Is Baby Finished Being Born Yet?- 4 Ways To Help Baby Adjust During The First Days Home!
So, you bundled baby into the new car seat, packed up all the gifts and hospital paraphernalia and are finally bringing new baby home! It's an overwhelming time for the new mom and dad.
Being physically prepared with all the new- baby equipment, is one way to ease the transition from hospital to home. But being emotionally prepared for what lays ahead is vital for the new mom's coping abilities during those sleep deprived, incredible days with a new baby.
Coming home from the hospital is comforting for the new mom. Her own bed, bathroom, shower, it's all bliss coming from an uncomfortable, sterile hospital environment. It should be blissful for baby too, right? Wrong! I call the first few days home from the hospital "The last stage of birth". New baby has not yet acclimated to his new world, and it may take some time until he gets a hang of what to do at this point. I remember bringing my oldest son home from the hospital, 19 years ago. We were young, excited, and thought we were well prepared for the new arrival. But boy, did reality set in! I have a picture of myself just holding my baby who was crying intensely. The expression on my face is priceless! Bewildered? Overwhelmed? I wish the experienced mom that I am now could give the inexperienced mom of 19 year ago some advice!
The following is a list of physical and emotional adjustments that new baby may go through that will cause him to be unsettled in the beginning few days. ( Of course, there are some babies who will have an easier time than others. If you were blessed with one of those, please don't snort and roll your eyes when your friend tells you about her difficult first days with baby!)
Eating: Baby is learning how to feed for the first time.Whichever method you choose for feeding, remember, it takes work and practice. I found with my own babies, that it takes about 2-3 months until baby and mom are completely comfortable with the feeding routine. Details for tips on feeding will follow in a further blog post.
Gagging: Some babies still have some mucous and amniotic fluid in their system which may cause them to gag at times. If this happens, speak to your doctor about what to do.
Elimination: When bringing baby home from the hospital, some babies may still have meconium in their system. This is the dark, black, thick, first stools that baby will pass. I find that some babies are uncomfortable until this stuff passes out of their system.
Comfort: Baby is learning to adjust to his new environment! He is used to a warm, snug, peaceful existence. Being thrust into this cold, loud unfamiliar world is traumatic for the new baby.
So, what will help baby in acclimating to life in the world? Firstly, a calm Mom and Dad! By being prepared emotionally and knowing what's ahead, you can eliminate the nervousness that accompanies this huge transition.
In this post, we will primarily focus on comforting baby during the last stages of his birth!
Here are 4 great ways to help baby adjust during the first days home:
1.Swaddle Keep baby as comfortable as possible by swaddling him. A Miracle Blanket or a Halo SleepSack are two ways to swaddle. They are easy to use and will ensure hassle free swaddling. Baby will feel secure and warm when he is wrapped up tight. Swaddling him with his arms tucked in will prevent him from awakening from his startle reflex and may help him sleep for longer stretches.
2.Keep baby snug Give him a comfortable sleep environment that mimics the conditions before birth.. A DockaTot is a great way to give baby that secure feeling, as opposed to a larger crib where baby will feel cold and lost. (Always put baby to sleep on his back. Studies show a link between babies sleeping on their stomach and SIDS. For more information on safe sleep habits, click here.)
3.Soothing sound Use a white noise machine to soothe him and block out any loud, background noise which may startle him. A Moonlight & Melodies Hug Me Projection Soother by Skip Hop can be used from newborn thru toddler years. When using for a newborn, the melodies, on a timer, will soothe baby. As baby grows the soft belly of the huggable lamb project soothing images on the wall or can be used as a soft glow night light.
4.Comforting Touch Hold your baby as much as you can. Your scent and sound of your voice will comfort him, as he is used to hearing your voice from before birth. The mother-baby bond that is created during those first, crucial days is a bond that lasts a lifetime!
A motto that has always helped me get through the exhausting first days is to remember "This too shall pass"! Keep in mind that it's okay to be exhausted right now! Sleep when baby sleeps, accept any help that's offered, lower your standards and expectations of yourself, and remember-those first days home are special, enjoy them because they fly by so fast!
- Sheryl Mclean