What a life changing week it has been! We were discharged at noon on Thursday after a 2 night hospital stay. We were so antsy to get home just because a typical hospital stay involves laying in bed all day and constantly being checked by a million different nurses. After labor, you don’t feel like walking around and you’re pretty much bed ridden until you’re dismissed. Going home meant we could sleep in our own bed, eat our own food and relax in a familiar space with no interruption. FYI: I left the hospital 15 pounds lighter than I came!
After we signed a million hospital papers, we dressed baby in his homecoming outfit – a pale Easter yellow onesie and matching monogrammed bib. Tyler had the car ready to go at the front of the hospital. We packed up baby in his carseat, and I sat in the back oohing and ahhing over cheeks and toes and that newborn baby smell. I can’t believe we get to finally take him home!
Since our family lives out of state, we had them stay at our house while we were in the hospital. They also stayed at the house for our first night home, and I’m so glad they did. I remember battling with the thought of wanting to have the house to ourselves, but it was so convenient and welcoming to have my parents and grandmother there. When we pulled into the garage, everyone came out to take baby and our luggage. My mom and grandmother had cleaned and organized things around the house and there was dinner on the stove – chicken and dumplings. Mmm! What made our homecoming even more special was that it was raining outside (my favorite kind of day). It was a chance to sit back and relax in my familiar chair and be tended to, because when you’re ladybits are stitched up and your back is in pain, being tended to is so nice!
The first night with baby was rough. Since we planned on him sleeping in our room for the first 6 months, we purchased a Graco Pack-N-Play bassinet, but we ran into issues with the firmness of the mattress. When we placed him on it, he started to roll and the pad seemed too soft. Since a soft pad could lead to a higher risk of SIDS, I was really uncomfortable with the thought of him sleeping on it. We ended up removing the bassinet part on top and putting him in the playpen part below where the pad became flatter and not as squishy.
That wasn’t the only issue we ran into. We were frustrated at why we were struggling to nail down a routine with him. How hard could it be? Feed him, change him, put him to bed. Piece of cake! But looking back now, I realize that we were still learning his sleeping habits and cries – was he hungry? How did his diaper look? Maybe he’s cold/hot? And when he cried, how would we soothe him? Swing him or lay him on his stomach? On top of it all, baby crying in the middle of the night while we’re disoriented and sleepy is tough! We probably got one to two hours of sleep during our first night.
On night 2 and every night after, it began getting easier. Tyler and I started communicating better and found our groove! Tyler was in charge of diaper changes, and I was in charge of breastfeeding (of course). We don’t have Cache on a schedule. Instead, we base our schedule off of his feeding cues, so a typical night would be : baby wakes us up at 10 PM, 12 AM, 2 AM, 4 AM, 6 AM, and so on and so forth. Tyler grabs him from the bassinet and changes his diaper (sometimes we tag team it). Then, he passes off the baby to me for feeding. On night 3, we found out that breastfeeding stimulated him to poop causing Tyler to make an unnecessary second diaper change, so we swapped our routine. Tyler would hand the baby to me first. Then, I would breastfeed. Lastly, we would change his diaper. He hates diaper changes more than anything in the world, so after a diaper change, Tyler would hand him back to me to rock or soothe back to sleep. Voila! It’s all about learning the baby’s likes and dislikes. Once you figure that out, you’re good to go!
Physically this week: my body feels sore. I was expecting an achy vagina, but this is different – my entire body hurts. My back aches, and I walk around like the hunchback of Notre Dame. I read that your body is used to carrying heavy in the front and after birth, you’re having to build up different muscles again. Also, my nipples are blistered and bleeding. Breastfeeding is so painful in the first week. I cried lots of tears, but as the days go on, I can slowly feel them healing. I’ve also corrected his latch, so that helps too. Take care of your tatas! I really planned ahead with breast therapy by purchasing Neosporin (only put a small amount on your nipple after baby feeds), gel pads, lanolin creams, etc. It’s worth the investment. We met with a pediatrician in the hospital during our stay and she told us, “the first two weeks of breastfeeding are really, really difficult but if you can get through those first two weeks, it’s so worth it.” That stayed with me during all the painful nights. In my opinion, the colostrum phase is the hardest phase. My colostrum didn’t flow as freely as milk, and I remember wondering if he was getting enough to eat.
On day 3 of being home, my milk came in and it feels exactly as people describe: hard bricks!! I purchased gel packs that can be frozen or heated for soothing engorgement, and I’ve really liked these. I freeze them and it offers much relief. It’s also helpful if you massage your breasts, which they teach you in the hospital, but it’s painful sometimes. The lactation consultant taught me to play “piano keys” on my breasts to loosen up engorgement. I’ve noticed that whichever breast I choose to feed baby on gets softer after our session – a good way of knowing you’ve given your baby milk! One night, I decided to skip the left breast because it was so chapped and later it began leaking everywhere. Take it from me – if you don’t take turns for each breast, they will go crazy and leak. That milk has to have somewhere to go! Use the BabyTracker app to track diaper changes and feedings. It’s amazing!
One thing I didn’t do that I wish I had done was this week was meal prep. We were fortunate to have my family bring us lasagna and chicken and dumplings to freeze, but after those things were gone and I didn’t want to cook, we resorted to a lot of takeout, which is not a bad thing! It just would’ve been one less thing to worry about. I honestly thought I would be up for cooking but after suffering from back pain, I was not even going to attempt.
We did something really cool this week and that was ordering groceries through the Shipt app. Look it up in the app store and download it- it’s so cool! You can either choose between a monthly membership or an annual membership. Once you’ve picked your membership, it prompts you to type in your address and the app syncs that with your closest grocery store. From there, you make a grocery list and submit it where a member of Shipt will shop and deliver the groceries for you. It was amazing! We had a lot of things we needed this week like milk and fruit and breakfast foods. Neither of us felt like getting out of the house, so we submitted our list and a girl showed up at our house with a bag of groceries hours later! I’ll be doing this all month long. I highly, HIGHLY recommend.
We gave baby his first bath at our kitchen sink on the second night home. We have a Puj tub and really love it, but we were unable to use it this go around because his belly button needs to stay dry. We ended up just washing his hair and he was calm the entire time. I think he really liked it!
I also had my first shower on the second night home! I was worried about any soap burning my stitches below, but I couldn’t even tell! I had a sweet friend at work send me a lavender bath kit, so my shower was extra enjoyable with lavender soap and lotion. Spoil yourself and take it easy. You cannot fully take care of someone without taking care of yourself first! And FYI: you cannot take baths for 6 weeks after the hospital. Your cervix is still opened and taking a bath could cause bacteria to get in it.
My bowel movement came on day 4 – WHAT A RELIEF. I’ve been taking Colace which is a stool softener recommended by the hospital. You definitely want to make sure you have something like this at home so you can use the bathroom without any pain. They did not give us any to take home since it doesn’t need a prescription and it’s over the counter. Get this ahead of time! All in all, the bowel movement wasn’t painful like I thought it would be. The Colace helped!
On day 6, my back pain went away. I woke up and did a few things around the house and noticed I wasn’t hunched over anymore. Truthfully, I think the back pain was one of the worst parts about post partum recovery, so I was extremely glad to see that my body was adapting to my new weight.
The hospital conveniently set up an appointment with our pediatrician this week, and we visited her on the last day of week 1. She checked everything on Cache from his circumcision to his heart rate, ears, and mouth and weight. When he was first born, he weighed in at 7.14 and at our appointment, he had lost weight and weighed in at 7.3. She said it was normal (but I felt a little defeated) and our goal is to get him back to his birth weight by next week’s visit. We were told to begin tummy time a few minutes a day to encourage him to begin lifting his head. She also mentioned giving him Vitamin D drops every day. Lastly, we were able to ask her any questions we had about breastfeeding, diaper changes, funny noises he makes, etc. I wasn’t excited about having to get out of the house for an appointment, but after all was said and done, it offered us relief to be able to talk to someone about all the eventful things that have taken place this week!
The best purchases I’ve made to make this week easier? Sweat pants, paper plates and cups, a diaper genie, and a plush robe. I have found that our baby loves laying on the plush robe, and I’ll rock him in it when he’s cranky. It’s almost like magic, I promise you. It really relaxes him. The diaper genie makes it easy to dispose of the millions of diapers we’ve gone through this first week. Just look at how many diapers we disposed of!
And sweatpants…well, I’ve never met a person who hates sweat pants. These three things I couldn’t imagine doing this week without!
We sent out baby announcements this week. Minted has some really cute options, including this one. We also got our stamps from them. I think they turned out so cute!
Shoutout to Parasol diapers for giving us a set of the CUTEST DIAPERS EVER. We’ve been using their diapers and wipes and they’ve totally surpassed our expectations.