The First Days Home
by Dr. Edward Slico, DO
Parenthood is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating, rewarding and exhausting journeys in life. It’s a journey that’s filled with overwhelming moments. Personally, I was surprised by one of those moments that I did not anticipate. I knew I would be overwhelmed at labor onset. I knew I would be more than overwhelmed with love the first time I met my daughter. I knew I would feel overwhelmed with the responsibility to raise her properly (okay maybe that feeling hasn’t subsided). What I did not anticipate, was how overwhelmed I felt when we arrived home for the very first time.
You’ve had 9 months to prepare and suddenly, all of that hard work and careful consideration seems to have vanished. Your world as you knew it is now different. I distinctly remember getting home and not knowing what to do next. Questions were swirling – where do we put the car seat, where should she take her first nap, is that really the best place to change her diapers, where should we feed her, who thought that a wooden rocker would be a comfortable seat to rock/feed her in the wee hours, were we really qualified to be parents, etc.?
Despite counseling families about this very moment, the true depth and sensitivity of it all struck me. You are sent home feeling slightly abandoned. In a time where babies are still losing weight, feeding difficulty is common, exhaustion is at its peak, jaundice is kicking in, etc. – your 24 hour support is swept out from beneath you. While the overwhelming moment was over in a flash, the way we approach life has forever changed.
The first hour and days were spent rearranging baby gear to make life as simple as possible. So became the theme of our life. Making things simple and convenient meant more time to enjoy the beauty of parenthood. This included:
- Multiple changing stations throughout the house, even if it means being on your dining or living room floor
- Have multiple feeding pillows, burp clothes, swaddles and clothes conveniently placed throughout the house
- Sleep when you can – the dishes can be done later
- Don’t sweat the little things
- Don’t feel guilty about being “lazy”, there is no such word with a newborn
- Don’t forget to do the things that make you feel human
- And most importantly, don’t be afraid to accept and even ask for help
While this is much easier said than done, know that you are not alone. Teamwork is key to making this whole experience as “easy” and enjoyable as possible. Use your support system, whether it’s your partner, family, neighbor or friend. Use your pediatrician. I always make a point to emphasize that there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to babies. Do not be afraid to call no matter what time of day or night, you are not alone. No sense worrying at home when answers and reassurance are a phone call away! Eventually the dust will settle and most people look back on the first days fondly. Try to soak up every possible moment with your newly reformed family. Life is now a whole lot more colorful with your bundle of joy!
Written By: Edward Silco, D.O. Dr. Silco is a Board certified pediatrician at Maine Medical Partners – Yarmouth Pediatrics. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Silco, or any of the pediatric providers at Maine Medical Partners, please visit mainemedicalpartners.org/primary-care-pediatrics.
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