That first week of motherhood...
Welcome to the most wonderful yet terrifying of week of your life so far.
One word - intense.
The first 24 hours. There'll be blood, milk, tears, sweat and a whole host of bodily fluids to deal with, you'll cry tears of pain, tears of joy, tears of relief, tears for no reason (other than the fact that you just created and birthed an actual human). You'll simultaneously experience utter love and utter exhaustion like you never could have imagined. You'll be riding on a cloud of excitement and adrenaline, and spend a lot of time staring at your new, perfect little being.
Over the next week, tiredness and hormones start to seep in - you'll probably question your decisions, whilst trying to process the contradictory advice of well meaning friends and family. You'll be tired, oh so tired. It takes a while to get over birth, whichever way you do it and you need to rest...your new, tiny little human however, does not care about that. It'll want to be with you, near you, on you as much as it can, it's helpless without you - and it knows it.
Your boobs will hurt, you'll wonder if the latch is right, (it hurts for 10 days even if you have the best latch in the world) and days 3-5, as your milk comes in, you'll probably be the blubbering mess that is 'The Baby Blues'. Don't worry, it passes (if it doesn't pass after 2 weeks, seek help).
You won't really know what you're doing, but what you will know that it's your job to protect and care for that baby, whatever it takes.
Visitors or no visitors? Some people like to be left alone with their new arrival and some feel isolated and want loads of visitors (This was me). Have a think about it and be sure to tell people what you think you'll want. Also - it's ok to change your mind!
Having both done this twice over, Lonzi&Bean have put together a list of first week essentials to help get you through that insane first week from hospital to home. This doesn't include what you'll need for baby, this is just about looking after number 1. It's fine to spend the first week holed up in bed with your new baby - but you'll need to have the following within easy reach, in your hospital bag and then at home...
1. Tissues (Loads)
2. Maternity pads (Or good nighttime pads like Always Night)
3. Chewing gum (For when brushing teeth is a luxury!)
4. Antibacterial hand wipes (There'll be lots of uses for these)
5. Face wipes & wet wipes (Good for a quick refresh)
6. Sweets & snacks (For midnight energy)
7. Nipple cream (Lanisnoh is great)
8. Breast pads (From day 3)
9. Disposable or big dark coloured panties (1 or 2 sizes bigger than usual).
10. Magazines (Some informative, some trashy)
11. Lip balm (hospitals are warm & your lips dry out during labour)
12. Shower gel/soap (antibacterial like Protex or Dettol is a good idea)
13. A few clean pairs of front opening PJs (You'll be in them for a few days)
14. A soft, stretchy feeding bra
15. Deodorant & dry shampoo (For when that shower remains elusive)
16. Lots of water or juice (To replenish a lot of those lost fluids)
17. A notepad & pen (For thoughts, & remembering which boob you last used)
18. Pre-cooked/frozen ready meals
19. Rescue Remedy (Bean swears by this!)
20. Hairbrush & hairbands
Plus of course, champagne, a couple of good nursing tops from Lonzi&Bean :) oh, and a sense of humour!
Good luck and enjoy this wonderfully life-changing time.