First Night At Home

For several days you've been the center of quite a circus. From doctors, nurses, friends and family, blinking monitors and pinging machines it's been a non-stop frenzy of attention, advice, instruction and noisy encouragement in the magic of delivering your baby. You're drained, tired, worn down and just plain sick of it. Finally you get the chance to leave the hospital and return to the comfy confines of your own home.

Don't be surprised if you experience a flood of mixed emotions. While you may be relieved to finally leave the hospital you will naturally feel you have also left a very safe and soothing comfort zone. Not having a doctor or nurse at your side can stir feelings of loneliness, anxiety and even guilt. Because of the hormonal changes your body has gone through you can begin to feel bouts of postpartum depression, terrifying anxiety attacks and plain nerves. Your partner may also be feeling a wave of emotions from too much sudden pressure now that he's being asked to take on a full-time daddy role after feeling left out for much of the pregnancy and delivery. Don't panic. These emotions are natural and part of the adjustment period you, your partner and your baby will go through.

Depending on how much time you had to spend with your baby at the hospital the first night can be quite an experience as you will now have to become accustomed to his unique schedule. Obviously, mommy and daddy should not expect to get a lot of sleep the first night, week or even month(s). It could take some time before a regular pattern or schedule sets in so be flexible in dealing with the roller coaster ride you're on.

If possible have everything you'll need in place when first arriving home. Nothing is worse than a new mommy coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes, a too hot or cold nursery room, crazy pets and a room full of friends and family elbowing their way to catch a glimpse of the baby. It is highly recommended that your first night home be a quiet, special time with just you, your partner and the baby. If you have pets or other children this is the best time to take friends and family up on their offer to help by asking them to watch the dog or kids for a night or two while you adjust.

A nice, soothing environment can be achieved with soft lighting, gentle music and a warm temperature. Another good idea is to turn off cell phones, the television, pages and other electronics that will disturb the quiet. Allergenic candles, pleasing incense and soft classical music to calm everyone down are another great idea. This is your time and you should spend it the way you see fit.

Naturally, friends, family, siblings and even pets will be excited and anxious to greet the newborn baby. How you introduce your baby to the well-wishers is something you will want to do carefully and with patience as the experience can easily be overwhelming to both you and the baby. Everyone means well but the stimulation of too many new faces and strange hands can be a little nerve-wracking. Daddy is often the best bet to play gatekeeper and decided when and where people will get their first look at the infant.