The first few days at home with your newborn baby can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Many feel excited, delighted, and overcome with love as well as exhausted, nervous and afraid all at the same time. This is very normal. While parenthood can be incredibly rewarding, it’s not something you should expect to be perfect at right away.
To ease this process, here are some things you can prepare before and expect when bringing your baby home:
What to Prep
- A changing station. Having a set place to change diapers is crucial to baby’s safety and your peace of mind. Attach the changing pad to the top of your station and use the straps to secure your baby while changing diapers. Keep wipes and diaper rash cream within arm’s reach.
- A feeding station. Babies do well with structure and routine, two things you’ll also learn to love as a new parent. Scheduled feeding times as well as a consistent location can help everyone feel more calm and comfortable. Whether it’s a rocker in the nursery or the cozy corner of a couch, designate a spot in the house that your child will come to associate with meal time.
- A place to sleep. Most experts recommend that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months to a year. However, your child should have his or her own bed. Sharing a bed has been proven to increase the risk of SIDS in newborns. It also increases other risks, like crushing and suffocation. To keep your child close, place the crib or bassinet by your bed. This gives your baby a safe space that’s still within arm’s reach.
What to Expect
- You are going to be tired. In addition to the multiple nightly feedings a newborn requires, you’ll likely find yourself racing to put the house in order and eat a hot meal during nap times before collapsing into bed at night. Being exhausted is normal. Embrace it as part of the process, and know that it won’t last forever.
- You may feel overwhelmed and unprepared. On top of becoming a parent, there will still be bills to pay, groceries to buy and other household tasks to do. Learning how to balance all this while also caring for your child takes time. Ask for help when you need it, and if you don’t have anyone who can lend a hand, talk to your doctor. There are programs to assist new parents.
- You might encounter postpartum depression. While it’s common to feel exhausted and overwhelmed, if you find yourself unable to cope, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. This is very common and treatable. Talk to your doctor right away for help.