Awaiting the arrival of a little one can be filled with mixed emotions. While you may be overjoyed that your family will be expanding, you may also be feeling nervous or scared about how to care for a new baby.
Preparing for a baby involves preparing your home, your family and your self for the changes that will occur. Most of all, knowing what to expect can minimize those trial and error moments of parenthood.
Basic Shopping Supplies
Preparing your home for a new baby is critical to ensure you have all of the products and supplies an infant needs.
Add these items to your list:
- Car Seat
- Sling or Carrier
- Receiving Blankets and Swaddle Blankets
- Baby Monitor
- Bath Tub
- Hooded Towels and Wash Cloths
- Shampoo, Grooming and Medical Set
- Diaper Cream, Diapers and Wet Wipes
- Breast Pump
- Bottles, Bottle Brush and Drying Rack
- Burp Cloths
- Onesies, Socks and a Light Weight Hat
In addition, you will need clothing that is appropriate for the weather in your area, a crib, and basic decorating materials and accessories to brighten up your baby’s room.
When parents arrive home from the hospital with their newborn baby, it is a challenging and exciting period, says Natasha Eldridge, founding partner of Eldridge Overton Educational Programs. “When bringing home a brand new baby, all types of emotions are elicited, including excitement, fear and happiness,” she says. “Mom has spent the first nine months of baby’s time in utero bonding with the new child. Meanwhile, dad’s first opportunity to bond presents itself when healthy baby meets the world.”
During the first few weeks, your baby will spend time exploring her new environment. “Our homes are bright, filled with the sounds of life and the smells of our culture,” says Eldridge. “A brand new baby is taking in so much in such a short amount of time, she may cry often during the first few weeks of adjustment at home.”
Parents and nannies should be ready for sleepless nights, busy days filled with washing bottles, breastfeeding equipment and clothes, feeding and pamper changing at least every two hours, several baths and sponge baths to clean the overflowing diapers and spit up that will inevitably leak onto areas of the baby’s body, says Eldridge.
According to Dana Obleman, author of “The Sleep Sense Program,” new parents and nannies should know that newborn babies do a lot of eating and sleeping and not much else. “It’s important to let them eat and sleep as much as they want to during the first few weeks,” she says. “Ideally, you should create an eat-play-sleep pattern that allows for four to five naps per day of one to three hours each.”
According to Obleman, most newborns should only be awake for 45 to 60 minutes at a time before they need another nap. “You’ll also need to feed for about 20 to 30 minutes every two to three hours,” says Obleman. “Six weeks marks a turning point for many babies, when their sleep cycle begins to settle down and they can sleep three to five hours at a time at night.”
The Joy of Newborns
More than anything, your new baby will need a lot of love and attention, says Brandi Jordan, newborn care educator and lactation consultant with The Cradle Company.
“Humans cannot survive without touch and both babies and parents find it comforting to use baby wearing as a way to bond, such as an infant carrier that allows the baby to be worn skin-to-skin,” she says. “Talk to your baby, gaze at him during feedings and in a few weeks during diaper changes, you will see him mirroring your behaviors and looking to connect with you.”
New babies will look to their parents for everything, says Eldridge. “That longing stare they give is empowering, yet jolts most of us to realize that we are no longer just responsible for just ourselves, which can be scary,” she says. “Just enjoy the first few weeks because you will never get that time back again. There will be different stages – none better than the last – but the first few weeks will never be again, so take a seat and enjoy the new bundle of joy.”