If you’re preparing for maternity leave, then you’re probably trying to decide if you should just work up until your water breaks (like I did… more on that later) or take a week or two before the due date and hope that baby doesn’t take too long in the womb. This post is written for the first week home with baby and the details that might surprise you.
The sleep deprivation, the engorged breasts, the blood, the lingering baby bump… you’ve heard the horror stories. And I want you to know it’s not as bad as they say.
But there is definitely a transition involved. It won’t be over in a week, but that first week home can seem intimidating if you don’t know what to expect.
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Expect to be Topless
I’m going to go ahead and shamelessly say that you should definitely try breastfeeding on for size. Whether it works for you or not, it’s a wonderful opportunity for so many awesome benefits. But even if you aren’t totally sold on the idea, plan on being topless.
Why? Because your milk is going to come in anyway. That, and skin-to-skin is amazing. Babies thrive with skin-to-skin snuggles
This might even be a trick to successful breastfeeding. Keep those boobies easily accessible at any point in time, and you’ll be on your way to free food and an instant pacifier. Ya, get excited.
Consider investing in a sassy robe or kimono! They’re the perfect coverup for when you really need a good picture.
Expect to Offend Someone
That relative that you established boundaries with? She just pulled up at your house…and brought her friend to meet your 3-day old baby. Keep in mind, you’re topless and milk is literally spraying through your shirt.
What do you do?
Shut it DOWN. Send her away. It doesn’t matter if “it will only be a minute”. You aren’t running a petting zoo, and a 10-20 minute warning call is not too much to ask. The baby could be sleeping. YOU could be sleeping. And you need to take care of your needs, because she clearly isn’t going to.
Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself and your baby during this fragile/healing state. It’s only temporary, and her feelings will heal faster than your perineum.
Expect to Order Takeout
No matter how many snacks you stashed and freezer meals you prepared, you can expect to order takeout. You can finally eat sushi again! And I’m betting you aren’t getting many offers for the food you want RIGHT NOW.
Even if you did get a mealtrain arranged. Your body has been put through the ringer, and you need fuel around the clock. I think it’s safe to say you deserve a little caloric indulgence. Postpartum fitness isn’t suggested before 6 weeks anyway. So you get a free pass!
Expect to Feel Overwhelmed
There will be moments of everyday that just get the best of you. Don’t beat yourself up. Even if you have help from everyone you know, you can expect to feel overwhelmed during the first week home with baby.
As prepared as you may be, it’s going to happen. But that’s just because you haven’t gotten a full 8 hours of sleep in days, your body is uncharted territory (until further notice), your Aunt Sheila won’t stop calling, and the takeout hasn’t arrived yet.
Under normal circumstances, you’d handle this like a pro. But these aren’t normal circumstances. You aren’t weak. You’re just tired. And it’s all temporary.
- How to Find the Perfect Pumping Schedule
- 3 Things I will NEVER Apologize for on Maternity Leave
- 5 Controversial Tips to Enjoy a Short Maternity Leave
- Bracing Yourself for the First Week Back to Work
Expect to Wonder When you’ll look like you used to
It is very exciting to watch pounds drop before you leave the hospital (my baby weighed 7lbs, but I only lost 5…??). It’s even more exciting to research all the ways other moms lost their weight. The idea of getting back to normal is intoxicating. But you probably didn’t think you’d be so eager so soon.
I remember being 13 weeks postpartum (hanging on to 40 pounds of baby weight) and asking my mom friend how she had a 2 year old AND a six-pack. “It takes time” were her words of wisdom. And it’s true. It’s not fun to hear, but it’s a nice reminder to worry about other things for a while. In the mean time, consider getting a postpartum girdle for a little confidence boost. This is the one I used, and it was definitely encouraging and reassuring to notice it fit better as time went on lol.
Bottom line: You will look normal again, but not for 6-12 months.
Expect to Be OBSESSED with a helpless little person
Ya… so I’ve been trying to remind you to take care of yourself this whole time, simply because it is very easy to forget what you went through. You will suddenly become enamored with the sweetest, most innocent, loving little piece of you and it can be a huge surprise.
Going from woman to mama is a massive change, as we all know. But we aren’t all prepared to completely throw our well-being to the wind. It’s scary to think about how much they need you, and that’s exactly what you need to do. Remember how important you are to them, and remind yourself to stay together for them. Babies need their mamas!