Helpful Tips for Bringing Home Baby
Your bag is packed for the Hospital. But, what happens after your baby comes home? Have you thought about what kind of help you’ll really need? A little advance planning can help during the first month or two. Here’s some practical advice from the Women & Infant Health Center experts at Virginia Hospital Center.
Simplify Household Chores
Save steps for yourself
Keep a basket on each level of your house with diapers and basic supplies, such as burp cloths, a clean receiving blanket, a clean baby outfit—and a clean shirt for you.
Whether your mother is staying with you or you're doing your own cooking, freeze meals for the future. Ditto with meals that friends bring over.
Know your physical limitations
Depending on the type of delivery you had, you might not be able to lift for several weeks. Think about the layout of your house, and line up help for lifting and carrying heavy items like laundry baskets.
Go easy on yourself
Don't stress. Your daily routine will change. If you and your family are eating takeout more often than usual, that's fine. If your older child has a bake sale, it's OK to buy cookies. Take it easy and enjoy this time with your baby.
Let People Help You
Have Mom come visit when it's best for you
An out-of-town grandmother might want to visit when you first come home from the hospital. But, you might need her help more after Dad goes back to work. Or you may want to be alone with your baby first. Think about what you want.
Accept help graciously
You have one job: taking care of your baby and yourself. Have family, friends, neighbors, co-workers— anyone who wants to help out—do everything else. That includes walking the dog.
Be selective about visitors during the first month
The folks you want around those first few weeks are those who don't mind doing some dishes or making dinner while you grab a nap.
Keep some cash on hand and a list of what you need from the store
When a neighbor offers to pick up something for you from the grocery store, you'll know what you need and be able to pay for it.
Make sure visitors acknowledge older children first
Ask visitors to really pay attention to them and tell them how special it is to be a big brother or sister. If the sibling is old enough, ask her if she would like to introduce visitors to the baby.
Have a gift from the baby for the sibling
Put it in the crib in the Hospital and when the sibling comes in, say, “Look what the baby gave you!”
Foster the connection from the very beginning
Babies are naturally drawn to children. Point out how the baby's body language changes—smiling, kicking, waving his arms—when your older child comes near.
Involve siblings as much as is appropriate
A two-year-old can hand you a diaper or a blanket, rest his hand on the baby's back while you're breast feeding or sing the baby a song.
Plan special outings just for siblings
Set up an activity with Daddy or a grandparent in advance—and talk it up. When you're able to leave the baby for a bit, do something special with your older child by yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
You need a peer group
Being a new mom can be isolating, especially when the company drops off. Get out of the house and meet other moms. Take advantage of one of the mom-baby support groups and/or fitness classes at Virginia Hospital Center.
Take a walk
Fresh air is good for you and the baby. Don't be afraid to go outside even when it's cold. A walk in the stroller might lull the baby to sleep.
Find a friend with an older baby
This helps you see that, eventually, you too will be able to shower two days in a row!
Sleep when your baby sleeps
It’s important to get as much sleep as you can. Stay flexible with your routine and take advantage of those times when your baby is sleeping to catch up on your rest.
A special acknowledgement to the medical experts who were interviewed for this article: Eileen M. Andreoli, MSN, RN, Associate Vice President of Patient Care Services; DenCare Services; Dena McCoy, MSN, RNC, Patient Care Director, Mother Baby Unit; and OB/GYNs Patricia Bannon, MD and Gwendolyn Cobbs, MD.
Virginia Hospital Center has several support groups for new moms and parents.