The arrival of a new baby can be such an exciting time. New teeny toes, soft skin, and squishy cheeks. But it’s no secret that they come with a lot of questions too many of which come up as soon as baby comes home. Many can be case specific, like “When is Grandma going to visit” for instance. Others are common from one family to another. Here are some tips to help with the shared questions and make the transition as easy as possible.
1. When should you introduce the baby to the pets?
It’s a great idea to bring home a blanket with baby’s scent on it while mom and baby are still in the hospital. Having something with baby’s scent on it can help cats and dogs adjust to the idea of another human in the house right from the start. Bring home a hospital blanket or a nursery hat and let it lay near a pet’s favored spot or in baby’s bed. The more the pet can interact with the scent, the more accepting they will become to having the scent of the baby around.
Older and disabled pets can have trouble adjusting to a change of sound and layout of furniture. Ease them into the reality of a noisy baby and all of their additional items by bringing in elements slowly. Play a recording of a baby crying every so often. For blind pets, slowly move furniture into a new place if necessary. Blind pets transverse their surroundings by memory. Moving baby’s swing into the middle of the living room randomly one day is sure to trip up a blind cat or dog.
2. Have as much put away/in place as possible
Don’t leave your diaper station waiting to be set up when you’re home from the hospital. Whether a vaginal birth or a C-section, mom shouldn’t plan on feeling up to cleaning, tidying, or organizing after birth, especially while taking care of a newborn.
Have freezer meals ready for mom and dad (and the older siblings or anyone else staying in the home or visiting).
Have a feeding station set up for baby’s bottles if you know when baby will be born (induction or a scheduled C-section is a couple days away). This could be bottles and the breast pump or bottles, formula, and infant water (if you’re going that route). Just having the necessary items ready to be used can save a lot of time when a newborn is crying for their first bottle at home.
3. Accept help when offered
Being a new parent is very tiring, and that’s fine. You’re dealing with a lot whether it’s your first child or not. Accepting help doesn’t make you weak, it means you’re not going to overwork yourself when your new baby needs you the most.
Asking help is important to keep you running at your best. Why overexert yourself? Letting others help can give you a much needed physical break.
Even if you’re not comfortable having someone else clean for you or take care of the baby while you take a nap, letting yourself have a little emotional and psychological break to sit on the couch for a bit can be rejuvenating too.
I understand, it’s hard to hand it all over to someone else when you think that you’re supposed to be able to do it all (that the world we live in and the image we’re expected to maintain). I felt the same way after my first was born (I got better about it after my second and third were born). I had help to take care of baby while I took a nap but I couldn’t get myself to rest. I ended up just laying in bed for a while until I went to get baby back after the guilt took me over.
4. Learn Beforehand
Learn as much as you need to before baby is born. Read up on how to care for baby, what signs to look out for such as when to call the doctor, how to properly clean baby bottles (if using them), how to deal with a clogged milk duct (if breast feeding), figure out how your breast pump works before the baby is born (if using one), and so much more.
There’s tons of things to learn about when preparing to have a baby. It’s better to know it and not need to know it than be in a pinch in the moment.
5. Be Prepared For Mom’s Recovery
Stock up on supplies and favorites in preparation for baby’s birth that mom will need while recovering. There’s some items that a mom recovering from a C-section or a vaginal birth will both need. For more about what mom will need regardless of the method of birth, check out my post of the 9 Things About Having an Emergency C-Section That Every Woman Should Know.
Mom will also need items specific to her birth method so be sure to include everything and anything that mom may need during her recovery. Have extras too, just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.
6. Don’t Expect To Jump Back Immediately
If you’re able to, that’s fantastic, but don’t plan on it. Be prepared to take weeks to recover. Have meals prepped, activities for any older siblings, and plenty of supplies stored (for mom and baby). Remember, you’ll still end up using those supplies at some point.
Need to know what baby will need in the beginning? Check out my post about baby essentials for the first 3 months!
7. Every Baby Is Different
You may have heard it before but it’s true. When expecting a second, third, or further baby, you may find yourself presuming that a subsequent birth and baby will be just like previous ones but that’s not always the case.
Also check out these posts about C-section recovery for mom’s having a scheduled Cesarean or to plan for a possible emergency C-section and to understand how and why any woman could end up needing to have an emergency Cesarean.