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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?

    If you don't have family and friends who can help you right after your baby is born, you can consider hiring a postpartum doula. This person can do tasks to help you enjoy and care for your baby, including providing education.

    Tip

    Visit our resources page for more information about how to find a local doula or home health care agency.

    Mother newborn 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.

    The home care nurse will check your and your baby's health, answer your questions about health or baby care, newborn feeding issues and provide education and support.

    Your hospital nurse may help you schedule a home care visit before you leave the hospital.

    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 prepared, ready-to-serve meals and vegetables at your grocery store.
    • Make a checklist of the items you buy most often 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.

    Preparing your older child

    • Move your older child to a new bed or bedroom at least a month before the baby will be born. This will give 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 a gift to celebrate your child's becoming a big brother or sister.
    • Read your child books about being a big brother or big sister and help them prepare for their new role. 
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