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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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Preparing for your baby: The first weeks after birth

Finding your support network

After your baby is born, it is important that you have some family or friends who can help you and give you support.

Identify them now and make a list of their phone numbers. You can make plans now for them to come after you are home from the hospital.

  • Who will be of most help to you in the first week after the baby is born?
  • What will that person (those people) do?
  • Who is a good listener and will want to hear your birth story?
  • Who can give you emotional support and reassurance of your ability to parent?
  • Who can give you practical support for feeding and newborn care concerns?

Postpartum doula

Tip

Visit www.DONA.org for more information about how to find doulas in your area.

If you don't have family and friends who can help you right after your baby is born, consider hiring a postpartum doula.

This is a person who helps with household tasks. She also gives support and information about infant care and feeding.

This person is different from a birth doula, who helps during childbirth. In addition to asking about services, find out what kind of training the doula has. Some are breastfeeding experts or have training in infant development.

Home care visit

You may qualify for a home visit by a home care nurse. This home visit occurs shortly after you leave the hospital. You can ask this nurse questions about your recovery, newborn care, infant feeding, and any other questions or concern you have.

This visit can be reassuring to all new parents. Ask your health care provider if a home care visit is an option for you. Ongoing home care visits for the physical needs of you or your baby may be needed after you are home from the hospital. These needs might be for a blood pressure check, baby weight check, feeding or jaundice assessments.

Making household tasks easier

Planning ahead will make it easier to get and use household help after your baby is born:

  • Determine the most important household tasks then decide who will do them.
  • Freeze some meals ahead. It's helpful to have them packaged as single portions.
  • Look for ready-to-use vegetables at your grocery store.
  • Look for already prepared and ready-to-cook foods at your grocery store.
  • Make a checklist of the items you buy most frequently so that someone can grocery shop for you.
  • Get a note pad and pen you can stick on your refrigerator. Use it to write down things you need. When someone offers help, refer to the list.
  • Consider using paper plates and cups for a few weeks to reduce dishwashing.

Preparing your older child

  • Move your older child to a new bed or bedroom at least a month before the baby will be born. That gives him time to get used to it before the stresses of the baby.
  • Buy and wrap a few small gifts to give your older child if someone comes and only brings a gift for your baby.
  • Help your child make a card or present for your baby.
  • Let your child plan and help prepare a party to celebrate your baby's birth.
  • Consider having a gift to celebrate your child's becoming a big brother or sister.

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 08/22/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts