Your due date is fast approaching and at this point, you are most likely experiencing a variety of mixed emotions. Happiness, excitement, nervousness, and even anxiety are familiar feelings. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are experiencing the latter, it is perfectly normal to be nervous, after all you are bringing a new baby home – and this may very well be your first child.
Your life will inevitably change when this little bundle arrives. Sometimes it takes a while to get used to this adjustment — however the good news is that there are steps to make this transition smoother and easier for all.
Preparation is key
You have taken care of all the major things. You have gone to labour classes, sorted out your insurance and found a paediatrician for your new baby. However, you will be surprised to find that there are still numerous little things that can crop up and derail you. Remember, after baby is born, you will feel exhausted and, on top of this, your hormones will be fluctuating and your moods will be swinging. Small things that would not make any difference to you in everyday life may suddenly seem overwhelming. So it is best to get these little things out of the way, to ensure a calm transition once baby comes home.
- Prepare a sleeping area: You may have prepared a nursery, or you may have decided to let baby sleep in your room for the time being. Whichever decision you make, it is important to prepare the designated sleeping area and set up a crib well in advance. There have been couples who have had to go to the hospital earlier than expected and have had to return to a beautiful nursery minus a crib. Ensure that, when baby comes home, there will be a crib for him/her to sleep in.
- Stick to necessities and stock up on essentials: It is easy to get distracted with all the baby items for sale and to stray away from your budget. Try and stick to buying the essentials and then purchasing other items as the need arises. Some necessary items include: a baby car seat, diapers, nursing bottles, bottle brushes, blankets, baby wipes, nursing bras and changing mats.
- Wash baby’s clothes: It is always a good idea to have baby’s clothes washed before they are worn. Do this sooner rather than later and be sure to wash them in baby detergent.
- Clean the house: Once you return home with baby, the chances are you will feel too exhausted to clean the house. Rather get this task out the way, before going to the hospital. Get the whole family involved, or hire some help and give the house a good spring clean.
- Make some extra space: While cleaning out the house, it may be a good idea to clear out some old, unused items to make more space for when baby comes home.
- Pre-cook meals: It’s always a good idea to cook a few meals, such as stews, and then freeze them. That way you will not have to worry about cooking during those first few days after coming back from the hospital. This will give you more time to focus on baby and relax.
Whether you have spent the night, or a couple of days at the hospital, coming back home with baby is always a special occasion. It is also important that things go as smoothly as possible to ensure that the transition for yourself and the rest of the family, including baby, is easy and comfortable. Some things may be out of your control, but there are some things that you can control.
- Dressing baby for the first time: It is common for a new mom to fuss over how to dress baby when leaving the hospital. You don’t want baby to catch a cold. But it is important to dress baby according to the weather, but try not to fuss too much when dressing baby. If it is cold, add an extra layer of clothing. If it is warm, avoid over-dressing baby in too many layers. Chances are, if you make less of deal out of dressing baby, he will be calmer.
- The ride home: It important that you install the baby seat in your car way in advance. You do not want to be struggling to fit the chair into your car at the hospital. And do not consider putting baby into a car without the chair installed. Ensure that the seat is age-appropriate and that it has been installed the correct way. Also ensure that you strap baby in correctly. It may be tempting to want to hold baby while in the car on the ride home, but this is a big NO. Rather wait until you are home before taking baby out of the baby seat.
- A new arrival: If you already have other children, you would have prepared them as best as you can for the arrival of the new addition to the family. However, the older children will still need some time to adjust to the new family dynamics. There may be some jealousy at first, but do not make a big deal out of this. Instead rather try and encourage the children to help take care of baby. This will introduce them to their new sibling and help form a bond.
- When it comes to pets, try a slow introduction. It may be a good idea to have your partner bring a blanket of baby’s home so that your pet can become familiar with baby’s scent. There is no telling how pets may initially react when baby comes home, however if you continue to slowly introduce them, your pets should accept baby into the household.
- Dealing with visitors: There will be a stream of friends and family wanting to see the new baby. However, you may not feel up to wanting to see everyone in the first few weeks of the birth. Do not feel guilty about this. You are entitled to rest, and the constant flow of traffic in the home may also make baby feel unsettled. Instead, reschedule visits for when you are feeling more up to it.
Finally baby has arrived, you did well in the labour ward, now enjoy raising your child.