For our first home birth, we were living in Kansas while the rest of our family was living in the northeast. We navigated the majority of baby’s first 4 months completely by ourselves.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the good, bad and indifferent in my first days of motherhood:
Family Visits After Birth
We ignored my midwife’s advice to wait 2 full weeks before having guests and invited my parents + sister to stay with us for 2 weeks after only 3 days postpartum.
It wasn’t the best use of their help because baby just nursed + slept all the time. It wasn’t the most comfortable living arrangement — my boobs were everywhere as I was trying to get comfortable nursing and that was awkward with my dad in the house. It wasn’t the best time socially because I couldn’t physically entertain in the house, or show them around our area, or have my husband do it because I needed his intimate assistance often.
My overly excited mom bought nearly all of Whole Foods with my debit card (I won’t even tell you the amount), made involved meals from scratch that destroyed my kitchen and weren’t nursing-friendly, and her over-purchasing meant about 75% of the food went bad before it could be used. Her effort was so appreciated — she truly exhausted herself — but I just felt awful that I wasn’t in the place of being able to maximize the thoughtfulness.
I had a hard time feeling thankful for her well-meaning gesture or even speaking up for myself because I was so tired. The food had given baby such bad gas that I was even more sleepless than I would’ve been with the standard newborn hours. At 3 days postpartum, my husband and I both didn’t have the bandwidth to adjust the help as we genuinely needed it. We hadn’t had time to learn what would be truly helpful.
For this next pregnancy, we’re living in the northeast again with my parents living 5-minutes away and Kevin’s parents 4-hours away. And we will be holding fast to the 2-week no guest policy: even though it’s the unpopular choice, it’s our decision. When you know better, you do better.
Family Visits After 90 Days
The best use of visit time was when my sister returned to Kansas when my daughter was 3-months-old + much more alert. We had established our breastfeeding routine, she was playful + curious, I had identified where I was struggling as far as home management, etc. + could easily rattle off an ask for help without much thought at all. I had a good idea of what I would feel comfortable doing socially: like going out to lunch or local attractions. I genuinely looked forward to her visit because I knew what I needed + what I wanted.
Before parenthood, I would hear the expression “the days are long but the years are short” all the time + I would shrug it off. As a mother, I can completely understand the expression. It’s so true — especially as it applies to breastfeeding.
Those beginning days of nursing felt like they dragged on forever, but here I am 2 years + 3 months later, pregnant with our second baby, and still nursing successfully. Time flew.
I learned that my baby was born with a tongue + lip tie, but that not all tongue + lip ties need medical intervention. She learned to nurse without any assistance, which I am SO grateful for. This meant a few painful days for me in figuring out the best positioning + adaptation for the both of us.
I learned that pumping before 6 weeks can interrupt establishing your natural breastmilk supply. I made the decision to not pump at all and instead breastfeed exclusively. I also made the decision to not use artificial pacifiers or nipples.
I learned how critical a mother’s diet is postpartum. Just because pregnancy is over doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for healthy eating. A few days post-birth, my visiting family wanted to try Chik-fil-A… Let’s just say that the blowout poops + earth-shattering cries my poor baby was giving us proved how big of a mistake that was.
Our breastfeeding success is due largely in-part to our commitment to safe bedsharing from these early days. I am a raving fan of bedsharing + explain more in the posts here:
What other postpartum topics should I cover in this post?
I’ll keep expanding this list as I go back over my notes from Baby #1. If you’re currently pregnant, what are you most curious about? Share in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram.