So the big date is just around the corner. You have been planning for months. Finally, the moment arrives. You give birth to a wonderful, cuddly baby and come home to a new life together. Then, like many new moms, you discover that along with the tender moments come really tough adjustments. New sleep times, feeding times and the realization that another human is completely dependent on you. How can moms survive this period -- the "babymoon?" Russell Reiff, MD, a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente's San Francisco Medical Center, says that new moms "should have no expectations" other than to bond with their new baby during this important time. "(Mothers) will probably not be able to do much more than feed, change and hold their baby, and sleep," he says.
To adjust to this change, mothers can prepare in advance
"It is important to be organized," says Valerie Akong, RN, a labor and delivery nurse in Norcross, Georgia. "Try to arrange your home before you are physically uncomfortable with pregnancy." So what are the top tips for surviving the babymoon?
Do not assume that your newborn has a set timetable
"Babies in the first few weeks do not have a schedule," says Dr Reiff. "They do not have a pattern." At this age, infants do not even know the difference between day and night, so they will require care around the clock. Initially, it will be best to let your newborn dictate yourschedule, which means that you sleep when they sleep, and you eat when they eat.
Make an effort to rest
For Andrea Middleton, a mother in Acworth, Georgia, this was the key to enjoying the babymoon after her son was born. "I had relax," she remembers. "Being away from distractions was important." Physical rest gives your body a chance to heal after the challenges of giving birth. Moms need to recuperate after the big event in the same way that endurance athletes need rest after running a marathon.
Unplug the phone
Your friends will understand that your hands are literally full, and you may not be able to talk to them. There will be plenty of time for them to see the new family member after you have been able to adjust to your new life together.
If you choose to breastfeed, be patient while you establish the feedings
"Getting my son to breastfeed for the first couple of weeks was hard," says Middleton. Rather than let the initial problems spoil the babymoon, she resolved to keep trying until she could nurse successfully. "Breastfeeding is a very intimate bonding moment between you and your child," she says. It was worth the extra time taken to help her infant learn how to latch on, and for her to make sure he was receiving all the milk he needed.
Give every baby item a home
"Have everything in one place," says Akong, who is also the mother of two children. She gives her patients the same advice she learned from her own experiences. Cloths, receiving blankets, clothing, diapers, wipes, ointments and other toiletries all need to be easy to reach. Keep them in assigned locations along with extra containers to handle your baby's growing needs.
Prepare small diaper changing stations in several rooms
It is fine to have a fancy nursery that is well-stocked, but babies will also be spending a lot of time in the living room, bedroom and bathroom. Keeping a packed diaper bag in each area will save you several trips to the nursery.
Accept free time as a gift
Do not try to plan free time, just enjoy it when it comes as a surprise.
Do not hire babysitters yet
"Try not to involve other people in taking care of the baby," says Dr Reiff. Infants' immature immune systems make it tough for them to handle contact with a lot people (and the germs that they carry). There will be plenty of time to find dependable childcare once your baby gets older. Applicants could also be interviewed before the baby is born.
Send others to the supermarket
When your friends ask what they can do to help, send them grocery shopping. This chore is otherwise nearly impossible to do during the babymoon. To minimize kitchen time, prepare some freezable meals such as lasagna or a casserole during the last trimester of pregnancy. Consider hiring a postpartum doula. They are great for helping out after the baby comes.
Cut the house cleaning, for now
Either have a friend take over the cleaning duties or simply let the dishes pile up for this brief period. Memories of your newborn will be far more important to you than a spotless countertop. If hiring a maid is an option, do it!
Enjoy your time together
Your little boy or girl will probably only want the comfort of your arms. Indulge them. This is your special moment, and remember, they are only babies for a short time. Enjoy them while you can.