Congratulations and welcome to parenthood! Here are some useful tips to help you and your newborn during those first 30 days.
Antenatal Hand Expression
Expressing your breast milk in the final few weeks of pregnancy before your baby arrives is a great way to prepare for nursing and will help increase your milk supply. It also will help things not to feel so alien the first time you breastfeed your newborn baby. Any milk expressed prior to birth can be frozen and stored.
Learning the technique for expressing breast milk is a valuable skill which will stand by you during the first 30 days with your newborn. This will allow you to relieve engorgement, express milk prior to a latch, express milk for supplementing your baby, and relieve fullness at any time. Watch this video for guidance on hand expression.
Brace yourself for the cluster feed!
It’s completely normal for your newborn to require frequent feeding in the first 24-48 hours after birth. There’s no need to be alarmed by how hungry your baby is.
Research Bottles And Bottle Nipples
There is a surprising amount of choice when it comes to bottles and bottle teats. Be sure to research your options before the baby arrives.
Paced Bottle Feeding
This method of bottle feeding allows your newborn to be more in control of the feeding pace. Paced bottle feeding slows down the flow of milk into the teat and the mouth, allowing your baby to eat more slowly, and take breaks.
Skin to skin
Contact with your newborn is highly beneficial for your baby in those early days. This can be practiced by both mom and dad.
Meal Prep and Freeze
The first 30 days with your newborn will be incredibly busy. Preparing food ahead of time and putting it in the freezer for a future date will save you a lot of hassle.
Get a countertop bath
Get a countertop bath for bathing your newborn. It can be awkward to kneel down and bend over that tub, save your back!
Newborns love to be near you and this is a great way to get out for a walk or outing or have both hands free to do whatever you want around the house! There are a vast array of carriers out there so do some research and see what will work best for you and your baby.
Hands Free Assistance
This is a fantastic tool to help clear your newborn’s nasal passages if they are suffering from a congested nose. It will make feeding time run a lot more smoothly.
Light For Day, Dark For Night
After all that time spent nesting in the womb your newborn has no concept of day and night. You should allow plenty of daylight into your home and dim the lights and keep things quiet before bed. This is a useful step to encourage healthy sleep habits.
Keep your newborn’s sleep space dark
Devices that throw light in babies’ sleep space will negatively impact their sleep cycle, try to avoid these.
Avoid Clock Watching
When you are breastfeeding your baby, try not to watch the clock and base feeds around time per breast. Every breast and baby is different and a full feed may happen in as little as 5 minutes, or take up to 30 minutes or more.
This is a great sleep tool for your newborn. Look out for a white noise machine that does not have an automatic shut off and will stay on for the entire sleep.
You can not burp your baby too much! To avoid trapped wind for your newborn try out these burping methods.
Grab some extra pee pads to have handy. These are great for pre or post bathtime for giving your newborn some diaper free kick time.
Safe Sleep Environment
Research safe sleep environments and talk to your health care provider about this, then do what feels right for you.
Portable Feeding Bag/Station
You are probably going to be feeding your newborn every 2-3 hours around the clock. It is so nice to have a bag or basket that you can stock with essentials to have by your feeding chair or one you can carry one the move.
Avoid Nap Jail
Go out. Get fresh air, meet friends in the park, see your family, go for a drive etc. Newborns can sleep in carriers, car seats and strollers if monitored and safe. Naps on the go are totally fine.
Stay Away From Dr. Google
This is a rabbit hole you want to avoid. Please seek out professional advice instead.
Take the Pain Meds
In that immediate postpartum period, use the pain medication that is prescribed to you because when you are suffering it’s not easy to care for your baby too.
Practice Saying NO
If you are going to do this at any time in your life, now’s the time! Say no to a ton of visitors, to people touching your baby, to having to entertain, to the extra cleaning/laundry/housework that just does not need to be done right now! Allow yourself to just enjoy these precious moments.
Find Your Tribe
Join a moms/parent group, meet up with parents from your prenatal class, talk to people at the park! Having someone that is going through the same stages as you, that you can chat with is wonderful in so many ways.
When those around you offer to clean your home, hold your baby so you can shower, bring you a coffee or groceries etc. Say YES! Erase the preconceived notions that you are expected to do it all. Accept the help Mama. Just as important; allow yourself to ask for help.
Give Yourself Extra Grace
Be patient with yourself, there are a lot of “firsts” in those initial 30 days and you may not know how to handle them. That’s OK. Take a deep breath and know that you are all your baby needs.
The Big Three
You’re going to wonder if your newborn is getting enough to eat. Keep these 3 questions in mind: Is your baby gaining weight? Is your baby settled in between feeds? Is your baby having adequate wet and dirty diapers in 24 hours?
Do Things For You
Stop and grab a tea, and take those few minutes. Those extra few moments away from stressors may be all you need to recharge. This also means taking the time to do things to help with your recovery like pelvic floor physiotherapy and massage.
Recovery takes time
It takes time for your body to heal and recover from birth and this process is different for every mom. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. This is your journey and it’s a unique one.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed
Within these first 30 days A LOT happens and it's totally normal to feel a little unsure of yourself and your decisions, or to simply feel out of your depth – especially if this is your first baby. It does pass and there are so many phases - before you know it you’ll be onto the next one, so try not to worry too much!