The first days with a newborn: a mum and dad cuddling with their newborn.

Advice for new parents: how to prepare your postpartum care and daily routine with your newborn

As your due date approaches, the excitement of welcoming a new family member grows. You have a very special time ahead of you, filled with unconditional love and joy, but also with challenges and new beginnings. To be able to fully enjoy the first few days with your baby and to recover from the strains of birth, it is a good idea to prepare for your postnatal period. We have compiled the most important tips for the first few days of life with your newborn and explain what to expect during this exciting time.

Postnatal period: get prepared for the first few days with your newborn

During the postnatal period you should take time to give your little family your full attention. This will allow you to spend time with your little angel, share unforgettable moments and settle into a daily routine that works for both of you. Midwives recommend snuggling up at home as a family for a week or two so that the mum and baby can recover from the strains of birth. During this time it is important that the mum and baby have everything they need. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare for a postnatal period ahead of time. Here are some tips:

  • Cook meals in advance that you only need to heat up later on.

  • Stock up on food and drinks so that you always have enough food at home.

  • Plan which tasks your partner can take on during this time and which tasks can be put on hold for the time being.

  • Ask family members and close friends if they can support you during this time. For example, get help with grocery shopping and errands, everyday tasks such as walking the dog or picking up/taking care of siblings.

  • Make sure you have a hot water bottle or a cherry stone pillow handy.

  • Think about where in your home you would like to breastfeed and create a cosy nook with pillows, a nursing pillow and blankets.

Puerperium: a pile of baby clothes and a dummy.

Newborn routine: essentials for you and your baby

To be prepared for all eventualities during the first few days, you should have the following items in your home:

  • Make sure you have a comprehensive hygiene kit for you and your baby. These include, for example:

    • Maternity pads

    • Nursing pads

    • Disposable wash cloths

    • Nipple cream

    • Fragrance free soap and personal care items such as deodorant

    • Nail clippers for your baby

    • A nappy cream for your baby’s bottom and a mild body lotion if you need one

    • Baby oil made from natural ingredients if you need one

    • A soft hairbrush for your baby

    • A thermometer

  • For bathing your baby you should have the following items:

    • Soft towels, optionally with a hood

    • 1 baby bathtub

    • Bath time products made from natural ingredients (optional)

    • 1 bath thermometer

  • Changing products are available at your localchemist or supermarket:

    • Nappies

    • Wash cloths or baby wipes suitable for cleaning and drying your baby’s bottom

    • Towels as a changing mat

    • Nappy bin & nappy container

Download our newborn care checklist PDF

Postnatal period: the right clothes for you and your baby

Suitable clothing for your postnatal period helps you feel more comfortable so that you can concentrate on what’s important: spending valuable time with your baby.

Choose soft, comfortable clothing that provide maximum comfort and freedom of movement. Your body needs time to recover and comfortable clothes can support this process and help you feel relaxed. Get yourself some nursing bras too. They are made from skin-friendly, stretchy fabrics, which will support your bust and make nursing easier. Make sure that your panties are breathable and loose-fitting to help keep the skin healthy and avoid unpleasant irritation.

We have compiled further tips and more detailed information in this article:

Discover our postpartum clothes

Comfortable clothes for new mums

Put together a selection of different clothes for your little one. The clothes you choose should generally have a looser fit. Wrapover bodysuits with press studs, an elasticated neckline and cuffs are particularly practical. Envelope necklines and round necklines that can be opened also make it easier to change your baby.

In the following article you will find a checklist and also a list full of helpful tips on this topic:

Newborn essentials

Comfortable clothes for newborns
Tip

How should I dress my baby so that it doesn’t get cold? You can find the answer to this question and more practical tips and tricks in our article on: How to dress your baby for every season.

Newborn tips: appointments after your baby has arrived

During this time when getting to know each other everything revolves around your little family. However, you shouldn’t lose sight of important appointments and tasks:

  • Talk to your midwife about how you could best organise your antenatal care schedule. Check with your health insurance for more information on how many visits they will cover.

  • Make an appointment with a lactation consultant or midwife and have them check if your baby is latching on correctly. This will give you peace of mind and you can discuss any further questions you may have with them.

  • In some countries, during the first few days of your baby’s arrival, a healthcare professional will give your baby a thorough physical examination. Remember to ask your local GP for an appointment.

  • In case you did not register your baby’s birth before leaving the hospital, you can do this at your local General Register Office. Check your local birth registration laws for more information. Some countries may require unmarried fathers to apply for paternal responsibility.

  • Let your employer know well in advance about your due date, so that you can plan your maternity leave. Also let your employer know how long you plan on taking maternity leave. Check the laws and regulations regarding maternity leave and maternity pay in your country of residence.

  • Don't forget to register your baby with your health insurance provider.

  • Also find out whether you can claim any child benefits in your country of residence.

Newborn routine: a mum and dad lying in bed with their baby.

Life with a newborn: daily schedule with a baby

In general, your baby will sleep most of the time for the first 24 hours to recover from the strains of birth. However, many babies are already much more alert by the next day and want to be nursed more often. This is often the case as babies need time to adjust to their new surroundings.

There is, however, one very familiar element for your baby: mummy and daddy. So keep your baby close, talk to them and sing to them. A lot of skin-to-skin contact helps build a strong bond with your baby. This will make them feel safe and show that they are loved.

From time to time your baby may feel overwhelmed or irritable in which case you can gently rock your little one in your arms to calm them down. Try to project calm and reassurance. These episodes are often short-lived and will pass quickly.

Tip

Normally, the first few days after birth should be reserved for you and your baby. This is why it is okay to prioritise things, such as postponing visitors or switching off your mobile phone. Your family and friends will understand.

It is completely normal if sometimes you feel overwhelmed or unsure if you are doing everything right. However, you should trust your gut feeling. We often do things out of intuition and during the first days, weeks and months you can usually do nothing wrong in terms of parenting. In addition, you can always get support and advice from your midwife.

Tip

The period after your baby is born is exciting and filled with emotional ups and downs. Some mothers are not only overjoyed in the first few days after their baby’s birth, but can also be very emotional, sad or even irritable. These ups and downs are caused by hormonal changes after pregnancy. This emotional chaos is normal and usually disappears within a few days. However, you should not hesitate to get help and advice from a midwife or healthcare professional if you have any concerns or problems.

Don’t let yourself get stressed out during the first few days and weeks and make sure to accommodate your baby’s needs. After a while, you can slowly start reintroducing structure into your daily routine with your baby (e.g., with morning and evening routines).

Conclusion: everyday life with your baby will be an exciting new adventure for you

The first days with a newborn will no doubt be an exciting and challenging time for new parents. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare your postnatal period well in advance so that the three of you can enjoy your time together in peace. Rely on friends and family and take a relaxed approach to your new everyday life with your baby. With each passing day you will gain confidence in your new role and find new routines that suit the both of you.

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References and further information

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1051918/seven-steps-to-creating-a-successful-baby-routine
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https:www//mybabymanual.co.uk/early-years/new-mother/first-seven-days-at-home-with-your-newborn/
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https://www.nct.org.uk/labour-birth/after-your-baby-born/adjusting-life-new-baby-15-practical-tips
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/getting-know-your-baby
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/what-to-expect-babys-first-week/
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/your-newborn-30-tips-for-the-first-30-days/
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

https://www.thebump.com/a/checklist-moms-postpartum-supplies
(Last accessed on 28.11.2023)

The image sources in this text are in chronological order

Cover photo: iStock.com/boggy22

  1. Image in text: iStock.com/Mikolette

  2. Image in text: iStock.com/vkuslandia

  3. Image in text: iStock.com/Mladen Zivkovic

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