I’ll never forget the day we brought our newborn son home from the hospital. He looked impossibly small in his brand-new car seat and his feet stuck out from under his tiny cotton gown. I sat in the backseat with him on the ride, and when we pulled into the driveway of our little while house the whole family greeted us on the porch.
Both sets of parents and one set of grandparents were anxiously awaiting our arrival. I remember so clearly thinking, We’re home. Now what?
Bringing your new baby home from the hospital is one of the most anticipated aspects of the whole experience. And while I had a lot of help, in some ways I was totally unprepared.
Here are my tips for the big day, from one mom to another. I hope they’re helpful for you.
Make a Support List
Before your baby arrives, make a list of the people in your support system and their contact information. This list might include friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers— anyone you know you can count on if the need arises. Keep it handy for after you return home, and don’t be afraid to reach out. Take it from me: people love to help new moms (especially those who know what you’re going through).
Stock Up on Necessities
Some people find it helpful to prepare meals ahead of time to be frozen and reheated after the baby comes home. Others fill their pantries with necessary items to prevent those emergency late-night store runs. What I found to be most helpful were kits I prepared for my bathroom needs and kept in discreet bags within my reach.
Prepare Siblings…and Pets!
If there are siblings at home, you’ll want to prepare them for the new baby’s arrival. I found What Baby Needs to be very helpful! If you’re a pet owner, you might consider introducing it to the baby’s scent before your return home so that it’s not completely unfamiliar.
Know Your Limits
Having a newborn can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally taxing. Know your limits. Sometimes even new parents need a break, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Do you have a tip to add? Please share it in the comments!
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. She writes about all things toddler at Babble’s Toddler Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.