18 Things Not to Do After Giving Birth

After 9 months of carrying your precious baby, you’re probably hoping for a break once they’re on the outside.

Those first few days and weeks with your baby are nothing short of stressful and emotional. You’re learning how to be a mom while your baby is learning how to survive in the outside world.

I’ve given birth twice and each time was a different experience. The second time I had already learned what I needed (and didn’t need) to do, how to manage my time, and heal quickly.

You may feel a bit overwhelmed as you try to recover and care for your baby simultaneously. However, there are ways in which you can ease the transition into motherhood and make things go as smooth as possible (but still not perfect).

Read on for 18 things that you should NEVER do after having a baby and the things you should do instead.

Related Post: 33 Things All New Moms Should Know About Childbirth

The days and weeks following delivery of your baby can be stressful. Follow these tips of what not to do after childbirth and ease the transition home.

1. Don’t expect it to go smoothly

Instead: Understand it will be tough, but you’ll get through it.

Although you’ll be so ecstatic that you’re finally able to hold your new baby in your arms, those first few days and weeks never go as planned. No matter how many doctors you talk to, blogs you read, or baby care classes you attend, you’ll never fully prepare yourself for the unknown of newborn parenting.

Due to the fact that every child is different, you may not know exactly which cry means your baby is hungry, why they only had 2 poops today, but 5 yesterday, or how long you have to rock them before they even fall asleep.

Caring for a newborn is very much trial-and-error. You’ll know what works for your baby after you’ve tried a million attempts only to arrive back at the first idea that ends up working!

Although it may not go as smoothly as you envisioned, being as prepared as possible will definitely help. So read up, watch videos, and ask questions so you’ll feel a little more confident when everything goes ary.

Related Post: My List of Can’t-Live-Without Items for Your Newborn

2. Don’t allow tons of visitors right away

The days and weeks following delivery of your baby can be stressful. Follow these tips of what not to do after childbirth and ease the transition home.

Instead: Tell them you’ll let them know when you’re ready

Everyone you know will probably want to visit, especially your closest family and friends. You may not have the heart to say no, but it’s what’s best for your new family.

Even though you may not feel like it’s a big deal, it will put added stress on you and your baby.

Here is why it’s not best to have visitors so soon:

  • Takes away bonding time with your baby
  • Exposes your baby to germs
  • Makes you feel uncomfortable being naked or exposed
  • Reduces your time to relax
  • Takes away time to talk and ask questions with doctors and nurses
  • Takes away time to get into your own routine and schedule
  • Can stress you out with scheduling timeslots for visitors
  • You’re inviting unsolicited parenting advice

As stated above, your body will be left exposed very often. When you’re in the hospital, the medical staff will be popping in all day to check your private areas.

If breastfeeding, you probably won’t want a shirt on for convenience. Also, when you’re walking around, those hospital gowns will leave your bottom completely exposed.

If you’re having visitors, you’re going to feel like you need to cover up or may feel uncomfortable with others around. You shouldn’t be the one feeling uncomfortable because you just went through childbirth!

Related Post: First Steps to Breastfeeding Success: Helpful Tips From Day One

3. Don’t forget to eat

Instead: Try to have healthy meals or at the least, healthy snacks.

Through delivery, your body was just stripped of a ton of the vitamins and nutrients that it was storing up for the last 9 months. Your energy is pretty depleted and you need healthy foods to build it back up again.

You may not have the biggest appetite right after delivery, but try and get those healthy meals and snacks in to start increasing your body’s fuel once again. You will need all of the nutrients and energy you can get to properly care for your newborn.

Don’t start dieting just yet. If you’re worried about the excess baby weight, you’ll have plenty of time to get it off, but your body needs time.

Related Post: How I Lost the Post-Baby Weight While Breastfeeding

4. You Don’t Have to Keep Baby with You the Whole Time

Instead: Allow the nurses in the nursery to give you a break

After the long-awaited process of childbirth, you need some time to rest. Once you go home, you may not have a lot of help. However, at the hospital you should take advantage of the knowledgable medical staff willing to assist.

Most hospitals provide a nursery where the nurses will care for your baby while you take a much-needed break. The nurses will hold them, bathe them, and soothe them while they cry. You can be assured that your baby is in good hands.

Remember, you can also give the staff specific instructions on how you want your baby cared for. They are there to abide by your wishes and always have the mother’s and baby’s best interests in mind when caring for your child. They will not give your child a bottle if you do not give them the approval to give a bottle! (Many women are worried about this).

Most hospitals are pro-breastfeeding and encourage nursing your child if that is what you choose. They’ll always bring your baby back to you if they know it’s time for a feeding. This way you won’t lose that bonding time with your baby.

Note: Not every hospital offers a nursery where the nurses will take babies in their care so check with your local hospital first to see if they provide this service.

Related post: 29 Things About the Moments After Delivery That All New Moms Should Know

5. Don’t disobey the doctors and nurses

Instead: Follow doctors orders.

Let the medical professionals do their job and make the decisions for your care. If you don’t agree with something they tell you, bring up your concerns. Of course, final approval is always up to you, but trust that they know what they are doing.

Of course, there are times when you need to speak up and go against their requests, but unless you’re fully educated about the risks, safety, and procedure of childbirth, it’s probably best to listen to your healthcare provider.

6. Don’t leave the hospital early

Instead: Stay for your full recovery time allotment.

The hospital can be a very uneasy place after giving birth. You’re laid up in a stiff, uncomfortable bed, barely able to move and all you want is to be home.

You may think you’re well enough to leave, but the safest place to be at this time for you and the baby is in the hospital. There they can continue to monitor you both and make sure there are no complications after delivery.

Just because childbirth is over does not mean that you’re completely in the clear. Your blood pressure could rise, you could develop an infection, or your baby could need treatment. Stay under the care of your physicians and nurses in case any issues arise.

7. Don’t forget to ask all your questions

The days and weeks following delivery of your baby can be stressful. Follow these tips of what not to do after childbirth and ease the transition home.

Instead: Make sure all of your concerns are addressed before leaving the hospital.

No question or concern is too insignificant to ask your healthcare professionals. If someting doesn’t feel or seem right, say something.

Once you’re out of the hospital your doctors are still available to you, however you may find it harder to make a phone call. Sorting through all of your questions while you’re still in the hosptial will prevent any freak outs later on.

Related Post: Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician at Newborn Well Visits

8. Don’t forget to ask for help

Instead: Get assistance from loved ones when possible.

After having a baby, you’re expected to deal with the pain of recovery from childbirth along with taking care of a newborn. It can be so overwhelming to expect yourself to take care of it all.

Obviously your partner should be offering as much assistance as possible, but even he may have a tough time with the burden being all placed on him.

Hopefully you have close family or friends nearby that can lend a hand, cook a meal, run an errand, or even just hold the baby for 30 minutes so you can nap. Dont be afraid to ask!

Related Post: How Dad Can Help with Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Newborns

9. Don’t clean the house

Instead: Rest when you have free time

I know it may seem like there’s a million things to do once you get home with your new baby. There’s laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, and beds to be made.

Those things can wait until you’re feeling better! For now, when you would have a minute break to clean the house, just rest instead! You’ll be happy you did.

A well-rested mama is a happy mama!

10. Don’t put anything up your vagina

Instead: Wait until doctor’s approval

Although you may need to gently clean and pad the outer regions of your privates, don’t put anything up there for at least 6 weeks!

No tampons and no sex until it’s okayed by your doctor. Also, no pools or jacuzzis. Any of these actions could cause bacteria to enter your vagina and cause an infection.

11. Don’t overexert yourself

Instead: Take it easy

There’s a reason why maternity leave is supposed to be at least 6-8 weeks. Your body needs that amount of time to fully recover. Although c-section recovery can be much more strict, vaginal delivery also requires limited exertion and movement during the first few weeks.

Even if you feel ok physically, you could add more stress to your body and just become exhausted. You really need to save all of your energy to get through those middle of the night feedings and witching-hour cries.

Let others do the work for you. You really shouldn’t even be putting in the extra effort to walk upstairs, make your bed, or cook at the stove.

12. Don’t Be Unprepared

Instead: Get your home ready for the new baby with all the essentials and even some optinal items that you may end up needing.

After you give birth, you want all the items that you could possibly need to be at your disposal. Of course, there’s nothing you can’t get with a quick order from Amazon or run to Target, but it’s smarter to have the items and resources available to you. You can return them later if not needed,

For example, when I started experiencing cracked and sore nipples on day 1 of breastfeeding, I was so glad I had the Ameda HydroGel Pads handy. These things literally saved my breastfeeding journey!

So make sure your hospital bag is packed with the essentials (your guide to packing one here), stock up on items for postpartum recovery, and have all of your necessities for your newborn waiting for you at home.

You also want to make sure your home is organized for bringing home the new baby (read my guide to preparing your home here).

This just makes your life as new mom SO MUCH easier. You’ll have enough stress of dealing with feedings, changes, and wacky sleep schedules so it’s not the time to be running out to the pharmacy to pick up items that could have been purchased beforehand.

Related Post: How to Organize and Prepare Your Home for A New Baby

13. Don’t be afraid to cry

Instead: Let out all of your emotions

The stress of being a new mom to a tiny little newborn can make a woman extremely emotional. It’s totally normal to let yourself cry during those tough days as a new mom.

We’ve all had those moments when you don’t know what you’re doing, so completely exhausted, and worried about your little baby. For me, it happened with my 2nd child and dealing with stresses of his Jaundice condition.

During that moment, I would do anything possible to take the pain away from my baby and help him to feel better. I was so scared that he wouldn’t get better and nervous for what could happen.

Sometimes you can just feel so helpless and defeated. Your body’s natural response is to just let it all out and cry. There is no shame in doing so! However, if you are feeling intense emotions of fear, anxiety, guilt, or depression, tell your doctor immediately. Postpartum depression and anxiety are very common, but need to be addressed by a physician.

Related Post: 16 Genius Tips to Soothe A Crying Baby

14. Don’t be afraid to say when something doesn’t feel right

Instead: Make sure the medical staff is aware of all your issues and concerns.

You know your body and your baby best. If something doesn’t feel right, your motherly instinct will be the first to kick in. Whether it’s a physical pain you’re having, a change in mental status, or concern about your baby’s health or well-being, don’t be afraid to get help.

The doctors and nurses are there for you anytime you need, but they won’t know that something is wrong unless you tell them! No question is too stupid or concern too small when it comes to a brand new mom or new baby.

15. Don’t neglect yourself

Instead: Take some “me” time when you can.

There is always so much emphasis and concern placed on the baby after childbirth. We want the baby checked, screened, measured, weighed, and cared for. However, there’s not as much concern for looking after mom who needs it just as much as the baby at this point!

You went through a beautiful, but possibly traumatic, experience and you need to make sure that you’re doing ok. A happy mom makes a happy baby.

So make sure you’re resting when you can, eating well, and getting that much needed back rub from your partner! Do what makes you feel like yourself again. Whether it’s binge-watching reality tv or a glass of wine, try to regroup. When you feel better, you’ll be better able to take care of your baby.

Related Post: Essentials for Your Postpartum Recovery Kit

16. Don’t neglect your baby

The days and weeks following delivery of your baby can be stressful. Follow these tips of what not to do after childbirth and ease the transition home.

Instead: Show them all the love and comfort that you can

I don’t think any mother would do this, but I just had to state it. These first few days and weeks are a critical time to bond with your child.

They’ve just entered this scary outside world after being in a warm, comfortable space. They’re just as scared and nervous as you! They need to know that they are being protected, cared for, and loved. So while you must take time for yourself, make sure your baby is getting the attention that they need.

17. Don’t forget to take photos (with you in them too!)

Instead: Document as much as you can with photo AND video!

Now that we have cameras available to us 24/7 on our phones it’s easy to take those important photos whenever we need to. However, of course, you want to be living in the moment and not stuck behind your phone’s camera during those first few days of your newborn’s life.

Make sure you document those tiny feet wrinkles, the way their lips curl up when they’re sleeping, and their little body curled up in the same position as when they were in your belly. You don’t want to miss these opportunities because you won’t get them back.

Also, we know that we all look a hot mess after giving birth. The last thing I wanted after both of my deliveries was to be photographed (blame it on the summer heat and swelling everywhere)!

However, we moms end up in so many less photos than dads because we always end up taking them! So get yourself in the photos. Take the terribly-angled selfies or hand dad the camera once in awhile.

You’ll be so grateful that you have these photos to look back on because your baby will never be this little again.

Related Post: DIY Newborn Photography Tips

18. Don’t question your abilities as a mom

Instead: Be confident that you’re doing the best job for your baby.

Once again, it’s very normal to feel stressed, nervous, and totally lost. You may think that you have no idea what you’re doing and if you’re even doing it right.

Your baby will be happy, loved, and well taken care of because moms just know what to do. It comes natural to us even if you think it’s not.

Just know that every mom was in your position at one point. No one can be completely prepared for caring for their newborn, no matter how much research you’ve done, people you’ve talked to, or classes you’ve taken.

We all make it through that newborn stage with a happy baby though! We’ve all shed some tears, reached a breaking point, and felt like we had no idea what we’re doing. You’ll learn as you go and that’s what makes all of us moms so resilient. Raising a baby is not easy, but it’s most definitely worth it!

Related Post: Dear Tired Infant Mom: It Gets Better

The days and weeks following labor and delivery of your baby can be stressful. Follow these tips of what not to do after childbirth and ease the transition home. From caring for your newborn baby and caring for yourself, there are many important things to remember.
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