Bringing Baby Home
What to Expect After Your Baby Arrives
Congratulations! You have just delivered a beautiful baby; after a short hospital stay it's time to bring your new little bee home. It's about this time that a wave of fears and questions may rush over you. It was a bit easier when the concept of bringing the baby home was still sometime in the future, and your main focus was labor and delivery. But don't panic! Everything is going to be just fine.
What to Expect When Leaving The Hospital
Before you are allowed to leave the hospital, both you and the baby will be examined. When the doctors conclude you are both healthy and ready to go, there will be paperwork that you must complete. You should also be given information on Postpartum Depression, as well as information on the health of your baby, warning signs to look for, and when to call the doctor.
Many hospitals today require infants to wear an electronic monitoring device as well as an information band. Most hospitals also require the father of the child to wear a band as well. A nurse will compare the information on the bands to make sure the right baby is going with the right parents. The electronic monitor will also be removed. When it's time to leave, the policy in most hospitals is that the mother must sit in a wheelchair holding the infant while a nurse wheels you both outside. The nurse will also check to make sure there is an infant seat installed in your car and that the baby is secured in the seat before allowing you to leave.
Caring For Your Newborn
Many parents wonder how they will know what to do if their baby cries. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average newborn cries for 2 - 3 hours total a day. That sounds like a lot, but don't panic just yet. Newborns generally want something such as food, to burp, a clean diaper, sleep, or just to be held. If none of these things seem to work, there are other things you can try. Some babies just feel more secure when they are swaddled. You can also try rocking or walking with the baby as some infants like movement. Make sure your baby is a comfortable temperature and not over bundled or under dressed. Newborns also get tummy aches. If you're breastfeeding, it's possible something you ate doesn't agree with the baby. If you're formula feeding and you suspect it may be upsetting baby's tummy, talk to your pediatrician about what to do. If your baby won't stop crying no matter what you do, call your pediatrician immediately.
Caring For The New Mommy
You've probably heard the expression "Sleep when the baby sleeps" and you may be tempted to dismiss it. Don't. Your body has just been through something that while amazing, is also exhausting. You need rest not only to recover from childbirth, but to be able to function as well. Sure, the dishes may pile up a bit, and your washing machine may send out a search party of lost socks to look for you, but it's okay to let household chores slide a bit. After all, you have the much more important job of taking care of an infant now.
As soon as the baby is born, family members and friends will start asking when they can visit. Or, they might just show up. How soon you start to introduce your baby and to whom is completely up to you. If you don't want visitors around right away, feel free to say so. Ask them to give you and the baby time to recover and settle in a bit first. If you're up for visitors, that's fine too. Just make sure to keep those who are under the weather away from baby and keep extra soap and antibacterial gel on hand.