What I plan to do in this set of postings is to address a series of challenges and how to address them. The first one is that of the newborn coming home and you, the family, learning to be with the child.
In that first year, the child will be your focus. It will change who does what around the house, how much energy you have, how clear-headed you might be, what you can do as individuals and together, and how your larger family might relate to you.
When the new mom comes home from the hospital, she will be tired. She will continue to be tired for a long time, especially if she’s breast-feeding. The baby will want to feed whenever s/he wants to. From my experience, it’s best to follow the baby’s lead. So, that means you, new mother, need to sleep between feedings. If you can, express milk so that someone else, such as your partner, can feed the baby to give you some free time.
Most of the time, try to be with the child. The child needs to teach you (!) what s/he wants and needs. S/he will also teach you how to hear its “voice.” That means whether s/he’s hungry, needs changing, is uncomfortable, or needs or wants something else. You need to be as focused as possible to hear your child. Be prepared as the primary caregiver to learn these lessons.
Your doctor and possibly visiting nurse will address any medical issues your baby has. But you are also part of that helping team. You want to enjoy your child at the same time that you want to learn more about who your child is. So, look for signs as to your child’s temperament. How quickly or slowly does s/he respond to stimuli and adjust to changes? How curious is s/he? What kinds of activities does s/he like?