Mighty Mommy has experienced the bliss (and craziness) of bringing home a newborn baby 8 times. In Part 1 of this series, she has 5 tips to help you transition from hospital to home.
...a proper child safety seat or car seat. Every state requires parents to have one before leaving the hospital because it's one of the best ways to protect your baby.
Even for a short trip, it's never safe for one of you to hold your baby in your arms while the other drives. Your baby could be pulled from your arms and thrown against the dashboard by a quick stop. Practice installing your car seat before your baby is even born. Some of them can be tricky and the last thing you want is to be fussing with the car seat while holding your newborn out in the hospital parking lot!
There are two kinds of car seats for babies: infant-only seats (which are rear facing, and fit most infants comfortably) and convertible seats (which must face the back until the baby turns 2) that accommodate both infants and older children. And I highly recommend you buy a head support (sold in the car seat section of the baby store) to cradle your newborn’s delicate little head so it doesn’t bobble side to side while he’s so tiny. Keep in mind that most hospitals require that you bring your car seat in so the staff can be sure it's safe for your baby.
Tip #3: Have all Comfort Essentials Ready Before You Come Home
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from my “new mommy” friends was to have all the essentials for both the baby and myself prepared before leaving to deliver the baby. I always chose a corner in our family room to be my “new baby station” for the first couple of weeks. It was a nook with the following goodies to greet me when I came home:
You are undoubtedly going to experience a storm of emotions as you prepare to leave the hospital.
- Diapers (don’t underestimate how quickly you’ll go through newborn diapers during the first few weeks)
- Burp rags
- Swaddling blankets
- Extra baby nightgowns and onesies
- Bassinette or cradle along with extra sheets
- Bottles and formula
- If breastfeeding, breast pads and nipple ointment
- Umbilical cord and circumcision care materials (if applicable)
- Your favorite snacks (you’ll be hungry)
- Other comfort items like a cozy bathrobe, magazines and books (in case you can actually pull off some reading!)
- Doughnut pillow for sitting during that first postpartum week
- Notebook for recording feedings, bowel movements, etc.
- Baby album for recording those “firsts”
- Camera or smartphone, with charger, for capturing those first days at home
If everything is ready prior to your return with your new baby, you can arrive home and actually sit and relax without scurrying to find these essential items.
Tip #4: Go With the Flow
You are undoubtedly going to experience a storm of emotions as you prepare to leave the hospital and begin the journey of caring for your new baby alone without the hospital staff to guide you every step of the way. Try to carve out some alone time with your partner before heading home or soon thereafter so you can appreciate this next stage of your life together as a brand new family. Share your excitement, concerns, and any other emotions or thoughts so that your significant other will feel like an important part of this new beginning as well.
It will take time for you to feel comfortable with your baby’s different cries, or how to swaddle like the nurses did so effortlessly in the hospital. Feedings, especially for breastfeeding moms, can also be a source of anxiety...