Your little bundle of joy has arrived finally. You are excited and anxious as you have now entered a new phase of life. Now, comes the time for you to take your baby to home!
Does it sound exciting or scary? Yes, you may get terrified or anxious about taking the baby home. You don’t know what your baby’s routine will be, how she will adjust to a new environment and to the family members. And there will be no nursing staff to guide you through every step.
Relax, we are about to discuss what you should do, and what you should not do when you take your baby home.
Whether your baby comes home right away from the hospital or if you bring your baby home after few days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), it is a major event that you could have ever imagined. It requires intense preparation much before the baby arrives.
Also Read: Baby Care in the Initial Days
You should decide where is the baby going to sleep when it arrives home. Identify a comfortable room, which has good sunlight and fresh air. Keep it dust free and clean all the sheets and curtains. Do not use any fresheners or sprays in the room.
If you want the baby to sleep in with you, choose a comfortable large bed, and soft mattress. If you decide to go for a crib or a cradle, choose one which can accommodate the baby for at least a year. Buy a comfortable mattress and cotton covering sheets. Depending on the time of the year, buy blankets, mosquito nets or comfortable bed sheets.
If you plan to take your baby out anytime, have a stroller or a baby carrier ready.
If you have pets, decide beforehand whether you want to keep your pet at home, along with the newborn or if you want to leave it with your friends or family or in pet care center.
It is better if you arrange for a car seat before you bring your baby home in a car. Sometimes, car seats become essential while traveling for short distances also.
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Yes, before you come home with your baby, have a set of clothes suitable for nursing like nursing gowns, nursing shirts, nursing bras, and pads etc., so that you don’t have to go and buy the right size ones later.
Arrange for at least 10 pairs of comfortable clothes for the baby. Decide beforehand whether you are going to use cloth or disposable diapers. Stock up on the diapers, as you may run out of it soon as the baby arrives. Also, keep a diaper rash cream handy.
Decide if you want to give massage and bathe your baby by yourself or if you want to hire a maid for the same. Now you know what to plan for before the baby arrives. Being prepared makes the transition from hospital to home a lot easier.
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Before you are discharged from the hospital, the hospital staff will check that your baby:
#1. Has a normal temperature.
#2. Has had at least two successful feedings.
#3. Will be checked for jaundice. If she has jaundice, then required treatment plan will be shared and follow-ups would be needed.
#4. Has had a wet diaper and a normal bowel movement
#5. Has received all the necessary vaccines. An immunization chart will be given to the parents, with details of all the vaccines to be given to the child and the age at which it should be given.
#6. Has had all the necessary medications, if required.
#7. Has had screening tests for certain treatable diseases like congenital hypothyroidism, PKU(Phenylketonuria), cystic fibrosis etc.
Before you leave the hospital with the child, always run a checklist of the above points. Clarify any queries you have with either the pediatrician or the nursing staff.
Also Read: A Complete Guide : Baby Growth Spurts
Most likely, you will be nervous when you bring the baby home for the first time. It appears as if you have lost control of your life, as your baby takes most of your time.
Returning home means that you will be the primary caregiver for the baby. But being at home ensures that you have the support of your partner and your family throughout the day.
There will be a lot of things that are to be dealt with when you return home – your baby’s schedule, you and your partner’s schedule, older siblings if any… all this apart from the physical strain and sleeplessness. Also, you may experience baby blues and anxiety.
For a new mother, arriving home with the baby is a major event. You are left to fend for the baby by yourself without the guidance of the nursing staff at every step. Let us understand the typical situations you will face at home when you return with your newborn.
Well, the baby is as nervous as you are. It’s a new environment for her as well. Even though newborns cannot recognize their surroundings clearly, they can sense it through temperature change in the surroundings. Have patience and comfort the child, if it cries a lot. Keeping her close to your body helps, as it will give a sense of security to the newborn.
Your baby is still a newborn and may still have issues like latching problems. Have patience and guide her to establish a comfortable breastfeeding session. Once at home, try to establish a routine for breastfeeding, so that you can also finish your other work related or household tasks.
It will take time for your baby to get into a proper sleeping routine. Install dim lights in the baby’s room before her arrival. Never let the baby stay under bright lights before going to sleep as it hampers its sleep. Give it a small, cotton comforter to let it know that it’s time to sleep. And YES, lullabies always help in putting them to sleep.
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Also Read: 10 Best Bedtime Story Books for Babies
The first few weeks of the baby can be overwhelming. You might feel anxious, depressed and sometimes, even worthless. These symptoms should go away within 2 weeks of delivery. If you still feel worse after 2-3 weeks, it could be postpartum depression, for which you should consult your doctor immediately.
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In the initial days, you might get a lot of visits from friends and family leaving you with less time to take rest. Limit the number of guest visits in a day, so that you and your baby can get adjusted to a new routine.
It will certainly take time for your spouse to get adjusted to the fact that your full attention is towards the newborn. It will help if you both can attend prenatal classes so that he realizes the importance of the time you give to your child.
If there are older siblings, they might feel jealous or insecure about the newborn getting all the attention. Talk to your older children during your pregnancy itself and make them feel excited about having a younger sibling. Involve the older children in choosing clothes for the newborn, or in arranging the baby’s room. You can also ask them to maintain the Baby Record Book so that they don’t feel left out.
Well, New Mothers no matter how prepared you are before delivery, bringing home a newborn comes with a host of new challenges. The only thing you can do is – GO WITH THE FLOW.
Never be overly concerned about finishing all your tasks and meeting all your obligations. Don’t try to be a Super Mom with a newborn.
Yes, having a newborn at home can present you with surprises every day. But there are certain precautions you should take before and after you bring your baby home. Let us go through some of it:
#1. Vaccination and Medication details:
Never leave the hospital without getting details of the vaccinations and medications given to the baby. Never miss the vaccination schedule and doctor visits for the baby.
Maintain utmost cleanliness in the entire house. Don’t let dust accumulate anywhere. Always wash your hands before you touch the baby. Avoid giving soft toys, fluffy pillows etc, to your newborn as these contain minute dust particles and dust mites.
#3. Clothing Material:
Always use undyed, cotton clothes for the newborn. Baby clothes which catch your eyes’ fancy, may not be very comfortable for your newborn and may make it cranky. Cotton clothes which are dyed may cause skin irritation to your child.
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#4. Pet Care:
Never allow your pets near the newborn. Some pets can get aggressive and attack the newborn. Also, pets’ hair can cause allergy in children. So, never allow pets into the baby’s room.
#5. Sick family members:
If any of your family members are down with infections like fever, cold or a cough, request them not to go near the baby. A newborn’s immune system will be still weak and it might easily catch the infection.
As said earlier, when you bring your newborn home, just GO WITH THE FLOW. It takes time for the baby to settle down to a routine, it takes time for your family to get adjusted to the new baby, and it takes time for you to recover from delivery and get back to your routine. As the baby grows, it will become a lot easier for all of you to include the new family member in all your routines and activities.
Also Read: 5 Best Baby Massage Oils In Winters
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