Often much thought is put into the preparation for baby’s homecoming following the birth. The perfect crib is bought, the right shade of paint picked for the nursery, you have so many diapers you feel like you are bringing home triplets instead of just one child. Everyone is waiting expectantly to hold the new little bundle when the family arrives home. But, what about the mom? Have any preparations been made for her?
Still tired and sore from labor, and probably dazed from the level of hormones raging through her body mom is often looking for a haven at home. She walks in just wanting to sit down and rest, but finds it difficult to get comfortable in her usual seat. The distance to the bathroom seems 10 times father away and the distance between baby’s bed and the bathroom even more so. Dad leaves mom and baby together in front of the TV and the remote is across the room and mother is parched with nothing to drink. Baby is hungry, but it is hard to hold the baby up at the right level with no additional pillows around to help. Only 15 minutes have passed, but mom is already in tears of frustration. It doesn’t have to be like this as long as we take time to prepare for baby AND mom.
There will be a place in the home where mom will spend most of her time during the day with baby. This might be the bedroom, a favorite chair, or a spot on the couch. We call this the “Nest”. It is best to figure out where this place will be prior to the birth so a few preparations can be made. Be sure to consider the following preparations and you will have a more relaxed return home for baby AND mom.
· Is the nest easy to sit down and get up from
Labor, no matter how it progresses almost always leaves mom stiff and sore for at least a couple of days. Having a well supported seat that doesn’t take much effort to sit in or get from makes it a lot easier on mom as she recovers.
· Is it close to the bathroom
Post-labor bladders often give little warning when it is time to go. Make sure mom has quick and easy access to the bathroom. A peri bottle already filled, tuck pads, and quality toilet paper are all appreciated and should be in arms reach from the toilet.
· Make sure the basic necessities like water and food are in arms reach
So mom doesn’t have to make many trips to the kitchen, make sure she has easy to eat snacks and a drink nearby at all times. Drinking water is very important at this stage and having it close at hand makes it easier to stay hydrated. Easy to eat snacks like whole grain crackers, fruit slices, cheese sticks, cereal/granola bars, or fresh veggies are all great ideas.
· How far is it to baby’s sleeping space/changing area?
Is the nest two flights of stairs away from the nursery? Consider multiple sleeping areas for mom and the little one. During the first few weeks something as simple as a blanket lined laundry basket can provide a safe sleeping area for baby while mom rests on the couch. Borrowing an extra pack n play from a friend is another option.
· Are there extra pillows/supports for feedings?
When it comes to feedings, all pillows go to mom and baby. Having the proper support during breastfeeding will help to promote a better latch which leads to more comfortable feedings. Babies fed by bottles also need support to sit at in incline reducing the amount of air intake, reducing gas and potential colic.
· Are there good distractions for mom?
Baby has fallen asleep in mom’s arms, Mom is comfortable and ready to relax with her favorite show or book only to find that the remote or book are across the room, or even just a few feet out of reach. This can be very frustrating. Instead, designate a basket for mom’s favorite items that is always in reach from the nest.