A Guide to Bringing a Newborn Home
When you have a newborn, it can be quite exciting. From getting to know the baby, feeding them, bathing them, and going shopping for them, it can all be a thrilling experience. Baby clothes and accessories are cute especially adorable Newborn Headbands for girls that just put a smile on everyone’s face. Below we are going to talk about the ways you can prepare for your newborn.
Prepare the Family
If you have other kids, no matter what age, you have to prepare them for the arrival of the baby. Let them know that things will change around the house and that you will be quite busy for the first couple of weeks. Let them know that little babies need extra care and attention and let them be involved if possible. If you have a pet, you also have to prepare them as well. You can send a shirt or blanket of your new baby home ahead of you so your dog can get used to the baby’s scent. That way, when the baby comes home the dog will already be familiar with them. This will make for a better transition. Also, don’t leave your baby alone with the dog until they are of good age like 4 or 5 years old.
Pack a Hospital Bag
Remember you are coming back home with a new person so don’t forget to park supplies for them too. Even though you will get supplies from the hospital, still pack all the things you will need for you and your baby. Pack your favorite sweatshirt and blanket and pack a new outfit for the baby.
Make sure you plan ahead on how you will get back from the hospital. If you are using a car, make sure the car seat is properly installed ahead of time so you have one less thing to worry about after the baby arrives.
If you are reading this, then you are already on the right track. Read up on books about babies, newborn and how to prepare and take care of them. This will help you to be more prepared. But remember that every child is different so as much as you read, adapt to your child and their needs and don’t ignore your “mummy instincts”.
Meal prep for the first couple of weeks after your baby arrives because you won’t have time to cook. Or plan to have your partner or somebody do the cooking for you. Store up food in the freezer in meal sized Tupperware so you can heat it up whenever you need to eat. Remember your body is recovering and you are breastfeeding so you need to keep yourself well fed with good nutrition so you feel better and heal faster. Often friends and family members will offer to help by cooking you some meals or cleaning your house while you’re at the hospital.
Get a Pediatrician
Get a pediatrician for your baby ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it after the baby is born. This way if you need to consult a doctor about your baby, you know where to go right away.
You should get as much rest and sleep as you can especially in a couple of weeks prior to your due date. Labour is exhausting and afterwards, you will be busy so you should get some snooze in some days before the baby arrives.
If you are finding it difficult to sleep or relax during the last days of your pregnancy, a nice, warm bath before going to bed is calming and makes you sleepy; sometimes a hot, milky drink, reading, or listening to music can also help you drop off. Otherwise, deep breathing and relaxation exercises are excellent treatments for restlessness. If sleep continues to elude you, then get up and do something – go into the nursery and look at things, rearrange them if you like.
What to Expect before Leaving the Hospital
Expect the following things to happen, while you’re in the hospital and before you leave.
- Your baby will be assessed and discharged by a pediatrician
- You will be assessed and discharged (as a separate patient) by an obstetrician
- Your baby will have a routine hearing screening test to rule out hearing loss
- Your baby will receive an injection or oral dose of vitamin K to help her blood clot properly to prevent any risk of bleeding into the brain (caused by a rare illness called ‘haemorrhagic disease of the newborn’)
You will also receive:
- Two more vials of Vitamin K for your baby if you are breastfeeding and giving your baby the oral Vitamin K. One to be given at one week, the second to be given at one month after birth
- Details on how to register your baby’s birth which is a legal requirement to be carried out by six weeks)
- Your baby’s Personal Child Health Record Book (the ‘red book’) containing information, your baby’s growth charts to record his weight, his immunization records and health assessment records. Remember to take this book with you whenever your baby is seen by a health professional
First Doctor’s Visit
You first doctor’s visit should be within the first 3 days after you are discharged.
A healthcare provider should check your baby within the first 48-72 hours of leaving the hospital or at any point if you feel your baby isn’t well. If your baby was born preterm, you will develop a plan for follow-up care with your health care team before your baby leaves the hospital. They will also make sure you recognize the early signs or symptoms of any problems.
At the first visit your health care provider will:
- Weigh your baby and measure her length and head circumference, if this was not done in a hospital.
- Check for signs of jaundice.
- Check on how feeding is going for you and your baby.
- Do a physical health exam.
- Ask how the family is adjusting to the new baby.
- Complete any screening tests not done at the hospital.
- This visit doesn’t have to be with your regular pediatrician or family doctor. The exam can be done by the doctor at the hospital where you gave birth or a public health nurse. And it might be at home, in the office or in a hospital clinic. If your baby doesn’t see her regular doctor at this visit, it will happen soon after.