first week home as a new mom

The New Mom Survival Guide

You’re finally home with your new baby, a little bit exhausted, overwhelmed, and confused about how to do this “mom” thing. The first few days or even months with your baby can be fierce. Both you and baby are experiencing so many firsts together, and a little help in the form of my new mom survival guide is just what you need to push through!

We’re covering all those need-to-know essentials that will help you push through those late nights and tough feeds. You will get the rundown on how – and when – you can sleep through the night again, all the baby sh*t you actually need (not just what TikTok told you to buy), and more!

Let’s dive in…

What to Expect During Your First Week Home as a New Mom

Your first week home as a new mom can be one of the hardest, most fulfilling times you’ll experience with your newborn. While you might be experiencing a lack of sleep and attempting to heal postpartum, you’re also getting those fresh newborn cuddles. I highly recommend taking the advice “sleep when your baby sleeps” at least for this week – and maybe the next one too. Seriously, the chores can wait!

This is the adjustment period, your first “intro” into motherhood… The key to surviving this time is to reach out for help when you need it. Ask visitors (if you’re accepting any) to bring a meal and delegate information sharing to your partner or a family member that you trust. Find a support group in person or online to share your anxiety, ask questions, and just exist and feel that sense of sisterhood, community, and connection. If you can make it work in your budget, I’ve never known anyone to regret hiring help – whether that is a housekeeping service, a postpartum doula, or a newborn care specialist to provide overnight care.

Don’t hesitate to be open and honest with yourself and your support system about how you’re feeling. They may not be able to fully comprehend what you’re experiencing, but they will be able to offer emotional support and provide relief where they can – like holding your newborn while you take a shower. Or, washing the bottles and pump parts or moving the laundry along while you enjoy a peaceful moment to hold your baby!

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to be sure that you are practicing safe sleep for your newborn for every sleep. 

How to Make It Through Your First Two Months Postpartum

By two months, you’ve pretty much made it out of the roughest time after giving birth. Now, you can look forward to your newborn sleeping through the night – or rather, you can start working with your newborn to get them to sleep through the night! And, outside of any medical issues, you’ve made it past your six-week check-up and have hopefully been cleared by your OB to resume any physical activity that you would enjoy. 

This is typically when you realize how much useless – and useful – baby stuff you have around your house. Your baby is getting into a routine and you’ve figured out whether or not your baby likes to take a paci and if they prefer rocking or bouncing. You can tell when nap time is coming and you feel more confident in knowing when your baby is hungry or when they are crying for some other reason. And when they are really fussy, you’ve got the tools you need for dealing with the crying. Overall, you’ll have a better sense of how much time you have during your day and how you need to use it.

During this time, I recommend utilizing meal planning. You can save time while making sure you’re getting enough nutrients to feed yourself, and if you’re breastfeeding, to feed your baby too. 

Now, just because you can start getting back into your routine before baby it doesn’t mean you should. Take things slowly and make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared to “get back into it” before you fully return to your usual habits. Prioritize rest, self-care, and emotional awareness during this time.

What Happens During The First Six Months After Having a Baby?

The six-month mark is an important milestone for you postpartum because by then your hormones should return to pre-pregnancy levels! This also means that you’ve most likely started your period again. Overall, you’re at the halfway point of postpartum recovery.

There’s no standard for where your body is right now. It all depends on your lifestyle pre-pregnancy, your mental health, and your lifestyle now. Try not to let it stress you – you and your body have accomplished something amazing! Plus, you have another six months before your body is considered anywhere close to “back to normal.”

As for baby, they are much more active than they were at two months. You’ll notice they can recognize voices and even their name, have a range of expressions, play with and grasp their toys, and some might be able to sit up for a short period of time with no assistance! 

If you’re a working mom, you are most likely back at it and have been for a while… which can keep sleep and self-care on the back burner. But, as I’ve mentioned before, you have to try your hardest to keep sleep a priority. Getting enough sleep will have a huge impact on your health and motivation.

What to Expect At One Year Postpartum

Your body has finally returned to its pre-pregnancy state! Your hormones have balanced out, your baby should be sleeping through the night – if not, I highly recommend sleep training – and you’ve gotten into a good routine and have the hang of this “motherhood” thing. Well, as much as any mother can ever truly feel like she’s got parenting figured out!

Now, your body may not be exactly back to its previous state. Your breasts may look different regardless of if you’re still breastfeeding/pumping, if you never breastfed, or somewhere in between. If you have stretch marks, it’s unlikely they’re going anywhere, but they tend to fade to a more natural color at this point. 

Hitting one year with your baby is super exciting! They are continuing to grow and develop and it’s showing! For example, your baby might be able to stand unassisted or even walk. They may be saying a few simple words like “no” or “bye” and identifying common objects or people.

Due to all the different developmental markers you are watching for in your little one, it can be easy to get anxious about how they compare to others their age. Babies tend to develop during a range of time – for example, walking may happen at 10 months, 13 months, or 15 months, and all of those times are considered normal! Premature babies and babies with health conditions may have delayed milestones.

If you’re looking for some guidelines, I recommend the CDC’s Milestone Tracker app. If you want ideas for activities based on your baby’s current developmental stage, definitely check out BabySparks. And while I bet lots of moms talk about this in your due date groups, you should steer clear of “Wonder Weeks” – these are basically just baby horoscopes. Parents will read into them what they want, but the idea of “leaps” simply isn’t supported by research.

Anytime you have concerns about your baby’s development, ask your pediatrician. They’ll let you know what to expect for your baby and when delays are normal as well as when they are not. 

Just Do Your Best For You and Your Baby!

Don’t stress about being the perfect mom (there is no such thing) and just do your best for you and your baby. Reach out when you need help, find support from other moms, and speak up for your baby’s needs. This is your first time being a mom and just like all other things in the world, there is a learning curve.

Take advantage of the resources that are available to you as a new mom and do your best to prep as much as you can before baby arrives or soon after. Learn about All the Baby Sh*t You Need (And Don’t), fill out your Postpartum Care Plan and Workbook, and definitely check out my guide to The First Two Weeks After Birth if you want to know how to maximize your sleep in those early days!

Need support, but don’t know where to start? Don’t hesitate to reach out and have a quick chat – I would love to help!

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