You will probably be very excited to bring your baby home from the hospital. It might even be a little scary. Your baby will seem so small and fragile you might worry about hurting baby. Baby's crying may make you nervous. If this is your first baby, everything is new to you. As you spend time with your baby, you'll learn to become more relaxed. Soon you'll know what baby likes and what upsets baby. Until then, here's what you should know about the first weeks at home.
A time to rest
You'll probably feel quite tired. Your body has worked very hard to have your baby. And now she'll be waking up many times in the night. But it's important for you to get enough sleep. During the day, nap while your baby sleeps. Don't worry about cleaning the house or doing the laundry, it's time for others to help you with that. Ask your friends to help you with those chores. As baby gets older, baby will sleep more at night.
When your baby cries
Baby's crying might upset you. That can make you feel like a bad parent. Don't worry. Babies cry. A lot. Soon you'll be able to figure out what baby wants when baby cries.
For now, start by looking at her diaper. If it is wet or soiled, change it. If baby is still crying, baby may be too hot or too cold. Check by putting your hand on the back of baby's neck. If too hot, take off some of baby's clothing. If too cold, wrap baby in a small blanket.
Still crying? Feed and burp baby. Here's how to burp your baby:
Hold baby upright with baby's head on your shoulder. Support baby's head while you gently pat her back with your hand..
Sometimes babies cry because they want to suck on something. Help baby find baby's thumb or fingers by guiding baby's hand to baby's mouth. Or give baby a pacifier. Some babies like to be carried or taken for a car ride (in a properly installed child safety seat). If your baby's cries make you angry, take a break. It's best to step back, leave baby with someone else and go for a walk or do something else for stress management. If no one is available to help you, put your baby down and call your doctor to ask for advice.
The best ways to bond with your baby
Every time you pick up your baby or sing baby a song, the two of you are growing closer to each other. To help baby learn that baby can always feel safe with you, spend lots of time with baby. Here are some other ways to help baby feel loved:
- Hold and touch baby often. Cuddling baby will make baby feel secure. It won't spoil baby.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Talk to your baby. Baby won't understand the words yet, but baby will like hearing the sound of your voice.
Don't forget about your partner
Your partner is probably excited, worried, and tired too. Your partner may also feel alone. In many families, the mother takes care of the baby. Dad may want to help. There are plenty of chores your partner can do. Diapers need to be changed, baby needs to be bathed and dressed. This is an opportunity to take some much needed rest.