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The 7 Fundamentals Of Bringing Home Baby

From the first moment you discover you are growing a new life in your body, you spend the ensuing months counting down to the big day. Your baby's day of birth.

If you're anything at all like me you will spend your days consumed with thoughts of that little person - what will they look like, sound like, smell like. What path your labour will take. Are you mentally and emotionally ready to welcome your child to the world - not to mention physically ready with all the latest and greatest baby paraphernalia!

And while all of that emotional preparation, baby shopping and daydreaming is not only nice but necessary, I want to address another side of adding a child to your family.

What about the practicalities?

Here is my no-nonsense list of the fundamentals of bringing home baby:

1. Your Hospital Bag

Besides packing the usual items such as baby's first clothes, sanitary products and button down nightdresses if you plan on breastfeeding, I have several other must-haves for my hospital bag and those include face cloths for your labour bag (you can expect to get HOT!), witch hazel (for soothing any stitches or grazes to your sensitive areas post labour), absolutely massive knickers (and I mean the bigger the better. Think Bridget Jones knickers but on steroids!), snacks (meal times always seem very spread out and when breastfeeding I'm always starving so pack some non-perishable bits like cereal bars to nibble on between main meals), some plastic bags for holding dirty clothes separate to clean items and Water Wipes for that first nappy that seriously looks like tar and sticks to their skin like glue.

Another tip of mine would be to not over pack. Bring the essentials and have a mini bag or two packed separately at home containing things like variously sized sleepsuits in case baby is bigger or smaller than anticipated, extra sanitary products, extra dark towels and sleepwear that your significant other can easily bring in for you if needed. Also handy is a separate bag with both of your going home outfits that can be brought into you when desired. Do bear in mind that your bump will still be in the picture, so as much as you may have come to despise them, make sure you pack maternity clothes that you will be comfortable in.

2. Adding Another Child

So regardless if baby is your second, third, fourth or fourteenth you will need to organise a minder for your older child or children. Make sure you have some you can rely on, that your children will be familiar with, that are easily reachable with their phone on loud at all times in the weeks approaching D-day. If you have this essential sorted you, and by default, your baby, will feel much more relaxed. Happy mammy = happy baby and a happy baby is more likely to evacuate your womb willingly than one that is stressed out! I went overdue with my second son and truly believe that a large part of that was the stress I felt under at the thought of not having a solid plan in place for our eldest child while my husband and I were gone to hospital. Whether or not it's related to my theory I didn't make that mistake on my third and he arrived slightly early!

3. Your Hospital Route

Make the journey from home to hospital at various times of day in the weeks leading up to your child's arrival. You will get a rough estimate of how long you will take to get to your destination and it may be helpful to know which roads to avoid during rush hour that may shave necessary time off your drive.

4. Phone Numbers

Make sure you have all your necessary contacts in both your phone and your birthing partners phone prior to the big day. Useful numbers include:

  • Details of your babysitter (if required)
  • Hospital maternity ward phone number
  • Your doula (if you have hired one)

5. Car Seat Installation

Have your partner or yourself practice putting your baby's car seat into the car and ensuring it is done correctly as per safety standards. It's easy to assume the "Ah sure, it'll be grand" mentality that we, as typical Irish, can tend to do but it's your child's well-being and at the end of the day it's better to know what you are doing before the fact as opposed to possibly struggling and perhaps failing to safely secure your baby for their first car journey.

6. Sleep Matters

Once baby arrives you will be too tired to read any of the copious sleep advice books on the market so my advice would be to read them before baby arrives and turns your life upside down. The lack of sleep, especially on your first, can be hard going. Baby may have their day and night muddled up, he/she could be reflux-y and thus need to be sat up for 30 minutes after every feed which is less than ideal when they are feeding every hour or two at the start, he/she could just be like my firstborn and plain out be allergic to sleep - each child is different and honestly in this instance I believe that forewarned is forearmed so equip yourself with the knowledge and just cross your fingers that you'll never need to employ what you have learned.

7. Couple Time

Have a babymoon. Whether it is a single night away at a hotel down the road or two weeks in Florida, try to fit in some time for you and your other half to appreciate each other before your world changes. Obviously, this isn't possible for a lot of us and in this instance, my advice would be to have several date nights before baby arrives like a meal in your favourite restaurant, a trip to the cinema, a couples spa day - whatever you can afford.

Is there anything else that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Pamela O'Rourke is a full time wife and mother. She loves to spend her days helping to build her sons' imaginations and shaping them into the men they will someday become. When she has a spare moment or two she enjoys planning the family's next trip to their favourite place on earth, Walt Disney World!

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