Tips

Your First Days at Home with Your Baby: What You Should Expect – 2022 Review

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Written by Michaell Walling

After giving birth and spending a couple of days at the hospital, there’s nothing you’ll want more than to bring your baby home. Your child’s arrival will be exciting, but you’ll also have to adjust quickly to a variety of changes. All at the same time, you’ll be learning new skills, recovering from labor, and creating a brand new schedule for your family. It may seem overwhelming, but you’ll become confident as a parent quicker than you think. You’ll also be surprised at how resilient you really are.

The information below will guide you through the first days at home with your infant so you know exactly what to expect. With the help of these tips, you’ll also know what to buy and what to do so you can prepare ahead of time. Review each section in the days and weeks before your little one is scheduled to arrive. When it’s time to go home as a family, you’ll feel more at ease and you’ll be able to focus on your baby.

You’ll Need to Take Care of Yourself and Baby

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As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you’ll be thinking about whether you want to breastfeed or bottle-feed, if you prefer a crib or bassinet and how you want to design your nursery. What most new moms often forget is that they’ll also be recovering from an intense medical experience. No matter how healthy you are or how low-risk your pregnancy may be, labor is still tough on the body. As WebMD mentions, some of the more uncomfortable symptoms include vaginal bleeding, sore breasts and what are known as “after pains.”

In the days immediately after you give birth, you will still experience painful contractions. This is because the uterus is still returning to its normal size. Some women will receive a prescription pain reliever to reduce the discomfort and help them sleep. It’s also common to be sore and extremely tired. Ask your partner to help you with diaper changes and tummy time, especially if you had a vaginal tear during labor or are recovering from a C-section. If you’re using bottles, dad can take over while you rest your eyes or take a nap. When it comes to naps, it’s wise to remember the old adage, “sleep when baby sleeps.” Since you’ll be up frequently during the night, you’ll appreciate the extra time in bed.

Baby Will Nurse or Bottle Feed Every Couple of Hours

Newborns have small stomachs. In the first several days after birth, they’ll be eating at least every couple of hours. A typical baby feeding schedule is approximately eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period. If you’re breastfeeding, make sure your nursery has the supplies to keep you and your child comfortable. You’ll want to nurse in a comfortable chair, such as a rocker or glider with an ottoman. A lumbar pillow or nursing pillow can be helpful for propping baby in your ideal nursing position.

Bottle-fed babies should have plenty of bottles and nipples on hand—as many as 24 bottles may be necessary for a busy family. Wash them in the dishwasher every evening to keep each item sanitized. Some moms choose to use a sanitizing container they can place in the microwave.

You’ll Need to Keep Track of Diaper Changes

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While you’re in the hospital, your baby’s attending doctor will ask you to track their diapers. They’ll want to know how many times they pee and have a bowel movement. If they don’t have enough dirty or wet diapers, they could be dehydrated or constipated. Your pediatrician will explain how many you should expect in the first few days after you bring the baby home. In most cases, you’ll track this number on a piece of paper given to you by the doctor or in your own notebook. You’ll bring the information with you at your baby’s first checkup.

Most newborns will go through between eight to 10 diaper changes per day. Make sure you have plenty of diapers, wipes and rash ointment on hand. If you have questions about baby’s bowel movements or the best way to keep the diaper area healthy, ask the pediatrician when you see them.

You’ll Need to See the Pediatrician

According to Parents magazine, your newborn will see the pediatrician three to five days after they’re born. Some new moms make the appointment while they’re in the hospital. You can also schedule one immediately when you arrive home. Give yourself plenty of time to get dressed, pack your diaper bag and drive to the office. It’ll take longer to get ready than you’re used to.

Double check the diaper bag for feeding supplies, diapering supplies and an extra set of clothing. Don’t forget to bring your wet and dirty diaper information with you, as well as any questions you have about baby’s care. They’ll probably ask how your baby is eating, how many hours they’re sleeping per night and if they’re showing any signs of common infant conditions such as diaper rash or cradle cap.

Keep your smartphone or a pad and pen handy. You’ll need it to record the baby’s height, weight and head circumference. As your little one gets older, you’ll be able to compare the numbers to see if your baby is growing healthy and normally. Be sure to make your next follow-up appointment. You’ll return when your child turns one month old.

Baby Will Sleep a Lot

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In the first couple of days after your baby arrives home, they’ll be pretty drowsy. This is because they’re still adjusting to life outside the womb. According to Today’s Parent, you can expect them to be up only 45-60 minutes at a time during the first week, with an average sleep time of two to four hours. Experienced moms will tell you to take advantage of this time as much as you can. Nap or rest on the couch so you can make up for lost time during the night. If you do need to make a few phone calls or complete some chores, try to alternate these activities with rest.

You can help baby stay asleep for as long as possible with the help of a few comfort tools. A sound machine will lull baby to sleep while helping to drown out background noises. Blackout or room darkening blinds, from Factory Direct Blinds, keep sunlight, glare and harsh temperatures outside.

Making Yourself at Home with Baby

When you have the right supplies and approach to caring for your baby, it’ll be easier to nestle into your new home together. You may be nervous, but as long as you’re meeting baby’s needs and giving them plenty of snuggles, you’re doing just fine. Ask your pediatrician and loved ones if you have questions—and don’t forget to reach out for support if you need to rest. The healthier you are, the better you can care for your little one.

About the author

Michaell Walling