Having just brought Erik home from the hospital on Monday, and being an experienced mom, I really thought that I had everything under control, but even I missed a few things that should have been obvious from the outset- and I really could have used this reminder a week ago... so for all the expectant mommies who have been participating in my blog giveaways and following Acting Balanced, here are my Top Ten Tips for Bringing Baby Home...
1. Your car seat for baby - a) make sure it fits into your car easily and do a trial run with installing it - and make sure daddy knows exactly how to do this - he'll be the one responsible for all the carseat stuff while you are recuperating in the hospital and b) make sure you have daddy bring the car seat up to the hospital room in advance of discharge so that you can spend the time fitting baby into it before you are trying to remember to pack the cell phone charger and meeting with the doctors and nurses to do discharge paperwork
2. Pre-wash everything you will need for the first week - this ranges from outfits and sleepers, to receiving blankets and baby towels, as well as things like pacifiers, bottles, and even things like spraying down your bassinet, stroller and change table with Lysol®
3. And speaking of bottles - even if your plan is to exclusively breast feed, know that sometimes best laid plans are just that - plans - so have a back up system in place - even if it's just a few samples of formula tucked away for a rainy day... For us, I knew that we'd already had a rough breast feeding ride with Liam, and the possibility existed that I wouldn't be able to exclusively breast feed Erik - trust me, i want to, but I also know that his needs come first and if the diaper output and fussiness factors are indicating that he's not getting what he needs, I am totally willing to supplement. So far, we're managing with just a few 'back up' supplements - one occurred in the hospital when he refused to nurse from one side - and pumping didn't stimulate the breast enough to give him a full meal, and another occurred today when I fed him and then snuck out of the house for 1/2 an hour to go to Walmart for something I needed, and he decided that it was time to cluster feed... best laid plans said that big sister got to give him a half bottle of formula while I was out...
4. Stock your freezer - have simple meals that daddy can pull out and microwave or bake (that have leftovers as well) because you won't have time or energy to go grocery shopping and neither will a bleary eyed daddy.... and while you're at it, stock your pantry too!
5. Remember your after birth supplies - this is the one I forgot about - I had to send Wayne out to buy pads again... on his top ten list of things he'd rather not do - you will need extra absorbency maxi pads, loose fitting cotton undies and witch hazel (if delivering vaginally)
6. When you pack your hospital bag, don't forget your shampoo and conditioner... this time around, I bought trial sized versions of my shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, a new toothbrush, moisturizer, etc... so that they were already stowed in my suitcase in case I went early. Other good things to tuck in your bag...change and singles for the vending machine.
7. Set visiting hours and rules for visitors - my rules include - always washing hands before touching Erik, no smoke, heavy perfume or dirt on people's clothes, no visiting if you've had a cold, fever or other illness within the last 48 hours and always ask before picking him up.
8. Sleep when the baby sleeps - There is nothing worse than being sleep deprived - and you are not alone in feeling like you should be productive while baby sleeps, but the secret to surviving the newborn phase is to get lots of rest, so lay down when the baby sleeps, rest when he does - the dishes will still be there and so will the dust bunnies, which leads me to number 9. It;s also important to take time for yourself - so make sure you shower, eat, relax, exercise etc...
9. Accept help - and direct it where you need it - it's okay to be protective of the baby and keep him/close but there are other things you can let go of and get help with - laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, shopping etc... if someone asks, don't turn them down!
10. Trust your instincts - you will be bombarded by the media, including bloggers like me, who dispense free advice - but the most important advice I can give is to trust yourself!
Really, the best advice I can give you is to relax and enjoy your new little one - these tips are great reminders and I'm sure you're going to get lots more advice, but it's okay to do things your way and to listen to yourself and just take the time to enjoy being with your baby!
Disclaimer: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”