I had a few extra days to heal and rest while my little one was in the NICU and the truth is that the NICU nurses taught me a lot and the baby too. He came home from the hospital sleeping for 3-4 hours at a time and eating like a champ. He nursed and took bottles beautifully. Well, nursing took some practice but we were both patient and I offered the breast before a bottle every time so eventually we got it down. I can see why some women give it up. It can be challenging for a number of reasons but I was fortunate enough to have twelve weeks maternity leave to get it right.
Having a newborn can be overwhelming. I was blessed with a good sleep for which I am SO grateful. I'm a weenie when it comes to sleep. Seriously. But I had some rules for myself to help prevent baby blues and stave off postpartum depression. I was a little worried about developing ppd because I'm not used to being home like that at all and I know the hormones can make you crazy...So here were my rules. They helped me a lot:
1. shower EVERY day. Some days this is a great accomplishment. Hint: take the baby in the bathroom with you and put him/her in their bouncy chair or rock and play just outside the shower so you can peek at them as much as your obsessive, overprotective heart desires. Even if they scream the whole time, it will make you feel better. Which will make you a better mom :)
2. Don't be shy about needing some "you" time to your spouse or significant other. Even if it's just a trip to the grocery store, sometimes its nice to just have a little time away. I always missed him too much to stay away long anyway.
3. Make plans to go somewhere with baby at least once a week. It helps you practice getting both of you ready to head out the door and it helps boost your mood to get out.
4. Invite friends/family over to visit once in a while. It's nice to socialize for you and baby. And there will be days you feel like you could really use the conversation.
5. sleep as much as you can when you can. Like I said I had a good sleeper but I didn't hesitate to join him for a nap now and then too.
6. MOST IMPORTANT: cherish your time with your baby. They grow heartbreakingly fast. Even in the middle of the night when your baby screams and you just want to cry, STOP. Take a breath and look at their sweet little face. They need you and want you and one day all too soon that may not be the case anymore. One day they will be too busy, too old, or too "cool" for snuggles and kisses and it will break your heart a little. Cherish every moment. Every gummy smile, every snuggle, every time they want you to comfort them, every time they just want to be with you.