are doing indispensable work â€śjustâ€ť sitting with baby. Include children, if any, in simple tasks to assist you. My boys would grab a diaper or take my plate to the counter and enjoyed the opportunity to be included.
- When possible (I know, youâ€™re tired), set up your space for the next feed. Your future self will thank you. If you wait, baby will be waking and fussy, not sleepy and content. Fill up that cup of water, grab more burp cloths, or whatever else you need.
- Get away from your spot from time to time. We packed up the kids and hubby drove us (since I couldnâ€™t at first) just to get a drink or small treat from the drive thru. This helped ward off some cabin fever for me while staying relatively simple. It also allowed me to slowly gain confidence in my healing. Very short walks outside for a few minutes also gave me space to sustain the stresses of the first weeks.
- Let go of expectations around dishes, clothes, clean floors, and messes in general. Sometimes I was too slow-moving to get to my toddler before he wrote on the walls with crayon. Other times I sat nursing as I watched my preschooler make a mess with play-dough or his bowl of popcorn. With most things you can always get to cleaning/fixing/asking someone else to deal with it later.
Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four, and now a newborn gal. She is taking in every moment of every day because, letâ€™s be honest, sheâ€™s not getting much sleep.Â