So you survived labor and delivery and have a tiny new roommate to show for it. Now what? It might sound like a silly question, but I know I’m not alone when I say that my apprehension level rose a few degrees as I prepared to leave the hospital and bring my new bean home. It meant that the “call nurse” button was going away, along with the night nursery, along with the endless supply of whatever it was I needed at the moment to help care for this little person with innumerable needs and only one way to communicate them all (Since I had a C-section I had a little more time in the hospital to get comfortable with this life) I learned a lot over the next few days, such as:
1. The ride home from the hospital was UBER stressful. Partly because I’d never been in the car with a baby this young (let alone MY baby) and partly because my whacked-out hormones kept me convinced that tragedy was going to befall my new baby any second. I was really quite shocked when we pulled up to our house without having been involved in a collision. Know that it gets better, if the ride home stresses you out too.
2. We stocked up on diapers too much. Don’t go out and buy several jumbo packs of the newborn diapers. First of all, your baby (like mine) might be on the verge of outgrowing them the second he’s born. And babies often grow surprisingly quickly in those first few months, so what fits today might not fit very well in a month.
3. Take the baby books you’ve read and the advice you’ve received (and will continue to receive constantly) with a grain of salt. You’re not failing as a parent if your baby isn’t responding to the “proven methods to calm colic,” and you’re not doing something wrong if he or she cries quite a bit that first couple months (2 to 3 hours a day is considered normal, unfortunately, but it does pass). Don’t hyperventilate about it if your baby isn’t on a set schedule by three days old either. Everything takes time, and it’s a whole new world for the both of you.
4. Remember that you don’t need all that much to bring a baby home. Mostly, baby needs you, some diapers (the hospital will give you plenty to get started on), and a safe place to sleep. If you weren’t quite prepared with every little thing, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with accumulating supplies as you need them, and it’s nice to have an excuse get out of the house.
5. Go on a date with your husband while someone you trust watches the baby, after you’ve been home a few days. You might not be feeling super hot, but go out anyway, if only for an hour or so. You can get cabin fever without even realizing it that first little while especially.
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