Panic in the First Day Home With Baby
There’s a post over at Scary Mommy called What to Expect the First Day Home. Now at first I thought it was humorous. Being a mom of two, I know how overwhelming and isolating that first day home can feel. But then I started thinking about it more and more, and I realized that, being a mom of two, I know how overwhelming and isolating that first day home can feel – and that this kind of rhetoric only fuels that fire.
Scary Mommy is not supposed to actually be scary. But you see, the scenario that Julie Lay describes is the common expectation of many families. We are taught that the first days and weeks home – the postpartum period – are supposed to be crappy.
It’s like some twisted rite of passage where new parents one up each other’s horror stories and prove how terrible their personal experience was, as if the Postpartum Board of Directors is giving out badges of honor for most sleep deprivation and award plaques for longest span between showers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s all unicorn farts and rainbows.
When you arrive at your own doorstep, little bundle in arms, other emotions can jump in. Fear, doubt, exhaustion, concern, frustration. These feelings are totally normal! If left unchecked, though, if shoved way down deep in the tiny cobweb-infested corners of your heart, out of sight of your family members and friends lest you be judged as an incompetent parent, these feelings can quickly become overwhelming. You can lose control. These feelings turn to panic. So I get where she’s coming from. But it doesn’t HAVE to be that way!
A Different Kind of Postpartum Experience – Don’t Panic!
Enter your postpartum doula. An experienced professional who can make the transition of bringing home baby as comfortable and as seamless as possible. Someone simply wonderful to take the panic out of the first day home and help you turn it into rest, bonding, and confidence. I submit to you a different experience with what to expect the first day home:
What to Expect the First Day Home From the Hospital: Revised
Wake up to breakfast from the hospital cafeteria.
Feed your baby, then scarf down your own breakfast before you continue your morning snuggles.
Talk to the doctor who says those glorious words: You’re being discharged today!
Don’t Panic. You hired a postpartum doula.
Buckle baby into the car seat.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula provided excellent resources about how to properly install and use a car seat. You and your partner will have a safe (but admittedly probably slow) ride home.
Get the baby into the car seat, head down to the car, and thank the lovely hospital staff for all they have done.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula will meet you at your home. You are not losing your support system; you’re gaining a new one in the comfort of your own surroundings.
Get home and feel like a stranger in a strange land.
Don’t Panic. You can safely share your feelings and process through your experience of the last couple of days with your postpartum doula.
Realize you need to unpack.
Don’t Panic. You can put your feet up and tell your postpartum doula where to put all that stuff. She’ll even throw the dirty clothes in the washer and fold the pile on top of the dryer.
The baby cries.
Don’t Panic. Every baby cries. You’ve got this, and your postpartum doula’s got you.
Try to figure out what the baby wants.
Don’t Panic. You have a walking, talking instruction manual for babies.
Feed the baby.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula will gently encourage you in finding a comfortable breastfeeding position and helping your baby to latch OR your postpartum doula will happily prepare a bottle for you and remind you of techniques to help feeding be more comfortable for you and your baby.
You’re ravenous. Your body is working hard to recover from growing and birthing a small human.
Don’t Panic. You have a snack and a full water cup right next to your bed, thanks to your postpartum doula.
The baby’s diaper explodes.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula will change the diaper and bring baby back to you, fresh as a daisy.
Realize you could really use a nice, hot shower.
Don’t Panic. Your partner is snuggling with a clean, full baby and your postpartum doula is washing the baby’s dirty clothes and switching out that load of laundry from the hospital.
Get out of the shower, fall into your bed. All you want to do is sleep.
Don’t Panic. You can trust your postpartum doula to lovingly care for your baby while you and your partner get that much needed nap.
Awaken to the smell of something cooking.
Don’t Panic. That’s just your postpartum doula whipping up some dinner.
Time to pick up the older kids from school.
Don’t Panic. Your partner covers your carpool duty while your postpartum doula keeps you company on the couch. You feed the baby, you watch some TV, you enjoy the cup of tea she prepared for you.
Cry. For no reason that you can ascertain, you cry.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula’s loving hug and reassuring words soothe you and remind you that you are a wonderful mom. She doesn’t try to shut you up. She doesn’t tell you to be thankful. She doesn’t give opinions on how you can be a better mom. She listens. For as long as you need, she listens. Because you’re already the best mom for your baby.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula serves up the meal and holds the baby while you eat – with BOTH hands! After dinner, she gives your baby right back to you and takes care of the dishes.
The most chaotic part of the day ensues.
Together, you and your partner tackle homework help, baths and books, and bedtime tuck-ins while your postpartum doula quietly sweeps through the background, cutting fresh fruit for the next day’s breakfast, laying out clothes for school, and refilling your bedside water cup.
The house is quiet. You’re ready for bed. The baby is wide awake.
Don’t Panic. Helping you get your baby into a routine is no problem for your postpartum doula. She will show you how to swaddle, remind you of safe sleep options, and help you get tucked in for the night.
Freak out because you’re exhausted and obsessively watch the baby sleep and analyze every twitch and breath.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula will reassure you that most parents do the same thing, and she’ll offer to take your baby downstairs so you can sleep for a while.
Your postpartum doula’s shift is over and it’s time for her to go home.
Don’t Panic. You and your partner are amazing parents. You’ll be just fine. Promise.
The baby wakes up crying.
Don’t Panic. Your partner remembers how to make a little baby burrito just like your postpartum doula showed you, and soothes your baby back to sleep.
The baby wakes up crying.
Don’t Panic. Change the diaper. Feed your baby. Put your baby back to sleep. You’re a rock star.
It’s time to get up and get the other kids ready for school.
Don’t Panic. Your postpartum doula showed you how to wear your baby in a stretchy wrap, so the morning routine is a breeze.
Everyone gets out the door, and you start unexpectedly crying again. You made it through the first day, but now what? 18 years suddenly sounds like a really long time.
Don’t Panic. The doorbell rings, and your postpartum doula is there with a smile and your favorite latte. You know it’s all going to be okay. She’ll stay as many days as you need until you feel fully confident in your new normal.
What to expect the first day home with baby? A beautiful experience with all the support your need from your postpartum doula.
If you’re looking for the best postpartum doulas in Phoenix and the surrounding cities (Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Glendale, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Coolidge, or Maricopa), you’re in the right place! Offering traditional postpartum doula care or the exclusive Daddy Doula, we can provide you with the most comforting, compassionate, and reliable postpartum doula care around to take the panic out of your first day – and week, and month, and year – home with baby.
Tags: baby expecations, caring for a newborn, help with baby, parenting, postpartum, postpartum doula, postpartum period, preventing postpartum depression, what is a postpartum doula