The homecoming of your brand-new baby can unnerve even the most conscientious parent-to-be. Whether it is your firstborn or a sibling added to an already bustling nest, the happy event requires careful planning.
One of the smartest things to do is arrange help for when you get home. Ask your mother, friends, and neighbours to help out in those early weeks, to take care of baby, do household chores, cook a meal, or keeping siblings entertained. Prepare and freeze meals you can thaw and serve in no time between feeds and marvelling at the perfect little person. Stock up on food and other everyday items. It’s better to sleep when baby sleeps, to get well-deserved rest, rather than have to run out to the shops.
Consider buying expensive items such as prams and cots second-hand. With a new mattress and linens, no one will ever know. Gumtree is a great source of quality used and new baby goods. Around the 36th week of your pregnancy, pack your hospital bag with essentials listed by the hospital for Mom and baby. Leave it by the door so you can grab and go if baby decides to be early. In addition to basics such as vests, socks, beanies, and slippers for you, remember the toiletries and towels for those first baths as well as something to wear on your way home.
Colic drops can be a lifesaver while you are getting the feeding routine down, and many hospitals list it as a must-have while you are in hospital. Nappy cream and teeny tiny newborn nappies are obvious essentials – but don’t buy too many newborn ones, as most babies outgrow them very quickly. Stock up on a variety of sizes in the months before the expected birth date.
Install the car seat before you go to hospital, for one less thing to worry about when it’s time to go home. Have some bottles handy even if you plan to breastfeed, and invest in a breast pump to store breast milk so others can feed the baby. Believe it or not, you will want (and need) a break sometimes. Watch yourself carefully after the birth for signs of postpartum depression, which can be debilitating but is easy to treat once identified.
Most babies take six weeks or longer to settle into a routine. In the beginning, you should focus on bonding with your little one and getting enough rest so you can adapt to being completely responsible for someone else’s every need.
If you have older kids at home, be sure to spend special time with each of them so they don’t feel neglected by the split attention. Even if you prepare your older children to the new arrival and what having a baby in the house means, it probably won’t be smooth sailing all the time. Keep a sense of humour and be kind to yourself and the rest of your family.