Bringing your precious newborn home is an indescribable experience filled with love and anticipation. However, as the first night approaches, it's natural to feel a mix of excitement, joy, and a touch of nervousness. As a fellow parent who has been through it, I'm here to share practical tips that will not only help you navigate the first night but also create heartwarming memories along the way.
Create a Calm Sleep Environment
As you prepare for the first night at home, remember that a calm and soothing sleep environment is key. Dim the lights to create a gentle ambiance, making the room feel warm and tranquil. Soft nightlights can cast a comforting glow, adding an extra touch of magic to the atmosphere. Consider playing soft lullabies or using white noise machines to recreate the familiar sounds of the womb, wrapping your little one in a cocoon of serenity.
Or do none of this. I was so lost and confused the first night that I kept staring at the crib wondering how I'm going to keep this little one live and well. And I barely slept as the moment I'd close my eyes he was up, again. If he wasn't then I was up. Checking if he was breathing. And when I was checking that, he was breathing so damn calm that it took a minute to see his little chests moving up. The longest minute in my life.
Ensure a Safe Sleep Space
Safety is paramount when it comes to your newborn's slumber. Follow the recommended guidelines for creating a safe sleep space. Remove any potential hazards, such as loose blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals, ensuring that your baby's sleeping area is clear and free from obstructions. Always remember to place your baby on their back to sleep, as this position is safest and reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
I was obsessed with this. Although I had the nicests blankets and pillows, second night in, all of it was out. The thing that saved me was a baby sleeping bag as this was the only thing I knew was keeping him warm and safe. I got a sleveless one so his tiny hands would be free to move and breath. I was also worried that he might be too hot as we kept the home pretty warm (crazy when I think of it).
Establish Simple Bedtime Routines
While your newborn may not fully understand bedtime routines just yet, introducing a simple and consistent routine can work wonders in creating a sense of comfort and security. A warm bath followed by a gentle massage with baby-safe lotion can help soothe and relax your little one. Take a few moments to cuddle and share tender moments while softly singing a lullaby. These small gestures not only help prepare your baby for sleep but also strengthen the bond between you.
And if this sounds too complex then forget about it. Just follow your gut. I had this illusion that I'd follow these bedime routines and was out by night 2. The only thing I managed to somewhat follow is to have him in bed before 10pm. Of course he was up two hours later but still...
Manage Feeding and Diapering
During the first night, expect frequent feedings and diaper changes. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, focus on the connection and the nourishment you're providing. Create a cozy and convenient diaper changing station, complete with everything you need within arm's reach.
This is crucial as you are soooo sleepy yet terrified that you really need to have things at hand. And the baby keeps poopping and peeing all the time and is fresh at 4 am as one would be after an 8 hour sleep.
Take Care of Yourself
In the whirlwind of caring for your newborn, it's essential not to neglect your own well-being. Remember that you are a vital part of your baby's world, and self-care is crucial for your physical and emotional health. Rest whenever possible, even if it's just short moments of relaxation. Or as people love to say - sleep when the baby sleeps. I found this impossible as I'm not a machine that can sleep on command. If you can, good for you.
Accept help from loved ones and don't hesitate to ask for support. Without my family's support I would have given up day one. Hydrate yourself with water and nourish your body with nutritious meals to stay energized for this journey. Stay away from the extra sugar as you will be reaching out for extra source of energy. I've gained some weight thanks to this.
Most importantly know that you are not alone in this adventure of parenthood. By creating a calm sleep environment, ensuring a safe sleep space, establishing simple bedtime routines, managing feeding and diapering with love, and taking care of yourself, you will navigate this time with confidence and create memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the journey, cherish the moments, and watch your love for your little one grow with each passing day.