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Bringing Home Your Baby: You and Your Newborn

Being at home with your newborn baby can be an overwhelming experience. You have just gone through the biggest workout of your life and you need to rest and recover. But how do you rest and recover with a newborn that needs milk, warmth, bum changes and lots of love? How do you balance everything?

Here are some tips to help ease the transition from giving birth to being at home with your baby.

Meals
If you were able to prepare and freeze meals in advance then you are all set! If not you may want to consider buying fruit trays, veggie trays, cooked chicken, and other prepared healthy choices when shopping at the grocery store. If this is not an economical option for you, you or your partner can prepare meals each week in advance.

When you need a snack all you need to do is go to the fridge and grab something that has already been prepared.

Germs
Wash your hands often especially when preparing food and after using the bathroom. Keep soap and a hand towel next to every sink and have hand sanitizer around the house for you and guests that may drop by to see the new addition to the family.

Accept Help
“It takes a village to raise a child.” Let others provide you with the support you will need when you bring your baby home. Whether they want to prepare a meal, do some laundry, babysit, or clean the house, let them!

Those who are stepping up and volunteering their time, have probably been in your shoes and know how helpful it is when others take the time to assist with the necessary household chores.

Holding Baby
When picking up or holding your baby it is important to remember to support her head. Newborns do not have the ability or neck strength to hold their head up on their own.

Sleep
Don’t underestimate your need for sleep as sleep deprivation can lead to both physical and emotional distress. Allow your husband, partner, friends, and family to help out. Take catnaps whenever possible. When your baby naps, you should also nap because a happy mommy means a happy baby.


Safe Baby
A newborn baby should sleep on her back on a smooth flat surface, preferably in a crib and on a baby mattress. Soft surfaces such as a couch or a pillow are not recommended as babies can roll over onto their stomachs and get stuck. Babies, especially newborns do not possess the strength or coordination to actively roll onto their backs if they get stuck on their stomach or if they sink face first into a soft surface. Soft surfaces can cause a baby to smother.

For more detailed information on safe sleeping and co-sleeping go to Caringforkids.

Umbilical Cord
A baby’s umbilical cord takes approximately two weeks to dry out and fall off. During this time it will change in color from yellow/green, to a brownish shade, then finally to black. The umbilical cord stump has no nerve endings so the process of drying out and falling off is not painful to your newborn.

Some hospitals recommend that the plastic clamp attached to the cord at birth remain attached until the stump falls off. Keep the area clean and dry and allow nature to take its course. If at some point the umbilical area becomes red, swollen, has a foul odor or oozes yellow fluid, it may be infected and a trip to your health-care provider will be required.

Bathing Baby
Preparation is key when bathing your newborn. Start by getting everything prepared before placing your newborn in the tub. Items you may want to use include a washcloth, towel, cotton balls, creams, soaps, clean clothes, fresh diaper, bath thermometer, etc.

Once the tub is ready and the water is at the correct temperature your baby is ready for his first bath. Gently place your baby in the tub supporting his head at all times. Wash him gently from top to bottom.

When bath time is over, gently take your little one out of the tub and wrap him in a towel. Pat his skin dry and then if you prefer, rub some cream or oil onto his skin. Keep in mind that it is no longer recommended to use baby powders on your little one as he may inhale the powder.

A baby should be bathed every two to three days until they begin to crawl at which point they should be bathed every other day. A baby should have his or her face, neck, hands, and bottom wiped clean on a daily basis.


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