Feeling excited and nervous is normal as you prepare to bring your baby home. After giving birth, you’ll need to relax and concentrate on bonding with your infant. Getting your home ready is important so your whole family, including pets, can settle into a new routine and lifestyle.
Ask your doctor or midwives about nursing, bathing and post-birth checkups. Dress your baby for the weather, using a snowsuit in cold weather. Choose soft fabrics without adornments and keep a bib handy for spit-up. Install the car seat ahead of time, making sure yours is rear-facing in the car’s back seat. Always put the baby in the car seat.
Before getting home you must organize the clothing, diapers, bottles, blankets and a bassinet or crib. Purchase a new crib that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards, which require that spaces between crib rails must not exceed 2 3/8 inches. The rail height must be 26 inches or higher and paint must be lead-free. Do not put any pillows, toys or blankets in the crib. Double check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Lower the hot water temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Babies are messy and need plenty of outfits. Choose side-snapping clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Onesies, footed pajamas and t-shirts are popular. A sleeper sack keeps baby warm at night.
Fresh and Clean
During the first few days, your baby needs occasional sponge baths. Baby wash, soft cloths and a small baby tub are the only necessary supplies. Stick with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic toiletries. Gently wipe your baby’s folds starting from the neck and finishing at the genitals. Apply some diaper cream to any irritations. A hooded towel keeps baby warm.
Use firm crib mattress. Avoid drop-side cribs and make sure the crib meets CSPC requirements. The mattress and sheet should fit snugly and no other items should be in the crib. Keep the crib in your room away from windows and cords. Never let your baby sleep on a couch, as she could roll off. Use a bulb syringe to suction mucus out from your baby’s nose.
Keep car seats and baby carriers on the floor. Warm bottles in a hot water bath and test the temperature before feedings. Sterilize all feeding supplies, including breast pump parts.
Newborn babies nurse frequently, which is normal. Purchase a breast pump to build your supply and store milk. Have formula, bottles, nipples and liners ready if bottle feeding. Prepare and freeze some meals for yourself in advance.
Protect preemies from too many visitors. Tell any sick friends to postpone visits. Limit visits to an hour or less. Ensure that visitors wash their hands. Do not let visitors interfere with feeding times or nap schedules. Make sure nobody smokes around the baby.
Baby and Pets
Bring home the baby’s t-shirt so your pet can become familiar with her scent. Give your pet the same amount of attention to avoid jealousy. Let your dog or cat sniff the baby but don’t force any interactions. Never leave the baby and pet together unsupervised. Take your pet for his vaccinations and checkups to avoid germs.
Find a Pediatrician
You’ll need a trustworthy pediatrician to care for your child. Find a doctor before your baby is born and make sure the doctor respects you and your child-rearing decisions.
The first few weeks with a newborn can be overwhelming but fun and exciting too. Make the most of your time before the birth so you can relax and rest with your partner as a team afterward.
Guest blog by Patricia Dimick
Patricia Dimick is a Denver based writer and a passionate coffee drinker. She loves to write about parenting topics and loves DIY jobs. When Patricia’s not writing or playing table tennis, she usually spends time with her precious daughter and a husband enjoying trips to nature. You can reach her @patricia_dimick.
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