Going home after giving birth can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s your first child. Aside from all the hospital equipment that is to be taken care of for a short period of time, you will also have to adjust to this new life where you are solely responsible for another human being. This article will provide some tips on easing this transition early in the life of your newborn.
Baby arrives home – so exciting!
You’ve had a wonderful time with him or her at the hospital. Now it’s time to get on home and start your new life as a parent. While you’re excited, you might still be wondering about all of those things that need to be done before the baby gets there.
Here is a list of 10 great tips for you to follow when your newborn arrives home:
1) Gather Your Supplies
At least one week prior to departure, make sure that you have all essentials gathered up in one place ready for transport before the big day comes. Things like formula, diapers, wipes, towels, etc., should all be carefully chosen based on preference –it may even take trying out different products until everyone in the family is satisfied. Packing lists can be found all over the internet, so print them out and have them ready for use when your baby gets home!
2) Prepare Your Car
If you are driving yourself or with a friend, make sure that your car is in good working order. Make any necessary repairs prior to arrival. If helpful, purchase an infant car seat to ensure safety while travelling to and from places together. You should also prepare the backseat of your vehicle by removing any objects which may risk harming or injuring your child in case of sudden braking or accidents. These things include airbags (which should never be set off while kids are present), loose change or other heavy objects on floorboards, or even more obvious hazards like unsecured car seats, seat belts, etc.
3) Initial Feeding
Once you get home with your baby, resist the urge to feed him or her right away. Check for any jaundice by looking at his/her skin colour, which normally starts off a bit yellowish. If it is not yet visible after 24 hours, but you are still concerned about it, consult your doctor on how best to check for this condition. Once all of this has been taken care of and if no feeding issues arise, get ready to breastfeed or bottle-feed your child upon arrival. He or she may be quite hungry already after his trip!
4) Be Responsible About Hand Washing
It is important that everyone in the family knows how to properly wash his or her hands. This sounds obvious, but it’s really not always done! Wash your hands promptly after touching public surfaces like doorknobs, railings (esp. inside elevators if you’ve been shopping), handrails, etc. Also, make sure that towels and other objects used by others are kept separate from those used by your baby.
5) Practice Safety Measures
Babies are very impressionable creatures; they learn quickly through their senses. The easiest way for them to learn is via imitating you! Teach them right away about safety measures for both indoors and outdoors by following these easy rules:
- a) Never leave babies alone on elevated surfaces –like changing tables, beds, strollers, etc.–
- b) Make sure that windows and doors are locked at all times or that you’re holding them if they’re opened.
- c) Keep sharp objects like scissors and knives out of reach and sight, preferably within drawers with child-proof locks.
- d) Use the proper outlet covers for accessible plug points.
- e) Turn hot water heaters down to lukewarm temperatures (113 degrees Fahrenheit is considered safe).
- f) Don’t cook with bare hands as children may play with small objects such as crayons which can cause fires when put near open flames.
- g) Unplug all appliances before going to sleep –some may be defective and start a fire while unplugged– or if going out for a long time.
- h) Keep all chemicals out of reach and sight by using proper cabinets, etc., to store them securely.
6) Be Aware Of Poisonous Objects
Keep your baby away from plants that are poisonous or dangerous, even if they look innocent enough to touch or eat! Some common household plants that may prove fatal include daffodils, lilies, caladium leaves, calla lilies, philodendron, oleander shrubs/trees, asparagus ferns, azaleas and rhododendrons. Also, keep medicines and other objects with toxic effects placed where children can’t access them –even those labelled “child-proof” have been shown not to be!
7) Monitor Your Baby’s Cries/Noises
Difficult as it may sound, you need to learn how to discern whether your baby is crying due to something minor or because there might be some problem. If you are still unsure of the cause even after conducting a physical checkup, always err on the side of caution and contact your paediatrician immediately! Remember that crying is one-way babies communicate their needs to you. They can’t tell you what’s wrong if they’re not given the opportunity to do so. Also, be attentive to any strange or unusual noises your child makes –this also serves as an important sign that something may be wrong with him/her.
8) Be Familiar With The Normal Growth & Development Of Your Baby
It is important to know the normal patterns of a baby’s growth and development since these can help you determine if something isn’t quite right. For example, your baby’s face should become rounder as he/she takes in more breast milk or formula after birth. His/her weight will initially go up very fast, but this may slow down between days 7-30 or two weeks from birth. After which, his weight gain will begin to be slower instead of fast –but still steady– until about three months when it reaches a plateau. This means that while some babies might have “lazy periods” by six months old, most healthy children are capable of gaining one ounce per day on average! Also, don’t forget to keep track of your baby’s developmental milestones –like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, etc.
9) Start Basic Health Care Procedures Early
Your baby may be healthy when he/she comes home, but this doesn’t mean that you can let health care slide! It is important to establish a system for regular checkups with the paediatrician so that any potential problems can be handled early on before they escalate into bigger concerns.
10) Give Your Baby Plenty Of TLC
Above all else, keep in mind that babies are born with no prior knowledge or experience on how to live and thrive in the world. Therefore it is imperative that you provide them with as much love and nurturing as possible during their formative years! This will not only ensure that they grow up to be happy and healthy but will also help establish a strong bond with you as their parents.
There You Have It
It will always be your choice when you need to bring home a new baby. That’s the best part about having independence and freedom! But just because it is a personal decision, you must not forget that a newborn comes with a lot of responsibilities too, so please always take these tips into consideration. The utmost important thing to remember here is that babies aren’t disposable –throw-away– objects which can be replaced if damaged, so take care of them well from the get-go. Don’t forget about these great tips next time your newborn comes home!