Your little bundle of joy is about a day old (or three if you’ve had a Caesar), and you are bringing him or her home for the first time. You will probably be excited and a little anxious – which is all normal – but to ease your mind, here are some things you can expect when you bring your baby home for the first time.
The Car Trip Home
From the hospital, the first contact your baby will have with the outside world is the parking lot of the hospital and your car. The car ride home can be nerve wracking for parents, as you feel a huge sense of responsibility now that your baby is in the world. Every car that drives too close to you or that overtakes a bit recklessly will make you want to jump out and scream, -Hello! I have a tiny baby here who has JUST been born!
Don’t worry, these feelings of being scared are quite normal, and soon enough you will be used to taking your baby in the car. To give you peace of mind for your first car trip with baby, ensure that your car seat is correctly installed and ready (this is something for your partner to put on the -to do list). You can also make things more comfortable by getting a neck pillow for your baby, but if you don’t have one, simply wrapping up your little one snuggly and tucking in some blankets all around him or her will suffice. You might feel more comfortable sitting at the back with your baby on the way home.
Introducing Baby to Your Home (and Pets)
Phew! You have survived the car ride home and are now about to walk into your home. Coming home can sometimes feel like reality has just slapped you in the face, especially if you walk into an empty house. It is a good idea to have some friends and family there to welcome you, even if it is just the Grandparents. You should introduce your baby to any pets you have right away, to allow them to bond and to feel included. Dogs, especially, are very susceptible to change and might feel like you are neglecting them. Show your baby to his or her nursery and let them sleep in their cot right away. Making your baby feel safe and comfortable in their nursery is important and it will help you when you need to let your baby go to sleep on their own.
Once you are home and settled, and all the guests have gone home, you might feel a bit nervous and overwhelmed. There are no nurses and doctors around and you have to take over and do everything on your own. It is important for partners to stick together during these first few days, as you are both new at this and it can be difficult. Try to stick to the same routine as you did in the hospital as far as possible. Babies enjoy routine, so start by bathing your baby at the same time every day, plan your feeds and keep calm. Your baby will sense when you are uptight and stressed, which makes them play up. If you are struggling with something and your partner is not around, or they are also struggling, make sure that there is someone you can call as a back-up. Usually a Granny or Aunt is the ideal person to call and will be more than willing to help you.
For first time parents, bringing your baby home for the first time is a huge learning curve and you cannot expect to get everything right at the beginning. It is all about getting to know your baby and letting your baby get to know you. Don’t worry – you will get the hang of it!