Baby’s First Day Home: A Survival Mini-Guide for New Parents
After all the running around, the unfamiliar surroundings, and the numerous family visits, it’s finally time to go home and settle down. Bringing baby home with you should be a stress-free experience but, for many, it’s not. Here’s how to survive the trip home and settle into a normal life.
Car Seat Fitting
Before you even go to the hospital for a delivery, you should have your car seat ready to bring baby home. The car seat should be new, not used, and you should inspect it for any manufacturing defects before securing it in the back seat.
What To Expect When You Get Home
There are a lot of things that happen when you bring home a new baby. Baby needs to adjust to its new surroundings. And, the feeding schedule will seem to be rather strenuous for mom.
Expect baby to lose, on average, 7 percent of their birth weight when they get home (not all at once, of course). This will happen over a few days. But, you should keep feeding baby every few hours, and get his or her weight back up for the 2-week checkup.
Weird Things Babies Do That You Have To Get Used To
Every baby does something “weird” that their parents question. In fact, most babies’ “weird” things are actually normal. Case in point: spit up and vomiting.
It’s normal for babies to spit up and vomit now and then. Babies have poor control over their bodily functions, they don’t really have a good grasp on how much food is “enough,” and they get easily disoriented. Reflux is normal, and it’s part of the process that babies go through to gain more control over their heads and bodies.
Hiccups are also normal for baby.
But, if your baby is suffering from GERD or seems to be excessively spitting up and can’t keep anything down, see your doctor.
Another thing that freaks a lot of parents out: poop and pee. Newborns will have 5 to 6 wet diapers per day. That seems like a lot, and many parents wonder where it all comes from.
Realize that baby’s digestive track isn’t that big, his or her stomach is really small, and gut bacteria are sparse, which all contribute to numerous diaper changes that consist of watery or loose bowels and quite a lot of urine.
The first poop, called meconium, will have a black, tar-like consistency. This is normal. Over the next few days, the feces being produced by baby will change color, but will generally remain the same pasty consistency. Also normal. Weird, but normal.
Just keep track of your baby’s poop and pee schedule. Your doctor may ask you about it.
Your newborn will cry. How much depends partially on baby and partially on you. Newborns are remarkably quiet for the first few weeks. But, after that, they may cry for about 2 hours a day. If your child cries constantly, it’s time to look at what’s happening.
Do what you can to help soothe your baby. For us that was pacifiers. Pacifiers are a great way to help your baby self soothe.
Is baby not getting enough food? Are diapers being changed on time? Is baby being loved and nurtured? Contrary to popular wisdom, there is no such thing as “spoiling” a newborn. So, feel free to love and caress your baby and soothe them. Baby may cry for no apparent reason. That’s when you step in to do the parenting thing.
It might seem like a lot of work, and a lot of confusion or frustration, but bringing baby home can also be one of the most exciting things you’ve ever experienced.