You’ve been through pregnancy, labor and giving birth – and now it’s time to settle back down at home and start a new stage of your life with your precious new baby. But for most new parents, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and a little unsure of what they are doing once they arrive home. The good news is that there is a lot of help out there for first-time parents, so if you’re feeling nervous or scared, don’t be afraid to ask.
We’ve put together some top tips to help you build your confidence in caring for your new baby in no time.
#1. Car Safety:
First of all, the most important job right now is to make sure that your little bundle of joy gets home from the hospital safely. And the best way to do this is to transport them in a safe infant car safety seat that meets all current state and federal regulations. If you’re unsure of the type of car seat that your child will need, you can check out these car seat laws by state to find out more about what is required as a legal minimum in your area. Ideally, you should have the car seat before you bring your baby home, and you should have spent some time learning how to correctly fit it in your car. Remember that babies and infants should always be rear-facing and in the rear seat of your vehicle when you’re traveling with a baby.
#2. Getting Some Help:
The first few weeks after giving birth can be very hectic and overwhelming for new mothers, especially when you’re trying to juggle the demands of looking after a newborn baby with recovering from the physical trauma of birth that your body has just gone through. Speak to your midwife; many hospitals will have feeding or lactation consultants who you can turn to for help with breast- or bottle-feeding your new baby. Midwives and nurses are also there to help you if you need advice on how to hold, burp, change and provide further basic care for your baby. Remember that you are a new parent and are not expected to know everything, so these people are here to help you learn.
#3. Handling Your Newborn:
If you’re not used to spending a lot of time around newborn babies, you might feel overwhelmed when your new baby is put in your arms. As a general rule, you should always:
Wash your hands – newborns haven’t yet developed a strong immune system, so they’re at a higher risk of infection. Always wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer to keep them safe.
Support the head and neck – your newborn hasn’t quite developed the ability to support her own head, so you should always cradle the head and neck when carrying your baby. Support your baby’s head if you’re holding her upright or laying her down.
Be gentle – this one goes without saying; even gentle shaking can lead to brain injury and your newborn is too fragile to be bounced on your knee just yet. Be extra gentle!
As you get used to having your new baby at home, you’ll become more confident every day and your bond with your new baby will grow stronger.