If you’re leaving to go home from the hospital, I recommend you eat a good breakfast before you pack up your bags. Hopefully, you brought a cute outfit to bring baby home in. Stick with a long-sleeved kimono (easy on/off) and some newborn pants. Bring some hand mitts and socks too. As for yourself, you should bring maternity clothes to wear home, as your belly will still be about six months pregnant at this time (sorry, gals).
Have a family member bring up the car seat before you leave. This way, you can take as much time as you need to ensure that baby is properly secured since it will be your first time.
Leaving the hospital is an emotional moment. Hopefully, you had a wonderful experience and are hugging the nurses goodbye. If you are renting a breast pump from the hospital, have your partner go pick it up before you check out because it takes a long time to fill out all that paperwork, blah, blah blah.
The Car Ride Home
Boy, I am getting really granular here, no? The car ride home can be nerve-wracking. Please, please bring a pacifier with you to use – even if only on this one special occasion. A crying newborn will not make for a good homecoming. You may want to ride in the back seat with your baby so you can keep an eye on things.
Sitting in the car will only remind you how bad your lady parts hurt. Remind your partner to avoid bumps (ahem) at all costs.
The First Week Home
The first week home from the hospital is hell. Sorry. If anyone tells you differently, they are lying or just don’t have a very good memory.
The reason I say this is not to scare you, but to give you some realistic expectations. If you know that you are expecting Hurricane [enter baby’s name here] to make landfall as a Category 4, you can prepare yourself accordingly. Remember: It’s only a week or so. After the first several days, things get better VERY quickly. I promise.
For thousands of generations (except for the last 1 or 2), women lived in tribal societies where mothering skills were passed along in tight-knit familial communities. A newborn baby would have been cared for by grandmothers, aunts, cousins, siblings, etc.
A new mom would not be alone to figure things out on her own. You can’t be expected to *know* what to do, you must learn these things. To be honest, it requires a bit of hand-holding. During this first week (or two), it is so important to have loved ones at your house to help you. Your partner is great, but let’s face it, they are as clueless as you. I highly recommend a mother, MIL, a sister, or a good friend – preferably someone who has been through this before. Unless all of the aforementioned people drive you nuts, don’t go it alone. I know a lot of FTMs who insisted on flying solo so they could figure everything out for themselves. This is not the time for self-teaching, trust me. You are way too fucked up in the head.
“Chris and I had planned to spend a week alone at home with the baby, just the three of us, before having our families come for a visit. We had wanted uninterrupted time to bond as a family.
We chose not to have a baby nurse, either, because not only did we not want a stranger in our home, but we figured we could handle it ourselves until our relatives came to stay. We couldn’t have been more wrong. We were anything but peaceful, and because we were alone, we were overwhelmed.”
— Brooke Shields in Down Came the Rain
Accept help from your tribe (however, don’t let the whole tribe bombard your house, as this will cause other forms of insanity…).
Next: Recovering from birth
See also: The Lowdown on Grocery Delivery Services… give yourself a break after birth