FEATURE ARTICLE: Welcome Home, New Mom!

Five proven steps to ease the first week after you've given birth

After nine months of waiting followed by the intense work of childbirth, the time has finally arrived. You're ready to take your baby home.

Preparations have been in the making for weeks. A frozen casserole is thawing in the refrigerator; disposable diapers and handsewn breast pads line the bottom shelf of the bathroom linen closet; and the phone machine message is ready to go. You've looked forward to basking in the settled-in warmth of your own home. You can even imagine yourself curling up on the couch after tucking the baby in bed, sparkling cider in your hand.

The fantasy disappears as soon as you walk in the front door. Rather than peacefully sleeping, your baby starts crying loudly. Well-intentioned friends arrive, asking for a peek. (Their visit lasts for 40 minutes.)

Then Aunt Martha phones from Wyoming. As you graciously try to excuse yourself from the conversation, your milk suddenly lets down and soaks your clothes. Meanwhile, your husband tries to clean up the remainder of a surprise bowel movement that managed to escape the diaper.

Two hours later, with your baby asleep at last, you both collapse, exhausted, on the couch.

Five Steps to Sanity

With a new baby, life changes substantially, but you can take the following steps to ease this major life transition:

1. Limit visitors. The "babymoon" is not a time for extensive socializing. Don't feel reluctant to limit phone calls and visitors; you didn't when you were first married. Like the honeymoon, the transition period after a baby's birth is a time of bonding and intimacy.

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May 25

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