1. Room Setting: Once the new mom and baby are back from the hospital (even that much journey and movement is exhausting sometimes) they should be put up in a room which is airy, well ventilated, has access to morning sunshine, is not very noisy (traffic honking etc) and has both dim and bright lighting option which comes handy at night time. It's really good if the room has an attached bathroom as bathroom visits for mom as well as baby, bathing and massaging the baby and also washing clothes etc becomes easier.
I know everyone has a different home setting and sometimes there is space constraint and also a pre-decided place but my point is to prepare that place well for the infant and the mother. A neat and tidy room with a comfortable bed and mattress, curtains to cut off excess light, dust, and noise and clean bedsheets with a small baby almirah or rack and not extra furniture is in itself very relaxing.
2. The Crib: The next important question is "where will the baby lie and sleep?". In India mostly babies co-sleep with their mother so one can either go for a crib option where the crib can be kept near the bed and shifted through wheels. Baby beds are also available in the market and are a good option. They can be placed on the normal bed or even in the crib. Even in the crib a mattress, mustard pillow, extra pillows, baby bed sheet, covering sheet, quilt etc needs to be placed.
Baby beds usually come in beautiful colours with an appropriate baby mattress, pillows, bed sheet etc. One can choose as per the need. Also, wet proof sheets should be placed in the crib and on the bed for handling peeing and pooping.
3. Baby Almirah: A baby almirah is one good thing to invest in before the baby comes back home. Newborns need a change of nappies several times in a day and night too, also even the upper clothing needs to be changed sometimes. There is really lots of baby related small stuff that needs to be kept neatly and in reach for easy accessibility.
In my case, we had bought an almirah and used the lower shelf for things which were not frequently needed. In the upper 2 shelves, I had adjusted, clothes, napkins, nappies, cap, mittens, socks, cotton, rough clothes etc and lower ones were used for toiletries and medicines. Also in one rack were an extra baby cover, bedsheets etc.
4. Feeding: Newborns feed on demand and almost many times during the day and night. By the time you leave the hospital, you will get an idea of whether things like bottles, etc are needed or not. Also for breastfeeding mom's sometimes nipple shields, ointments, breast pump etc are needed. Some people can exclusively breastfeed successfully while for others it can be a combination of formula and breastfeed or even formula only. So, if the baby is exclusively breastfed then the mother will definitely feel tired and exhausted with all her healing too taking place simultaneously, so if you have bought a pregnancy pillow then that will help you a lot, else try and take pillow support at your back and under the thighs while feeding. This way the new mom can take rest and feed in a relaxing position.
If the baby is formulae fed, before leaving the hospital you should consult the paediatrician about it. Also, keep in mind that sterilisation will be one main work that we need to do when the baby is formulae fed. If you want you can buy a steriliser or else bottles, nipples, cap, and feeding equipment needs to be washed and boiled every time and stored so, best is to keep them in the fridge in a clean basket and buy at least 2 sets.
(Also read: 25 Questions Answered On Skincare For Newborn Baby)
5. Baby Laundry: My baby was born at the start of the rainy season and a very important point I had missed was that there will be a lot of baby laundry to be handled. Washing the laundry separately and also drying it up will need appropriate help and space and things like a stand or cloth hangers. So, it's better to plan for this thing especially when family help is less as this will add to the troubles.
6. Massaging The Mother And Baby: This is a matter of personal choice and also whether you can get a good person to do that or not. Personally I have found that even before delivery if one enquires in the neighbourhood about a good massage help for both baby (both massaging and bathing) and mom for at least initial few weeks, it not only helps the mother learn new things from that person's experience, but also helps her to recover.
I had a lot of swelling and pain in my body after delivery and massaging carefully helped reduce it. It helped me become completely active in one week after the stitches were removed. We had prepared a special mustard oil for that and many people use ghee, almond oil, Coconut oil etc for this. Also, I took my baths with warm water which had ajwain water boiled in it and that helped me relax a lot.
Another important point was that in many households new mom's are asked to refrain from bathing but believe me, once you are back home and if you take care of the stitches etc. and bathe it is most relaxing and gives a fresh and clean feeling. Also because the catheter is inserted after a C-section in private area for urination and postpartum bleeding, cleaning it properly is very essential to avoid infections later.
Besides that a few more points are:
For a new mother taking care of her diet and water intake (I had taken warm boiled ajwain water for 1.5 months) etc is very essential for recovery and Breastfeeding both. Also never ignore the care that is needed with stitches as if some problem occurs, it can be a nightmare to handle.
Family and spouse support and help are very much needed by even the strongest of the women at this time so don't shy away in asking for it. Whenever you can, take rest and sleep or do something relaxing to keep sane as it is a very hectic phase both physically and emotionally.
Keeping in touch with your doctor and also a good paediatrician is very helpful in initial months and years as one has to regularly consult them for many things like vaccinations, colic, infections, feed etc for baby as well as for some gynaecological problems for the lady. So being in touch helps.
Last but not try to be happy, and listen to good advice from well-wishers while ignoring all the judging and unwarranted advice and comments from people that can spoil your mood and spirit.
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