all you need to know about that first night at home
The idea of bringing baby home, of the absolute unknown, of all the ways that your life is about to change in perhaps the biggest way to date, can be overwhelming. Does that feel like the understatement of the year? We hear you. For first-time parents, the idea of being solely responsible for the tiny human you’ve just created isn’t just daunting, it’s incredibly, monumentally scary. But here are all the reasons you’ve got nothing to fear.
Consider, first, that people have been doing this for a very, very long time (the real understatement of the year). You’re not the first, and you’re certainly not the last, to face the daunting first night home with baby. More importantly, even if you aren’t perfect (and nobody is), we can assure you that you’re not the worst. Just the simple fact that you’re reading this means something, so you’re already way ahead of the game. And to help you ease into things, here are a few pointers.
first thing’s first: home base
So much of what goes into leaving the hospital actually comes before you even step foot inside the hospital. Preparing in advance for your newborn’s first day at home will make the transition smoother
1.Set Up a Sleeping Area
For the first few months, you may want your baby sleeping in the room with you. There are multiple options, from a bassinet to a travel crib. Whatever you choose, it must have a flat surface and secure sheets. You can use a receiving blanket to help safely swaddle and comfort your baby at night.
Everything should be laid out and ready at the diaper changing station. Have a stock of unpacked diapers, at least one pack of wipes, a few onesies for emergency changes, and diaper rash cream in case there’s any redness during a change. If your house has more than one story, have at least one station per level. The main station will likely be in the nursery, but stock diapers and wipes in your bedroom while co-rooming with your baby. Remember that your newborn will quickly outgrow newborn diapers, so have a supply of size one diapers ready.
3.Get the Feeding Area Ready
A comfortable feeding place is ideal because you’ll be using it a lot. It could be a rocking chair or a couch, but there are a few essentials to keep stocked nearby. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, burp cloths should never be out of reach. Water and snacks for the parents are a nice quality of life improvement, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Bottles and formula or bottled breast milk should not be far, to facilitate quick feeding. Consider a mini refrigerator to store pre-made bottles, particularly for overnight feeding. If you’re breastfeeding, keep lanolin cream and a nursing pillow nearby.
Be ready with everything you need to move your baby around. The stroller should be set up and ready, with car seat adapters if required. Otherwise, use a frame stroller: a frame with wheels that the car seat snaps into. Soft carriers, like wraps, hold your baby to your body and can help you move around with your baby. Whether it’s doing chores around the house or grocery shopping, you will need baby transportation options in the coming months. The car seat will be adequate for the short term, but they tend to be bulky and heavy, so it can help to have other methods available.
Remember to make sure that baby has proper clothes to leave the hospital in. Dress them comfortably and appropriately for the weather and time of year. Plus, it’s always good to keep a change of clothes, extra bibs, swaddles and a blanket on hand in case of any messes or unexpected weather changes.
first night at home
The first night home with your newborn will seem scary, but come morning you’ll be saying “we made it” complete with high-five’s and sighs of relief. That may be due, in part, to the fact that there won’t be much sleeping. Baby’s schedule will take time to develop, but because your schedule is very well-developed, it’s a massive adjustment. It may be frustrating, but don’t be overly alarmed if you find your newborn baby crying all night. To aid in that first night at home and make your best effort at a chance of sleep, make sure you also have a swaddle – and a good grasp on how to do it properly. Babies can wake themselves up with what’s known as the Moro reflex, an involuntarily response to a feeling of falling. When done right, swaddling can help decrease these startling movements and spontaneous awakenings while encouraging longer periods of sleep.