Bringing home a newborn baby can be an emotional and exhausting experience. If you’re a first-time parent, or if it’s been a few years since you had your last baby, it’s probably worth taking a moment to think about the things you will need to prepare ahead of time.
Thinking about nappies
Babies go through lots of nappies. If you’re planning on using disposable nappies, be sure to have a few packets ready for when you come home. Changing your baby’s nappy regularly will help reduce the chances of your little one developing nappy rash.
The main symptoms of nappy rash include a red and sore bottom, and a rash that might go up to your baby’s tummy or back. Most babies with nappy rash are irritable and difficult to settle. If your baby does develop nappy rash, talk to a pharmacist or medical professional about which products are most suitable.
You’re also likely to need baby wipes. Try to go for good quality baby wipes that are gentle on your baby’s skin. Choosing a good quality wipe is also important as they tend to be stronger and less prone to breaking.
Nappy bags are a good idea as they help you neatly dispose of used nappies. They also hold in odours. Grab a few packets of nappy bags before your due date to make sure that you have them ready for when you need them.
If you’re planning on using cloth nappies, make sure that you have plenty of them ready. You’ll also need to invest in a good quality bucket or nappy pail, and suitable detergent.
Thinking about sleep
Newborn babies usually wake several times a night to feed, and their sleeping patterns can vary wildly. This means that part of your preparation for bringing home a newborn should include an action plan about sleep – yours and theirs.
Make sure your baby has his or her own cot or bassinette. Also make sure that the cot or bassinette complies with Australian safety standards. Try to avoid adding pillows, extra blankets, stuffed toys or bolsters to your newborn’s sleeping space as they can be a suffocation hazard.
Many parents say that spraying a little diluted lavender oil in the room before bed time can help everyone sleep. Scientific studies are currently underway around whether or not lavender has specific sleep-assisting properties.
So far, the research indicates that it probably does. Read the study here. Please speak with a healthcare professional to see if this could be beneficial for you.
Thinking about baby health
It’s important to get up to date on common baby health issues such as nappy rash, dehydration and jaundice. Babies can dehydrate quickly, so it’s a good idea to keep track of when your baby drinks and how much they’ve had. If you’re breast feeding, measuring the amount can be tricky, but you’ll soon get a sense of how long your baby normally feeds for, and whether or not they settle afterwards.
Jaundice in babies is also quite common. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes which is a result of high levels of bilirubin, a yellow pigment that is produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Jaundice in newborns often goes away on its own, however it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor if your baby’s skin or eyes are yellowing.
Thinking about you
Coming home with a new born baby can be exhausting, especially if you don’t have a lot of help, or if you already have other children at home. Don’t forget that mothers need caring for too, so you might need to prepare things ahead of time for yourself.
Freezing home cooked meals is a great way to ensure that everyone in the house gets a nourishing meal during those first few weeks with a newborn. If friends and family offer to help with meals, it’s a good idea to let them. Looking after a newborn is a fulltime job, and having a few meals prepared for you can be a blessing.
Aside from food, nursing mothers also need to have a few essential items ready at home. Many women find that they need a few nursing bras, breast pads, comfortable clothes, and lanolin cream for sore or cracked breasts. Other useful items include a breast pump (if you’re planning to use one), bags or bottles for storing excess breast milk (if you’re expressing) or formula and bottles if you’re planning to formula feed.
Don’t forget to think about essential baby equipment such as a car seat, baby bath and pram. You’re also going to need a cot or bassinette, blankets, comfortable baby clothes, baby thermometer, wraps for swaddling, and good supply of face washers. These are essential items that can be prepared and ready prior to bringing a newborn home.
More children’s health advice
Looking for more tips on health? Check out our wide range of health tips from leading health professionals.
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