Nov 2, 2010

Ten tips for new moms who are bringing a baby home

I remember my trip from the hospital to home with our new son.  It was the first time my husband went UNDER the speed limit.  I can remember thinking "He is my responsibility now."  The hospital staff where we had my son were really good.  They had him in the nursery while I tried to sleep and helped me know how to breast-feed him.  However, once I got him home, I knew the rest of his life depended on me being a great mom.

The tips I have for you are:
1- Make sure there isn't any mess on the floor that you can trip on.  When you are so tired from the baby waking up several times during the night to feed, you may not realize if something was left on the floor.
2- Have the baby's space ready so it is one less thing you need to worry about.  We had a bassinet set up for my son.  I realize that some babies come into the world prematurely.  If that happens, ask your partner or someone else you trust to get your home ready for you and your baby.  Trust me, you will not want to stress about that.
3- Have easy to prepare food for yourself.  I made sure I had yogurt, microwave meals, fruit and plenty of peanut butter and jelly.  You will get hungry, but from what I remember from my son's first two weeks was a lot of sleep deprivation and walking around trying to put my son to sleep.  It was wonderful not having to worry about fixing huge meals for myself.
4- Do you have a pet?  I don't mean to scare you, but NEVER leave a pet alone with your child.  All it takes is a couple of seconds of a pet and infant being alone in a room to change your life forever.  If you are going to the bathroom, go ahead and bring the baby in with you.  Make sure your animal cannot get into the bassinet or crib.  Even if you think your pet would never hurt your child, don't take the chance.
5- Use your nesting period wisely.  Most women will tell you that before their child came home, they went into a freakish cleaning mode.  When you are cleaning, make sure to clean the babies bottles (if you are going to be bottle feeding your baby) and get a space for diapers, wipes, and clothes.  Make sure your door handles, toilet handles and faucet handles are sanitized.  Your baby won't have a good immune system, so you need to make sure that things in your house are sanitized when you bring your child home.
6- You have to tell guests what you expect of them.  I didn't have a rule about people coming into my home after we had our child.  However, it was May and colds and flu aren't common in May.  However, you have the right to tell people not to come over with sniffles or sick children.  You have the right to tell people they must wash your hands before holding the baby.  Just explain that your baby doesn't have immunity to anything.
7- Mop your floors and vacuum your carpet.  There are so many germs in carpets.  Perhaps assign someone to mop your floors and vacuum any carpets while you are still in the hospital with your child.  You want to make sure that you can get rid of germs before bringing that baby home.
8- Don't smoke around your baby.  Your babies lungs are still developing.  You don't know if your child will have asthma or other breathing problems.  My husband smoked, but he was never allowed to smoke inside or around my son.  I am glad that he didn't, because my son has asthma.  Ask anyone that does smoke to "air out" a little bit before coming around your baby.
9- Make sure to ask a lot of questions.  Someone will know the answer.  You can ask family members, friends or hospital staff.  It is so important to keep yourself informed.
10- Enjoy your child.  Document your child's life.  My son is 11.  I wish I would have taken more pictures and journaled more.  You think you will remember everything, but unless you document it, you may forget.

Cherish your child.  Keep your child safe.  You and others around your child will mold your baby into the adult he or she will become.  Remember that your child may not always listen, but pick your fights wisely.  Have fun with your baby!

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

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