For the mother of the baby:
Lie in bed and let everyone take care of you.
If breastfeeding is difficult and/or painful. DO NOT pick up that breastfeeding book, call me. You do not have to tough out breast/nipple pain. Pain with breastfeeding is a sign that your baby probably isn't getting enough milk. There are solutions. Call me. I'll come over and help you.
Know you will cry. It may be a rational or irrational reason to cry. All those reasons are rational.
Know that you are doing an amazing job and while you might fear others are judging you, your baby I assure you is not. Not yet at least. You have 16 years for that part to happen.
You have been with this baby this baby's whole life, and now with this baby 24/7 still. Know that you will quickly become the expert on your baby. If you hear some advice that makes no sense to you, you are most likely right and that advice probably does not apply to you.
For the support persons of the birth mother of the baby:
Make sure mom can stay in bed and rest.
Don't let a lot of people come over.
If she has to put a shirt on for them to come over, they can't come over.
Take care of the laundry. Do it yourself, drop it off, or have someone else do it.
Wash the dishes. Yourself, machine, delegate, whatever. Just please get it done before she sees them.
Serve her amazing home cooked meals every day. Again, yourself, delegate, whatever.
Assume she is thirsty, don't wait until she asks you for a drink. Bring it.
If mom is crying , comfort her and listen. Never judge her reasons for crying.
Compliment the mom. But he honest. If you cannot find anything to compliment her on, pay closer attention. I'm sure she's doing an amazing job.
Clean the entire house. Again, you can do it, or get someone else to do it.
If breastfeeding is difficult, share her stressed out concern and get help immediately. This is so important to her.
Be sure and take care of yourself too! You also just had a baby. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Eat well, shower, and nap when you can.
For the baby:
Change their diaper often.
Feed them only breastmilk and/or formula. If formula, avoid soy formula unless prescribed by your pediatrician.
Feed them a lot. If exclusively breastfeeding, you will feed them with a frequency that will make you text me and ask if its normal because its so frequent it just seems crazy. Yes, I know. Your baby was used to constant feeding in utero. Their tummy is tiny, breastmilk digests quickly. Rinse and repeat.
Bathe them occasionally after their umbilical stump falls off. Before it falls off, make sure you fold the diaper down to not cover it. It needs to air out or it will smell really bad.
Keep them warm, but naked with just a diaper on mom or other loved one with a blanket on their back is super for skin to skin. Continue skin to skin way after you come home from the hospital.
Sleep when they sleep.
If they are fed well, they will sleep better so focus on getting the feeding together and the rest of your life will be manageable.
You don't need most of those products. If you want to spend a lot of money, buy a washer dryer. And a Nose Frida.
Note: Lactation support is included in my birth doula package. Lactation consults are available to all new parents if I was your birth doula or not. Home visits are $225 for up to 3 hours. Sliding scale is available if you come to my home in Harlem. For details, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.