Editor’s Note: We are proud to announce that Chasity Boatman has joined Texas Forest County Living as a contributing writer. She is a co-owner of Marco’s Pizza in Lufkin, the creator of the blog “Every Child is a Blessing,” the Postpartum Progress Ambassador, and she has spoken at many motherhood conventions across Texas. Her blog has been featured on ABC News, Yahoo News, and USA Today. Here is her first story for us about 10 things a new mother should do for herself, her family, and her baby after the birth of a newborn. Enjoy!
Congratulations on the birth of your newborn! Whether you delivered at a hospital or at home, had a C-section or a natural birth, the week after your birth can be a whirlwind. Below are 10 things I think that everyone should do after having a newborn. Tip: Since you will have a lot going on, you may want to print this out and post it on your refrigerator so you do not forget about it!
1. Spend time in bed
This may seem simple, but it is necessary. Your body needs to heal after birth, and you need to let it. Skin to skin contact has benefits for both mother and child. Stay in bed, snuggle with your baby, sleep when they sleep, breastfeed, and relax. Hopefully you have family and/or friends who will offer to bring you food and clean your house. If not, do not worry about it. Your house can wait.
2. Write down any questions
Keep a notepad and pen next to your bed or use your notepad app on your phone. This way you can write down any questions you may have for your first doctor’s appointment. It could be about your child’s poop, temperature, behavior, or something else entirely. No question is a dumb question. Keeping a list will help you stay organized and give you piece of mind.
3. Be kind to yourself
The first time you see your body in the shower after birth it is going to look different. You will have extra weight, skin, and you may have stretch marks. You may be sore. You may feel unattractive. Do not look at your new body in disgust. Remind yourself that you did a beautiful thing. You nurtured a human being with your body and birthed them. The way your body looks is normal and beautiful. You are gorgeous. No one expects you to look like a model after birth.
4. Write down your birth story
I wrote down Benjamin’s birth story while he napped. It took me a while to write because it was traumatic, but I am so glad that I did. It allowed me to heal from my birth, remember my experience, and share my experience with others.
5. Find a place for birth items
You will receive several items from the hospital including diapers, wipes, a comb, infant hat, infant blankets, infant clothes, and the medical bracelets you both wore. You can place these items in a box, display them on a shelf in your nursery, or put the items in a shadowbox. I put Benjamin’s items in a shadowbox to display in his nursery.
6. Spend time on yourself
You cannot pour from an empty cup. While you’re taking care of your family, you need to remember to take care of yourself as well. Put on a face mask, take a long shower, paint your nails, or read a book.
7. Send out birth announcements
You can put those newborn pictures to good use by putting them on a birth announcement! Birth announcements are a wonderful way to share what your baby looks like, offer a keepsake to family and friends, and showcase your little one’s birth information. You can print off a birth announcement to send in the mail, or post one online.
8. Fill out your baby book
A baby book is the opportunity to fill out all of the details that you will probably forget down the line. Your baby’s birth length, weight, and time of birth is something you will always remember, but you’ll be surprised at how much slips your mind like their favorite food or the first time they stood up. I had strangers ask me all the time when Benjamin started running, babbling, and his first foods. To be honest, I had to look at Benjamin’s baby book a few times. There are a lot of firsts to remember!
9. Prepare for monthly pictures
I love doing monthly pictures with Benjamin! It is a great way to look at how much he has changed each month. Whenever a holiday passes, pick up a couple of discounted props. I have used Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs, fall leaves and pine
cones, and other items I have found in the Target clearance aisle. You will definitely want these pictures for the future!
10. Schedule doctor’s appointments
You will need you schedule your baby’s first appointment with the doctor and a checkup appointment with your OBGYN. Make sure to bring extra baby clothes and diapers to the first doctor’s appointment. They will want your baby naked to weigh and examine them. When you go to your OBGYN appointment, make sure that you tell them if you are feeling any signs of depression, anxiety, or OCD. Postpartum mental illnesses affect 10-15% of mothers. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. You can receive help from your OBGYN.