Learning to become a mother is an extremely bumpy journey; there’s even a name for it. Matrescence is the term coined by Anthropologist Dana Raphael in 1973. It’s used to describe the transition from woman to mother and the normalization of the “mixed feelings” that come with the experience. One of the first parts of this transition is leaving your house for the hospital and coming back with a newborn baby. It’s perhaps one of the most stressful periods of motherhood.
To help you out, we’ve made this compilation of childcare tips to help ease your troubles so you, instead, look forward to bonding with your little one.
A number of procedures will be done on your baby while you’re in the hospital — but don’t worry, as these are standard tests that aim to assess your baby’s health. These procedures include the APGAR test, newborn screening, administration of eye drops, administration of vitamin K, and a hepatitis vaccine administration. Take note that there may be other tests done depending on the situation of your baby.
The Trip Home
Moms should pack a few clothes for them and their baby to last them a couple of days at the hospital, including their trip home. There’s no need to overdress your baby as it can make them feel uncomfortable; dress them as you would dress yourself, and just keep a couple of baby blankets nearby in case they get cold. The car trip home requires a proper child safety seat as mandated by every state, so remember to buy or rent one before your due week.
The World Health Organization recommends delaying the baby’s first bath until 24 hours after birth. This is because immediate baths could cause minor stress or hypothermia for newborns. Besides, babies don’t need a bath every day, as they rarely sweat or get dirty for most parts of their bodies. Three sponge baths or tub baths per week during your child’s first year may be enough. Over bathing can also dry out your baby’s skin.
A newborn will likely need eight to 12 feedings a day; that’s around one feeding for every two hours. Babies usually know just how much they need. So, when they’re full, they might stop suckling, or close their mouth and turn away from the nipple or bottle. When feeding, stick to breast milk, which is ideal, or an instant formula recommended by your doctor if breastfeeding gets difficult. But as long your child shows steady weight gain, three or more bowel movements a day, and contentment between feedings, they have a healthy diet.
Most first-time parents fear the sleeplessness that comes with a newborn. The truth is that newborns sleep a lot — about 16 to 17 hours a day — except it’s broken up every hour or two by periods of wakefulness. If your baby sleeps more during the day, you might want to wake them whenever daytime naps exceed two hours. It’s also helpful to set a bedtime routine to help their internal clock remember when it’s time to sleep. Though if your baby’s wakefulness gets too difficult to handle, you might want to enlist extra help.
If you need help caring for your little one, consider getting a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS). NCS agencies are especially helpful to moms who choose to stay in the workforce. These organizations can connect you to a qualified nurse who can tend to your baby while you're away. And with the growing number of RN to BSN programs, more nurses are gaining the skills to become NCSs, such as family assessment and practical care applications. You can trust these professionals to create good routines for the baby during a crucial part of their development.
The additional help can ensure that you have the energy to bond with your baby without feeling burnt out.
For new moms, don’t forget to take time for self-care during and after your pregnancy. Take it one step at a time and don’t worry too much. Your family, friends, and trusted health professionals will help guide you to making well-informed decisions about your baby’s care.
Article contributed by Rachael Joseph
Exclusively for La Belle Bump