I’m in the baby business. I make baby items: everything from soft and cushy puff quilts to appliqued onesies. You know this, right? Well I’m also in the baby-making business! I have two cherished little boys who make my life a living whirlwind. Having a baby is such a life-changing thing, and every time you get pregnant, a million thoughts go through your head…all nine months.
Will my baby be healthy? Will I be good mother? What kinds of things do I need to get? What kind of home do I have to provide for my baby? How can I keep my baby healthy, happy, and safe? How I raise a child in a good environment?
Here are some tips every new mother should consider when bringing home that new baby for the first time.
1. Take it Easy, Take it Slow
Life has just changed forever. It is no longer just you and your spouse (or in some cases, just you.) You have a new little person who relies on you for every. single. thing. Your baby is awesome at doing four things: eating, sleeping, pooping, and being adorable. So your job is to make sure that he has everything else taken care of. So don’t worry about looking gorgeous or having a clean living room. Don’t stress that the laundry is piling up or thank you notes need to be written. People understand! Your number 1 priority is your new baby.
2. Keep Them Secret, Keep Them Safe
It may be tempting to want to go show off your prized beauty to everyone. But public places for a newborn baby are high-germ, especially during flu season. People don’t notice when they give a little cough or sneeze and then don’t immediately wash their hands. Most people don’t, actually. But when you’re protecting your baby, you notice every little runny nose and germy hand. So it’s better to just keep your baby at home than to run the risk of her catching something and ending up in the hospital. And when visitors do come and want to hold the baby, invite them to use a little hand sanitizer first.
3. Safety First
Your new baby might seem pretty incapable of doing much moving around (and he probably is.) But you really never know when he might decide to roll over for the first time. While this normally doesn’t happen until around three months, some babies do it within the first few weeks! So to be safe, never leave your baby alone on a high surface (like a changing table.) Keep diapers and wipes close by so that you don’t have to leave him alone to fetch those things. And NEVER leave your baby while he’s in the tub. Phone calls and visitors can wait, at least until you wrap him up in a towel and bring him with you.
4. Suspect Bumps
Most first-time mothers won’t need help being super paranoid about their baby. But there is definitely a time and a place that warrants true caution! If your baby bumps her head, even if she seems okay, watch for signs of danger. Excessive sleepiness or dilating pupils are signs that your baby may have suffered trauma to her head. If your baby hits her head in a spot where her skull hasn’t fused yet (the “soft spots”) call the doctor or just take her in. I have a friend whose baby passed away from hitting her head. They thought she was fine but she passed away in her sleep later that night. Be vigilant!
5. Protect against SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is something nearly all mothers should know about. It’s definitely a nerve-wracking thing, since they don’t know exactly what it’s caused by. But research has shown that placing your baby on his back to sleep seems to help prevent it. I do advocate that babies should sleep on their back, whenever possible. However, you both need your sleep. My oldest child simple would NOT sleep on his back. After several nights of no sleep, I came to the conclusion that I would just have to pray that God would protect my baby while he slept on his stomach. Protecting against SIDS is important, but it’s more important that you both get sufficient sleep!
6. Hold Off on the Newborn Clothes
I’m not saying your baby should be naked, but newborns definitely don’t need to be dressing up in fancy little outfits those first few weeks of life. I had a bunch of shoes for my baby that were all newborn size. But when I brought him home from the hospital, I found he was so much happier and slept better when he was swaddled. So he basically lived in those swaddler wraps for the first month or two, and did he wear those shoes? Not once. By the time he gave up the swaddler, he had long since out-grown them. Babies need clothes, so buy a few things for when they are newborns, but spend most of your clothes money on bigger clothes!
7. Have an Assortment of Bottles and Pacifiers
I already posted about my breastfeed experience. So you all know that I use a lot of bottles! You may not use them, if you are exclusively breastfeeding, but even after while you should probably give yourself a break and pump some milk into a bottle! At first you might want to try some different kinds of bottles because your baby might be picky. My second would only drink from Dr. Browns for a long time! Don’t invest a ton of money in one bottle system before you know your baby likes it. And make sure they are clean and disinfected. Some people like to disinfect their bottles in the microwave.
8. Have a Clean Team
Your new baby will bring a LOT of new messes with her. She is going to spit up, throw up, leak through her diapers. And you will leak milk, spill formula, accumulating a lot of new laundry. There is no end to the messes that children make. I like to have sanitizing wipes handy for countertops and baby wipes and paper towels for baby. It’s also so handy to have hand sanitizer, Lysol, good laundry detergent (I just use Tide but sensitive baby detergent might be nice). Basically just assemble your favorite cleaning agents and have a LOT of them handy.
9. Simplify your Nursery
This might be ironic that I say this, since I do sell baby bedding, but when you put your new baby in her bed for the first time, make sure the only thing in there with her is…her. Put a sheet and mattress pad on the mattress (a good firm mattress) and then remove all the cute stuff you originally had in there before baby came home. Your newborn could care less about that adorable stuffed animal or embroidered pillow. And they pose safety hazards, since they could potentially obstruct the baby’s breathing. I’m not going to get into the whole bumper/no bumper discussion, but it’s something to consider. Additionally, keep the floor free of toys and things, because you don’t want to be stepping on something in the middle of the night when you go to her.
10. Enjoy your Newborn
It’s no secret that the newborn stage is not my favorite. I’m not a fan of the irregular schedules, the breastfeeding issues, the fussiness. I really love it when they grow up a little and start smiling and cooing and sleeping. But there is something so special about the newborn stage that lasts for a fleeting second. They are so tiny, so helpless, and so precious. You are their world. It may not be long before they won’t sleep on your chest, when you can’t easily snuggle with them. It’s fun to watch them grow and learn new things, but cherish the tiny stage as much as you can. Because it’s there for only a few months and then it’s gone forever.
Babies are so much fun. I have to admit that I didn’t appreciate babies as much until I had a rambunctious toddler. But there is a lot to learn about taking care of babies, and as much as you think you know when you have your baby, you quickly forget when they outgrow the stage. Best of luck to you and your new baby!
Disclosure: 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.