In the last days of your pregnancy, it’s all you can think of—the day you finally get to hold your baby in your arms. But even when that’s the picture in your head, it can feel surreal when you finally walk through the doors with your new baby and have nothing but years ahead.
If that idea is overwhelming, take comfort in the fact that the best way to raise your child is one day at a time. So knowing how to prepare for your baby’s first day home is the first step toward preparing for the rest of your life as a parent.
Preparing Your Nursery
If you’re in the last trimester of your pregnancy, chances are nesting instincts have already kicked in—that irrepressible urge to clean and prepare your space for your baby. Leaning into this instinct will ensure you have all the tools you need to prepare for your baby’s first day home.
A few necessities to have in your nursery that first night include:
- Newborn diapers (expect 8 to 10 diaper changes per day)
- Mattress pad
- Nursing pillows
- Swaddling clothes
- Baby monitor
Remember, there are also things you won’t want in your nursery, like baby bumpers in the crib. You’ll also want to avoid harsh chemicals like VOCs that can impact your baby’s still-developing lungs. Using water-based paints when you decorate and essential oil-based cleaners is an easy way to do this.
Preparing for Feedings
We’ve all heard that we grow the most in our first few years of life. So many of us are surprised to find that most babies actually lose weight during their first week. While this is normal, you’ll want to be prepared to feed your baby at least eight times on their first day home (and slightly less if they’re formula-fed).
During that first day, don’t be surprised if your baby only takes half an ounce. That amount will increase over the next few days and weeks from a full ounce to two or three ounces.
Preparing for Sleep (or Lack Thereof)
Being born and taking its first trip is bound to take it all out of your baby. Don’t be surprised if the little one nods off as soon as they come home. Babies sleep anywhere from 14 to 17 hours a day on average. However, this probably won’t happen all at once.
Newborns will usually sleep only as long as 4 hours at a time (if you’re lucky). If they keep sleeping after that, you may want to consider waking them up to feed.
Preparing To Rest
With your baby waking up every few hours, you can expect your sleep to suffer. Even so, finding time to rest yourself is essential. After all, even though a mother’s body is built to endure the miracle of birth, it can take a toll on the body.
As much as possible, try to stay off your feet during that first day to allow your body to heal. Try to enlist help before you get home so you’ll be able to rest.