When I was pregnant I thought I knew everything about babies.I was so naive. I thought I could learn everything I needed to know by watching Youtube videos and reading books. The truth is I didn’t learn how to look after a baby until I brought my baby home from the hospital.
I have been around a lot of young babies before having my own and I thought they were easy. All they do is sleep, right?
I was so wrong.
Here is everything you need to know before bringing your baby home from the hospital.
You will be incredibly emotional at first
After having a baby your hormones are going crazy. I cried constantly. Everything made me cry.
Everyone tells you what to expect from having a baby but they rarely warn you about how you’ll feel afterwards.
However, if you don’t start to feel better within two weeks of having your baby it might be time to ask for help. Never be afraid to ask!
If you’re breastfeeding you’re going to need a lot of bras
Before having my baby I only bought a few nursing bras. This was a big mistake. I had to send someone to buy me more because I started soaking through multiple bras every day. Even with multiple nursing pads in, I would soak through. So make sure you have a lot of bras so that you don’t run out. Running out of bras is not something you should worry about after having a baby. You will have bigger things on your mind.
If using formula always measure the exact amount
No judgement here on what you feed your baby. After all, fed is best. But if you do decide to formula feed please make sure you measure out the exact amount.
Watering it down can result in over-hydrating your baby which can have devastating consequences. On the other hand not using enough water can dehydrate your baby and can lead to kidney problems,
ALWAYS use the scoop provided and the right amount of water.
If the baby starts leaking through their nappy it’s time to go up a size
Bigger nappies have extra absorbency. If you notice that your baby has been soaking through and you are constantly changing their sheets and clothes it’s time to go up a size.
Keep the noise up
You don’t need to tiptoe around your baby when they’re asleep. It is loud in the womb and your newborn will sleep best when there is white noise playing. Try not to get your baby used to sleeping in a quiet room or you will need to tiptoe around them and they will wake up to every noise you make.
Zip onesies with double zippers will be your best friend
It’s nice to have a few nice outfits for when you go places but most of the time all you need are zip onesies. Trust me. When you’re changing 10 or more nappies a day you don’t want to be constantly taking off and putting back on pants or doing up 20 buttons every time.
Onesies with double zips are the best for nappy changes. Bonus points if they have built-in socks and mittens. That means you won’t need to search for tiny mittens and socks. Some places where you can buy onesies with double zips are Bonds, Cotton On, Target, Purebaby, and BIG W.
Just make sure you check first, not all onesies sold by these brands have double zips.
Babies love being swaddled
Being swaddled reminds babies of being in the womb. Swaddling your baby can make them feel safe, comfortable, cosy and safe. Being swaddled will help them sleep soundly. However, if you’re struggling to swaddle your baby with a traditional muslin cloth you can always buy a swaddle suit. They will save you so much time.
Babies love swaddling but make sure you stop swaddling them when they start to show signs of rolling
If your baby rolls onto their face when they’re swaddled they can suffocate. Make sure you keep their arms free once they start showing signs of rolling to prevent any tragedies. Try using sleep sacks such as these to keep your baby cosy.
Bite babies nails rather than clipping them
When my baby was a few days old I tried clipping his nails and I ended up clipping his delicate little skin and I made him bleed.
I think I cried more than he did. To be safe you can try biting your baby’s nails to trim them rather than clipping them.
Always lock the pram/stroller when stationary
There are locks on prams for a reason. I learned that the hard way when my baby was about a month old. I was getting him out of the car. Placed him in his pram then I turned around for a split second to grab my shopping out of the boot and saw my baby rolling through a car park. Luckily I caught him and there were no cars coming but I learned my lesson. Now I always lock it.
Burp your baby halfway between feeds
Make sure you burp your baby halfway through a feed. That means burp after each breast or burp when your baby is halfway through their bottle. Not burping them can lead to air building up which in turn can lead to a lot of spitting up. When I first had my baby he would not burp. I could not get him to burp until I gave him Infacol. That’s me being 100 per cent honest. I recommend it to everyone with gassy babies.
Don’t skimp on nappy cream
A nappy rash will be uncomfortable for both you and your baby. Nappy cream will protect your baby from the acidity of their urine. Make sure you use a barrier cream at every nappy change. Put the cream everywhere that urine might touch to avoid a nasty rash.
Always put baby to sleep on their back
This one might sound obvious but it is important that you put your baby to sleep on their back.
There is an increased risk of SIDS if a baby sleeps on their stomach. Also, make sure they have their own bed. Never co-sleep.
Change bottle teats
This is something I didn’t know before having a baby. Bottle teats need to be changed every 2-3 months. Bottle teats deteriorate. If milk is spurting out too fast or the teat is discoloured it’s time to replace the teat.
Don’t forget about tummy time and keep it monitored
If your baby is full-term and healthy you can begin tummy time as soon as you get home from the hospital. Tummy time is important for developing head control and gaining the strength they will need to be able to crawl and walk.
You can never spoil a newborn
You can’t spoil a baby. You’ll often hear people from older generations telling you to not give into them or cuddle them too much because you’ll spoil them. This isn’t true. Babies need attention and love, and to be played with in order to help them develop emotionally and intellectually.
Remove bibs and hats before placing baby down in bed or in their car seat
Babies might look cute in their car seat with a hat on but make sure you don’t do this. Hats and bibs can cover your baby’s face and become a suffocation hazard. Make sure they’re only wearing these when supervised.
Don’t let baby sleep in their swing or bouncer
Some parents let their babies sleep in a bouncer or swing but this is not safe. They aren’t designed for sleeping. Babies have poor head control and sleeping in a bouncer or swing can lead to positional asphyxiation. It seems that not enough people know this and it needs to be more widely known.
Walkers and jolly jumpers are bad for babies and delay walking
Walkers and jolly jumpers encourage babies to walk on their tiptoes which can lead to them having tight calves which makes it hard for them to learn to walk. Also, it doesn’t help them develop core strength. A lot of experts actually suggest that walkers and jolly jumpers actually delay walking. It might be easy putting a baby in a walker or jolly jumper to get things done but try to avoid these if you can!
Fold nappy down when the umbilical cord is still healing
To avoid irritating the umbilical cord make sure you fold the nappy down under it until it’s healed. If it gets urine or moisture in it, it can get infected.
Talk to your baby
Don’t feel weird talking to your baby. Talking to your baby is how they develop their vocabulary. They love to be spoken to. Start by saying things like “Can I change your nappy?” or “Do you want some milk?”. Narrate everything you do to them when possible. This will help them learn to associate words with meaning.
Always boil water before preparing formula
For the first 12 months If you are giving your baby formula always ensure you are giving them boiled water that has been cooled down. Boiling the water sterilises the water and removes any bacteria that will be harmful to your baby’s immature immune system.
Babies can’t eat honey before they are 12 months old
It is important to introduce your baby to common allergens like peanuts and shellfish in the first 12 months but never give a baby under 12 months honey. Honey can contain bacteria that can cause botulism in young babies.
Always use age-appropriate dummies/pacifiers
Follow the age guidelines of dummies before giving them to your baby. You don’t want to give your baby a dummy that’s too big. On the other hand, If you give an older baby a dummy that is too small it can be a choking hazard.
You don’t need to change the nappy overnight
Nappies are designed to be used overnight. I made the mistake of changing my baby’s nappy a few times every night when he was first born and it would just wake him up and make it hard to settle him. If they haven’t soiled their nappy and it’s not bothering them you don’t need to change it.
Try washing small baby stuff like mittens, socks in a lingerie bag
Baby socks and mittens are teeny tiny and are easily lost in the wash. Try putting them all in a lingerie bag so that they don’t get lost.
Fed is best
Breast Milk is great but if it doesn’t work for you and it’s affecting your mental health don’t feel guilty supplementing with formula. After all, fed is best. Don’t let anyone judge you for it.
Use a thermos for formula feeds
Formula feeding can be hard. You need to make sure you have body temperature pre-boiled water on hand whenever your baby needs a feed. Try getting a thermos and filling it with lukewarm pre-boiled water so you always have water on hand. This is also handy for when you’re out and about.
I actually ended up buying a thermos with a temperature gauge so that I knew if the water was too hot or too cold. My baby likes body temperature bottles.
If you have a boy point the penis down
Make sure to point the penis down before replacing the nappy to avoid any accidents. If it is facing up it could result in them urinating straight onto themselves. Save yourself the hassle and the laundry and just point it down!
Babies can’t drink water
Babies can suffer from water intoxication easily in the first 6 months of life. They get all the water they need from breastmilk and formula. This is why you should not water down infant formula.
Invest in a steriliser that dries bottles
Not sponsored in any way but I just want to throw this in here.
Obviously, this isn’t essential but this is a bonus. When I first had my baby I had a standard electric steriliser but I hated that it would leave the bottles wet afterwards. I was sick of having bottles drying on my bench and I thought it was unhygienic. I ended up buying a steriliser that also dries bottles and it saved my bench space and my sanity. It wasn’t even that much more expensive than a normal electric steriliser.
What are some things you wish you knew before bringing your baby home? Let us know. Do you have any other advice to share?