For first-time parents, the idea of bringing a tiny, vulnerable little newborn home can be daunting. It’s unfamiliar territory, and there are so many things to consider.
Have you bought enough stuff? Is your home baby-ready? What will day-to-day life with a newborn really be like? As you prepare your home, and yourself, for bub’s impending arrival, here are some things you may want to consider for bringing baby home:
1. Wash everything
Washing those teeny-tiny onesies and impossibly soft receiving blankets for the first time is probably the most fun you’ll ever have in the laundry! Just the sight of them flapping in the breeze on the hills hoist is enough to make any mum-to-be giddy. Not only is it enjoyable to get it done while your bun is still in the oven (at least for the first load or two), it will really benefit you when bub comes! Having enough clean clothes and blankets to last you the first week or so will be immensely helpful, giving you one less chore to worry about in those very early days of sleep deprivation.
2. Familiarise yourself with SIDs guidelines
You can never really appreciate just how vulnerable a newborn is until someone hands you one and tells you “Here, you are now totally responsible for another human being’s life.” It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. Knowing the official Sids and Kids Safe Sleeping recommendations before bringing baby home can help take some of the uncertainty away.
3. Invest in comfy pyjamas and a gorgeous smelling soap
If there’s ever a time in your life when it’s acceptable to spend all day in your pyjamas, it’s those first few weeks with a new baby. Track down the comfiest ones you can find, buy them in every colour, and while you’re at it, spend some time picking out a soap or shower gel that smells divine to you too.
Showers can be hit and miss as you adjust to your new schedule, so when you do manage to steal away for a moment to duck your head under that glorious hot, steamy water, it does wonders for your soul to come out smelling fresh and beautiful.
4. Learn how, and where, to hire a hospital-grade breast pump if you intend to breastfeed
Breastfeeding hiccups can be more common than you think for new mums – latching issues, supply issues, blocked ducts, and tongue tie, just to name a few. You may find you’re just fine, but it doesn’t hurt to make a few calls and find out where to hire a breast pump from.
Pharmacies hire out hospital-grade breast pumps, and the cost varies from store to store. Be sure to have a few options up your sleeve as they are hot-ticket items that book out for weeks, or even months at a time.
Manual breast pumps or home-grade electrical pumps can be great down the track, but when dealing with issues in the early days, the hospital-grade pumps are much more efficient.
5. Consider your pooch
Is your fur baby ready to step aside and let you concentrate on a new baby for a while? If not, now is the time to sort out any potential issues. Have a trainer come out to help you deal with any behavioural issues – because there’s nothing like spending an hour fighting a cranky baby to sleep, only for her to be roused soon after by a barking dog! It’s also important to do your research and learn the proper technique for introducing bub to your dog.
6. Cook and freeze some easy meals
Friends and family may bring you some lovingly home-cooked meals in those first couple of weeks – but it’s smart to prepare some for yourself in advance too. Search our sister site Mum’s Pantry, Google or Pinterest for freezer-friendly meals that can be cooked in bulk and stored in individual portions – bonus points for dishes that can be eaten with one hand, so that you or your partner can hold the baby while chowing down if the occasion calls for it!
7. Have a clear idea of how you want to handle visitors
You may love the idea of being swarmed by friends and family as soon as you set foot back in the house after birthing bub, or you may prefer to strictly limit your designated visiting hours.
Whatever your preference, make sure you communicate it in advance. This will hopefully deter the unannounced drop-ins you want to avoid, or the loneliness of all your nearest and dearest keeping away to give you space when you actually just crave their company.
8. Bring out that baby book now
Many mums regret their lacklustre record-keeping during their little one’s early years. There are so many milestones – first smile, first tooth, first hair cut, first steps – and unless you record them as they happen, they are easy to forget and mix up.
If you have a baby book, take it down from the shelf and put it on the kitchen table NOW, along with a nice pen. With the baby book in plain sight, it is much easier to remember to note those precious moments you will want to reminisce over in 20-something years when that tiny bundle is all grown up and moving out of home (sniff!).
9. Allow some extra room in the budget
We can almost guarantee that, as prepared as you feel right now, there will be some holy grail of baby items you realise you don’t have but you can’t live without about 2-3 days into parenthood.
If funds are tight, start saving now for an extra couple of hundred dollars to be available for you to spend on that can’t-live-without-it item. Hey, if it turns out that you are the ultimate parents and you really did think of everything you need, put that money aside and spend it on your first date night away from bub in a couple of months time!
10. Clean your bedroom
In your sleep deprived state, your bedroom will become your sanctuary. Eliminating clutter, busting every spot of dust and shampooing the carpet now will be a gift to your future self, and she will thank you as she crawls under the covers for a stolen hour of sleep and leaks breast milk all over the clean sheets. On that note, maybe consider purchasing a water-proof mattress protector too.
Bringing your brand new baby home for the first time is one of those precious moments in life never to be repeated. Follow these tips, and your homecoming should be as smooth and sweet as possible.
Good luck mama!