10 Lessons I Learned After Bringing Home Baby

When we brought our son Jameson home I thought I had it all figured out. I had read articles and books, talked with other moms and asked all the questions at doctor’s appointments. I felt completely confident that I could do it all, even after having an unplanned c-section. Boy, was I wrong.

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When we brought our son Jameson home I thought I had it all figured out. I had read articles and books, talked with other moms and asked all the questions at doctor’s appointments. I felt completely confident that I could do it all, even after having an unplanned c-section. Boy, was I wrong.

Below are ten things that I learned in the first few weeks after bringing Jameson home.

  1. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

The number one thing that caused me the most mom guilt when we first came home from the hospital was not being able to do everything for Jameson that I needed to. Having a c-section made it difficult to bend over and pick him up, lay with him on my chest for long periods of time or do all the cleaning that I needed to.

I also got mastitis…twice. Along with clogged milk ducts in both breasts at the same time.

To top it off, Jameson had a hard time latching, which caused my nipples to be so cracked they were dripping blood.

This drained my energy and I was in unbelievable pain, but I still didn’t want to ask for help.

My amazing mother, mother-in-law and husband constantly reminded me to take it easy, that I needed to heal. The lactation consultant even got onto me for doing too much.

Then my incision started to hurt worse and I got the chills so bad I couldn’t even carry Jameson safely.

When I couldn’t even pick up my own child, that was when it hit me…I need to not only ask for help but let those that come over and want to help, help. You may not be able to do everything that you want to right away, but if you push yourself and delay healing of your body it will be even longer until you are able to do those things.

  1. Rest

I know, I know, you want to hold and stare at your new baby 24/7…trust me, I get it! But just like your baby is resting from their birth, you need to rest too mama.

My biggest excuse for not getting the rest that I needed was that I needed to pump. So, if you are a mama who is pumping, yes it is important to pump often to keep your supply up, but if your body is worn down then you won’t produce enough milk no matter how many times a day you pump.

At the end of the day, your body needs rest to produce milk and be healthy enough for you to care for your little one.

So, ask a friend or family members – or your hubby! – to take over all the nightly feedings and diaper changes for one night so you can get 8 solid hours of rest. When I got mastitis the first time, my mom took over for the night and I slept for 10 straight hours!

When I say I felt like a new woman…I felt like I could take on the world!

Stitches and all!

I promise you, a full night of restful sleep does NOT make you a bad mama, it actually helps you become an even better mama! (If that’s even possible…Mrs. Wonder Woman over there!)

You know that saying that you can’t pour from a cup that’s empty?

Well…turns out it’s true.

So, sleep mama…for your baby.

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  1. Water Makes Gold…and Keeps You Out of the Hospital

The biggest struggle I had the first couple weeks after Jameson was born was getting in enough water. I mean let’s get real, my main focus was one the new little bundle of joy that I went through several grueling hours of labor to finally meet…I wasn’t concerned with how much water I was drinking.

This was a HUGE mistake!

Dehydration was very scary for me, because it happened at the exact same time that I got multiple clogged milk ducts along with mastitis and it exacerbated my symptoms and my OBGYN was concerned with me landing myself back in the hospital. I also started to have a bit of a decrease in my milk supply.

I FREAKED OUT!

If breastfeeding wasn’t going to work out for Jameson and I, I at least wanted to be able to provide breast milk for him.

So, I Googled it…and it turns out that water helps your body create this liquid gold.

Who knew?!

Apparently…everybody but me!

As soon as I started taking more water (and an awesome supplement recommended by my lactation consultant: Fenugreek* which you can order here) my supply more than doubled!

So, whatever you have to do to drink more water do it. For me, it was making sure that I had a cup with a straw that would keep my water cold (my Yeti is my best friend…I’m truly serious). For others, app trackers or paper trackers work well – for me I would always forget to log my water.

Whatever works for you…do it. (If paper trackers work for you, I have a free one you can download here: Make That Liquid Gold. It will also be on our Freebies page if you need to re-download it at any time).

*Before taking any supplements, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider.

  1. Set Clear Boundaries…and DON’T Feel Bad About It

Well intentioned family members and friends are going to do some crazy stuff when you have a baby:

Randomly show up at your house…or in my case they just walk right on in like they own the place.

Constantly pester you until you allow them to see the baby.

Ask you inappropriate questions.

The list goes on and on and on and on…trust me. And all mamas out there can attest to this I’m sure!

So, set those clear boundaries and communicate them effectively…yourself…BEFORE baby is born.

While I did set clear boundaries before Jameson was born, I did not effectively communicate them to everyone. I told my husband, my parents and my in-laws, and I didn’t even tell them everything.

So, my advice…write up all your rules on some cute stationary and give them to everyone that will be visiting you either in the hospital or at home. Encourage them to put it on their fridge or in their car or purse so they remember all your rules when they come to visit.

Also, have one framed (or a couple) and strategically place them around your house.

You can download mine below:

Rules for Visiting Baby

As a side note…some people may push the boundaries of your rules or make comments about them, but don’t feel bad or guilty about them.

Did you hear me?

DO NOT FEEL BAD FOR SETTING RULES?

This new and precious child is yours to protect, so don’t ever feel bad for setting boundaries. You’re the mama and what you say goes!

  1. God is your lifeline…you will NOT get through motherhood without Him

The one thing I wish I had remembered to bring to the hospital with me was my devotional.

After so many miscarriages before Jameson, I held tight to the Lord as He was the only thing that kept me calm through my pregnancy and I needed Him during the birth. Then, being that I was in the hospital for so long, I got out of the habit of my daily devotional and it took me several weeks to get back into the groove of doing it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“Ashlee, I have a newborn, how on earth am I supposed to find time to do a devlotional? Have you lost your mind?”

No, I haven’t lost my mind…at least not yet.

The devotional that I use daily is the “Jesus Calling” devotional by Young which you can find here.

It takes about 5 minutes to read each day and it has scripture at the bottom of the page if you want to dive a little deeper.

Whether you use this devotional or not, find one that works for you.

I also love my She Reads Truth Bible, it has amazing devotionals written into it, so you get real world applications to passages as you read through it. (Not to mention the design is absolutely gorgeous!)

  1. Get Organized

The first couple days home I was so stressed out. Between caring for a newborn, being sleep deprived and in pain, I had all Jameson’s stuff organized…but not practically.

Then my mom happened.

My amazing mother looked online and found ways to organize the bathroom, the stuff I needed in the living room (I was sleeping on the couch due to my c-section), the pantry and even Jameson’s dresser!

I had put off trying to organize everything because I was so overwhelmed by the idea of having to make it look perfect. I thought it needed look like it had come right off a Pinterest bored.

Once I let that expectation go…my entire world changed.

Okay, I know I’m being a little dramatic, but seriously. My mom simply got some plastic containers and small counter shelving units to put everything in. My pantry is now 100% organized and I have three little containers on the end table in the living room to have my medication, pens/pencils for documenting his feedings and diaper changes and then misc things in the third one like a suction bulb and thermometer.

Once everything was organized, I truly felt like I could breathe again.

  1. Minimalism is Key

Building off my last point, when it comes to a baby nursery and baby gear…you truly don’t need to go all out. I have known people to spend hundreds of dollars decorating the nursery and stressing about making sure everything is perfect, when in reality your baby is more than likely going to end up sleeping in your room. (Now, if you’re a mama who has her baby sleep in the crib from day one, that’s awesome!)

The key here though is, figure out what your essentials are and go from there. No need to stress over not having every latest gadget, odds are your baby not even like it all!

(To see the top five items I found the most useful during the first couple weeks, click here.)

  1. Get Out of the House…ALONE

I’ll be the first to admit that leaving Jameson at home with his dad for the first time for 20 minutes while I ran to Target was the weirdest thing ever.

I felt like me again, but also felt as though as piece of me was missing.

I was relieved yet sad.

But you know what?

I survived!

And once I got home, even though I was gone for only 20 minutes, I felt re-charged and ready to take on all the poopy diapers!

So take some time to get out of the house by yourself. Whether that means going for a five minute walk around the block or a shopping trip to Starbucks and Target like me (don’t judge ladies – haha!), it doesn’t matter. But make sure and take some time to yourself to get out of the house and get some fresh air.

  1. Get Your Hair Cut…Or Nails Done

As soon as Jameson was born I knew some of my hair length needed to go. It was so long that it took 10 minutes to brush when I got out of the shower and most of the time it ended up just on top of my head un-brushed because Jameson was crying by the time I got out.

But I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house and do something for myself.

Sure, I got out of the house and went to Target…but those trips were to get things that Jameson needed. I didn’t want to be a selfish mom and leave him with someone else (even if it was a grandparent or the hubby) and do something for myself.

Now, remember the lesson on rest?

I’m telling you, go get your hair cut, get your nails done, get a massage. I don’t care what you do, but get out of the house and do something for YOU mama! You’ll be a better mom when you are rejuvenated and refreshed!

  1. Document Weekly

If you have kids already, then I don’t need to tell you how fast babies grow! So find an easy way to document milestones that won’t drive you crazy!

For me, weekly has been the best. Daily is too much and I often forget and they grow too much in a month. So I started taking pictures of Jameson every week with the hashtag of #52weeksofJamesonAllen to document his first year.

I also got a journal where I have a page for each of his pictures on the left and I write him a letter on the right. I talk about how much I love him and milestones that were accomplished that week or any adventures we went on.

This is a great way to document frequently but without the stress of documenting each and every day because let’s face it, us mamas don’t have time for that!

Let’s Recap

So, there you have it mamas, the ten things I learned after bringing how my first baby.

  1. It’s okay to ask for help
  2. Rest
  3. Water Makes Gold…and Keeps You Out of the Hospital
  4. Set Clear Boundaries…and DON’T Feel Bad About It
  5. God is your lifeline…you will NOT get through motherhood without Him
  6. Get Organized
  7. Minimalism is Key
  8. Get out of the house…ALONE
  9. Get Your Hair Cut…Or Nails Done
  10. Document Weekly

The bottom line here, take care of yourself, take care of your baby and don’t sweat the small stuff. You got this mama, you are the best mama for your baby which is why God placed them in your care and not someone else’s.

Do you have any tips for first time (or second, or third or tenth time) mamas? Drop them in the comments below. I’ll be rolling out a tip of the week in each newsletter so make sure and sign up for that too by clicking here.

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