Meeting your baby for the first time is magical, but that first week of your newborn's life can fly by way too quickly. So, how do you make the most of those moments? Are there practical things that need to be done? Is there anything you can delegate? How do you prepare for the life-altering moment of childbirth that will make the postpartum weeks to follow enjoyable, rather than difficult? Having gone through it all myself, I've figured out that there are a few things every woman should do the week after she has her baby. Of course, every woman, baby, and birth is different, so these are more suggestions than hard-and-fast rules. But still, preparation is the name of the parenting game, so it doesn't hurt to figure out a few things you can do during that first week postpartum that will set you and your baby up for life.
Sadly, my own postpartum experience with my son was wrought with too much chaos to really be "enjoyable." Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to have my son in the world, but he was sent to the NICU immediately after he was born and I didn’t get to enjoy being around him the way I had planned and/or wanted to. That said, there are so many things I would do differently if I had the chance to do it all over again (sans the traumatic birth and trip to the NICU, of course).
Even with the unique difficulties associated with having a baby in the NICU for any period of time, I've realized that all new moms — NICU moms and moms who had complicated-free labor and deliveries — should do a few things to make that first week of their baby's life easier and more enjoyable. Because trust me when I say that your little one's first week of life will go by so fast, before you know it you'll be planning your baby's first birthday.
Take As Many Photos As Physically Possible
There’s no such thing as too many baby photos. Trust me. Take one every chance you get. Take selfies, add filters, and take videos. Document that week to your heart's content, and don't feel bad about sharing every single photo, too.
Have Someone Else Take As Many Photos As Physically Possible
If you have a partner that knows how to take decent photos (not all of us do), have them take photos of you and your baby. If you can, hire a professional to take some, too. Hell, if you can find a damn photo booth, do that! The point is, have someone else take pictures of you holding your little one. You grew that baby for 40 weeks (more or less) and brought them into the world: you deserve to be in those pictures, too.
Get Prints Of Your Baby's Hands & Feet
Our babies grow so, so much in those first few weeks. It’s actually pretty damn amazing. So I suggest you get an ink pad and some paper and make some cute prints of those tiny appendages. Then get some clay and make imprints of them, too. In fact, make several because these make awesome gifts for the grandparents and aunts and uncles.
Assign Someone To Do All The Paperwork
OK, so technically you could do all the paperwork (you know, like getting the official birth certificate and social security card and all that jazz). But you’re probably exhausted and trying to adjust to live as a mother. If you have a good friend or relative, ask if they’ll help you out with this tedious work. You can always allow them extra baby snuggles in exchange.
Write Your Baby’s Birth Story
My son's birth is a blur. While I do recall most of it, I know there are details I’ve forgotten and will probably never remember. Plus, even what I used to recall with clarity is starting to get hazy now that my son is a vivacious 3-year-old toddler.
So trust me when I say that sitting down and writing a very thoughtful, detailed story of your baby's entrance into the world is worth it. You will thank yourself later (and so will your baby).
Announce Your Baby's Birth In Your Own Way
Tweet it out. Post to your Facebook. Make it an Instagram story. Have sweet little announcements printed and mailed out. Tell someone else to do it. Whatever. Just let folks know since there’s a good chance everyone will be wondering why you fell off the face of the earth.
Work On A Memory Box
You’ll be too exhausted to make anything Pinterest worthy right now, to be sure, but that doesn't mean a show box won't suffice. You don't need anything fancy to store your and your baby’s hospital bracelets and any other tchotchkes related to that amazing day.
Put Your Phone On Silent
If you’re the sort of person who constantly leaves your phone on at all hours of the day — WHY? Seriously, the last thing you’re going to want is to finally put your baby to bed, only to have some random wrong number call your phone and wake them up. Trust me, you’re better off forgetting your phone even exists. Shut off those notifications, too, and just enjoy being disconnected from everyone and everything while you enjoy postpartum life.
Ignore The World
At the end of the day, you’re not going to want anything to do with anyone else but your baby. So feel free to tell friends and family you’ll see them in a few more days, or weeks, or even months. Enjoy this special time bonding with your little one. Of course, if you feel like you need people around you, definitely do so. But don’t feel pressured to invite all 23 of your cousins to meet the baby if all you want to do is hang out with your boob out, feeding your little and sleeping. Seriously. Do you, mama.