Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ten tips for new moms who are bringing a baby home

You spend months preparing for your baby.  You sit and wait and wonder will your baby EVER come as days pass and you are still pregnant.  Sure enough, your baby comes.  After a couple days in the hospital, suddenly you are sent home.  After all the worrying you did making sure everything was perfect and ready for the new addition, now your attention shifts to keeping baby safe, healthy and happy.

What can you do to be confident that you did everything possible to ensure baby is safe, healthy and happy?  Here are some tips from a me, a mom who has brought many babies home over the years!

1.  If you have other children they most likely will be in love with this new tiny little life.  Even if they haven't hit that madly in love point quite yet, they no doubt will be quite curious about this interesting new creature.  Right away teach your children to touch baby on places other than the hands and face.  Keeping baby from being touched helps keep baby from getting germs but also protects the baby from things like eye pokings (whether accidental or not quite so accidental).  Have other children rub baby's back or hold baby's foot instead.  You can encourage the child by saying how much baby likes his/her back rubbed or how baby is looking right at the child while the child holds baby's foot.

2.  Perhaps people will want visit you in your house after baby.  This is great because often they will be bringing food or gifts for the baby.  Its perfectly acceptable to request visitors wash their hands before holding baby.  You should never feel akward requesting it.

3.  Sooner or later you are going to have to wander out of your home with your infant in tow.  A baby in a carrier seat placed in a shopping cart is a total invitation for strangers to invade the baby's personal space zone.  Even if you have your baby covered over with a blanket, strangers see the need to remove the blanket to not only gaze at your little miracle but also to touch.  One of the first times I took out my first born son out a complete stranger actually went up to him leaned over and kissed his face!  I stood there shocked and realized there had to be a better way to protect baby.  Using a baby carrier worn on your body really solves this issue.  Most people won't invade your space nearly as quick as they will invade baby's.  There are lots of carrier options available.  A perfect one for very small babies that really covers and protects them in a wrap style like this:

4.  Speaking of going out, Dr. visits will be a big part of your life with a baby.  Even if baby is very healthy, well child appointments are very important.  When making your appointments consider choosing the first appointment of the morning.  First, the waiting rooms should have been freshly cleaned overnight.  minimal germ exposure there.  Next, they will probably be least busy at this time.  You will get in and out faster and be exposed to less waiting people.  I have found that the worst time to schedule a visit is late in the evening.  Parents often wait till the end of the day to take a sick child in hoping as the day goes on they feel better.  Sometimes a sick child isn't really discovered until the parents return from work.  Many offices will add sick children in at the end of the day even beyond their normal work hours so that they can be seen.

5.  The same principal applies to running other errands in your day.  Consider going during the least busy times.  If you have the kind of luck I do, you will soon discover that every time you get into the check out line, your baby will wake and insist he/she has never been so hungry.  The shortest time you have to spend in that check out line, the better.  Less busy times of the day ensure you will get through that line quickly.  You will also be exposed to much less people/germs.  One area you really want to avoid in a store is the pharmacy area.  Many people picking up prescriptions are sick!  If you do have prescriptions to get, take advantage of the drive thru line!

6.  Although I try to avoid cleaners in my home on a daily basis, there are times when disinfectants are necessary.  If any of your other children, or anyone in the household is sick, its time to break out the Lysol.  Go through each room and wipe down any area that's a frequently touched surface.  Suggestions:  lightswitches, door handles, cabinet handles, soap dispensers, faucet knobs, toilet flush handle, refrigerator handle, etc.  Wash your dishes on the sanitize cycle in your dishwasher.  Clothing, sheets and towels should be washed in hot water.  If you like to use towels a few times before washing, during sick times you should abandon that practice and wash after each use.

7.  Boost up your family's immunity but making sure they are eating good healthy foods.  Try to prevent your family from even getting sick in the first place so that baby doesn't get exposed.   Include lots of fruits and veggies.  Try to totally avoid processed foods.  Also, give your family vitamins and consider herbal supplements that boost immunity.

8.  Baby's bathtime can be very enjoyable but there are steps you should take to make it safe.  First, turn your water heater down so that water will not get scaldingly hot.  Make sure your baby's portable bath tub is on a very stable surface.  Have all your supplies ready and within an arms reach before you get baby in the tub.  NEVER EVER take your hands off baby or let your eye divert away.  Once water starts to cool off, remove baby to avoid chills.  Quickly dress baby while keeping as much of baby covered at all times.  Doing these things will keep baby from any harm.

9.  Don't ever allow your pets to be left alone with the baby.  A nice warm snuggly baby looks like the perfect place for kitty to take a nap on.  Dogs may love the baby but could cause accidental harm if they jumped up on the baby carrier or swing to take a look.  Also, watch your dog closely when guests come over.   Some dogs immediately recognize this baby as their's to protect.  A normally very laid back people loving dog may not be at ease with visitors touching "their" baby.  When I brought my first born home, he would cry when he got his diaper changed.  I had a cat that would come running into the room and actually attack my legs, biting and clawing me.  I guess she thought I was hurting the baby!  I soon began closing the door to the room before I started changing baby.  When I brought my 4th child home my one dog sat outside my bedroom door and decided it was his job to keep the other dog away.  He would guard the door and allow other people in without issue but whenever the other dog came around he'd start growling and block the doorway.  So just beaware that a new baby is an adjustment for the furry members of your family as well.

10.  Finally, realize that no matter how much you try, things are going to happen.  Sooner or later your baby will get sick.  Don't feel guilty about it.  You can make your home as safe as possible but accidents will happen.  When I was carrying my sleeping 5th newborn baby into my bedroom one evening my pocket on my shorts got hooked over the door handle to the bedroom and suddenly jerked me backwards and downward and I fell to my knees.  I swore the baby would end up with shaken baby syndrome from the impact even though she never left my arms and didn't even wake up.  I called my pediatrician in tears.  She said she was sure the baby was just fine.  If there was anything unusual that came up to call right back, but she was sure things were just fine.  So try to relax.  Remember you did all you could to make baby as healthy, safe and happy as possible.

Arriving at your home with a newborn is certainly and exciting, happy time.  Do all you can to make sure its a safe, healthy time as well!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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