Welcome to Parenthood! Now don’t freak out, so far you’re doing great. That newborn of yours may seem so fragile, but these tips should help you in dealing with that first few days of your new normal. Whether your baby comes home from the hospital right away, arrives later (perhaps after a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit), or comes through an adoption agency, the homecoming of your little one is a major event you’ve probably often imagined. A little planning up front can help smooth the transition and calm the nerves of anxious parents. Here are our top tips for bringing baby home from the hospital:
- You may have a lot of question, don’t be afraid to ask them and get those burning questions answered before you and baby head home. Especially if your baby had to stay in the NICU longer than expected which can be stressful for the new parent. Umbilical care is important as well as bathing and breastfeeding questions. Then if you would have had an episiotomy or a C-section it would be completely necessary to ask questions relate to your recovery as well. The Bottom-line is don’t leave feeling like you don’t know the answers to your questions!
- Babies are often overdressed for the first trip home. Dress your baby as you would dress yourself. So, if you’d be too warm in a knitted hat during the summer, your baby probably will be, too. In warm weather, dress your baby in a T-shirt and light cotton pants or a baby blanket over bare legs. If it’s cold, put footie pajamas, a hat, and warm blanket over your baby. But be sure to keep all blankets far from your baby’s face to avoid suffocation.
- Child safety seats are required by law and is essential to keep baby safe on the way home. Many hospitals may require inspection of the car seat before leaving the hospital. There are two kinds of car seats for babies: infant-only seats (which must be replaced when your baby weighs 22 to 35 pounds, depending on the type of seat) and convertible seats that accommodate both infants and older children. Remember that it’s never safe for one of you to hold your baby in your arms while the other drives. Your baby could be pulled from your arms and thrown against the dashboard by a quick stop.
- You’re going to be busy when you get home, so think ahead about your menu. Consider Meal prep for an easy healthier option that fast food.
- Make sure you have all your baby care essentials organized for quick and easy access. You really don’t want to be rushing out for more diapers or nursing pads during your first week home.
- Wash, fold, and organize baby’s clothes. All those adorable outfits from the baby shower? Take the opportunity when you’re pregnant to wash, fold, and organize them by size. You’ll have plenty of other laundry to do once baby comes home!
- Think about your support system and whether you want extra help from parents, in-laws, or friends. Choose wisely, especially early on, and invite those who will be most supportive and helpful. Although babies typically aren’t shy around strangers for the first 3 months or so, they may become overstimulated and tired if too many people are around.
- New babies are fairly simple creatures. Providing they’re well fed, comfortable and comforted, they should get plenty of that precious commodity – sleep! Your newborn may be very sleepy during her first 24 hours. It is usual for her to start waking up and feeding more frequently the following day and as your breast milk comes in (usually two to four days after the birth). Use this time to rest and adjust, keeping your baby close day and night for reassurance.
- It is very natural for your baby to want to be in your arms – all she’s known for the past nine months is you, and coming out into the world can be overwhelming. Being held and gently rocked by you, your partner, or another warm, safe person will help calm and soothe her. Going with the flow is Key!
- Skin-to-skin contact releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin in both of you. It’s also released when you’re near your baby, looking at her, hearing her cry or even just thinking about her. This amazing hormone helps you form a strong mother-child bond that will last a lifetime. It also helps your breast milk flow during feeding or expressing, so the closer you are to your baby, the easier it should be to initiate your milk supply and get breastfeeding off to a good start.
- You can’t ‘spoil’ a newborn baby or create ‘bad habits’ at this early A feeding schedule may be unrealistic. Also, your baby is too young, and in any case, many babies never conform to a set routine. Instead breastfeed on demand every time she shows hunger cues, such as mouthing movements, rooting or sucking, which will help establish your milk supply.
- Look out for signs that your baby is getting enough milk: the amount she is pooing and peeing is key.
You’ll get plenty of advice during this new time. The most important one will always be to BREATHE!