First time parent
Nine months of waiting to meet your little one and now you have your bundle of joy…But wait a minute! Does this baby come with an instruction manual?
Starting life as a new parent, is the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking time for new parents. Try not to worry, remember to enjoy these precious days – they go so fast and although they may be tricky and tiring they are so very special.
Tips for new parents
* Be prepared – as much as is possible!
* Be aware that as a new parent you’re not going to have much spare time for doing the things you used to do. Obviously you will want your home to be clean – newborn babies are still developing their immune system so they have little resistance to infection, but don’t over-do it. Simply ensure you have everything where you need it and the chores are up to date so you don’t have to worry about them with your new little one taking up your time.
* Stock up the freezer with easy meals to heat up, and ensure you have enough nappies, wipes and baby bits and bobs. The last thing you’ll feel like doing is nipping to the shops for nappy cream!
* Visitors – If you have ‘pushy’ relatives, prepare them in advance, and say that you will require everyone to wash their hands before handling your new baby. Although family members can’t wait to see the newborn, a unique bonding takes place between the parents and child in the first few days, so don’t feel you have to see everyone in the first few days.
Visitors can interrupt these important early days by wanting to hold the baby, disrupting breastfeeding, expecting cups of tea and quite often overstaying their welcome. So tell friends and family beforehand that you want space, and be firm about turning people away when you are tired or don’t feel up to visitors.
If someone has a cold or flu, don’t let them hold your baby – and if possible, keep them out of the same room. For your baby’s sake and yours (while your immunity is low) it is better that they see the baby when they are no longer contagious.
If someone has a cold sore, (herpes simples) including you or your partner, make sure they do not kiss your baby, or let the baby come in any contact with the cold sore as this can be very dangerous to a new born baby.
* Be careful with little visitors – Little children love to kiss and touch new babies – make sure they wash their hands before doing so, and be aware that young children do carry lots of germs. Make your own choice as to whether you want other children touching your new baby. Don’t be afraid to say no in the early days.
* Keep hands clean! Remember to wash your hands after going to the bathroom/using the toilet, blowing your nose, and before preparing food or equipment for yourselves or your baby.
* Getting home from the hospital – safety comes first. Most Western Countries have laws regarding how babies should be safely restrained for travelling in a car. *Check out our car safety feature in our baby equipment section.
* Ensure your baby is dressed properly for the weather. Make sure you have an extra blanket in colder weather and be careful not to overdress your baby in the warmer seasons.
Caring for a newborn
Rule No 1 of being a parent : You can’t care for your baby, if you don’t care for yourself!
If your baby always comes first and your own basic needs (food and rest) come last, you will finally reach a point where you will fall in a heap! This is the one rule first time parents never want to hear – but it is crucial. You are the MOST important person in your baby’s life, and you must stay in good health so that you are able to care for your baby.
So many mums feel they should be able to do all the things they could before, and you will be able to in time, but it takes exactly that – time!
Your body is going through the MOST ENORMOUS changes, and it will be a few months until you are back to normal both physically and hormonally.Yes, there are always a million and one things to do, but at least once during the day, make some time to either rest or sleep when your baby is asleep. you really need to recharge so you can carry on looking after your baby when they are awake!
Enjoy this special time, it’s a wonderful time for family and friends, but remember to have some time on your own – enjoy your new little family and take lots of photos that you will treasure forever.
Safety with your baby at home
Safety – It’s one thing many new parents forget to think about when it comes to little ones. So here are some of my top tips on keeping your newborn safe.
* Hot drinks – You’ll be able to have a tea or coffee, and put your feet up in those early days – don’t listen to the horror stories that you don’t get a minute to yourself. However – do remember that babies and hot drinks don’t go together.
If you make yourself a hot drink, make sure it cannot accidentally be spilt on your baby. Babies may make sudden movements without any warning! You’ll become more aware of this danger as they get bigger, so it’s best to start early by remembering to put hot drinks out of the way. Encourage other family members to do the same.
* Overheating – Think about how your baby is dressed at home. Remove outdoor wear the minute you get home. Babies can overheat very quickly, so check they are comfortable and not too hot. Also think about overheating when they are out in the pram, or in their beds. Don’t let your newborn get too hot.
* Don’t place your baby in their car seat on top of a table. This is a common no-no that many parents don’t even think about. Car-seats are not designed to be placed on unstable surfaces and can easily be knocked off. also don’t leave your baby in a car seat for long periods of time. A car seat is designed for transportation only.
* Animal safety – If you have pets, be wary of them around your newborn. Dogs especially can get jealous and behave in unpredictable ways!
The Nappy bag – being prepared
The list of things you need may seem endless, but each will differ with each Mum’s likes and dislikes so try not to worry! The main things to remember, are a couple of nappies, a change of clothing for baby, disposable baby wipes,nappy bags, nappy cream and a plastic bag for dirty clothes.
Your bag should also include milk if you are not breast-feeding and something to pacify your newborn baby, may that be a brightly coloured toy or a dummy should you wish to use one.
Those first days of being a parent are truly magical after bringing baby home. I hope my tips on caring for your newborn help you to enjoy every minute.