Life changes drastically and dramatically once a child comes home from the hospital. Although the 9 months of pregnancy can surely alter a mom and dad's life, it could be argued that it isn't nearly as notable as what happens when a baby crosses the threshold and enters the homelife. This is particularly true of the first few weeks and months of a baby's time at home.
After this period, life seems to find an equilibrium and routines are established that help propel stability and happiness through the years to come. However, those first few weeks and months can pose a lot of issues for parents, especially when they don't know what they need to stop doing during this time.
Although there are some handbooks out there, as well as doctors who are quick to share information, it's more challenging for new parents to find out what they shouldn't be doing when they finally bring their child home from the hospital. Especially when it relates to their perspective, relationship, and the routines that they had become accustomed to. This is precisely what we will be diving into on this list.
Of course, sources can be found at the bottom of the article and they will be your best start for further research. Without further ado, here are 20 things that parents need to stop doing once they bring their baby home from the hospital.
Once the baby crosses the threshold, parents need to start being prepared. Hopefully, mom and dad have prepared long before that, but once the baby comes home, things need to be ready. This is because there will be little time for correcting boo-boos. Additionally, it's far easier to make a last-minute decision when you have everything at hand, that includes an assortment of swaddling blankets, burp rags, the right clothing, bassinettes, and snacks to keep you going. Beforehand, a mom could fly by the seat of her pants and curb her pregnancy cravings or go anywhere she pleased, but there's just no time for any of that when you have a responsibility like a baby.
Before the baby comes home, it's easy for a mom to walk away from getting help with breastfeeding. But this is pretty hard when it's something that needs to happen on a daily basis. A lot of people believe that breastfeeding is easier than it is. But in reality, breastfeeding can be far more challenging since milk can be in low supply, things cannot be comfortable, and sometimes the baby just won't latch. These are just a taste of the issues that can happen. A lot of moms will chat with their doctors and pedestrians about it, which is good, but it may not be enough. This is because most physicians actually don't have breastfeeding support training. This is why a lactation specialist is key. At the very least, moms need to take advice from those who have breastfed before. Given how important breastfeeding is to a child's development, both medically and emotionally, it's not something you can skip out on.
Some dog and cat owners let their animal have run of the house. This means that they can go anywhere at any time. But this can no longer be the case when a newborn is brought home. Animals aren't entirely aware of the impact their bodies have. This means that they could get too close to a baby during moments where they should be away from them. Additionally, it's good to get an animal used to a newborn's scent long before you introduce them. This means taking home clothing and blankets that the baby has used to let your dog or cat play with is a good thing. This will make the introduction a lot easier. And this is important because an animal could have a really strong impact on a child and vice versa. You just have to make sure the animal is respectful and controlled when around a newborn.
Stop. Just stop. As much as you may adore lighting a scented candle or spraying yourself with perfume, it's important that a newborn isn't around all of this. They're great for feeling great and refreshing the air, but they aren't good for babies who have developing lungs. Additionally, it could cause them to have skin irritations. This is precisely why there are soaps and detergents that are made specifically for babies. Additionally, without all of these scents wafting through the air, a baby will be able to smell and sense your milk and hormones more easily which will prompt them to want to breastfeed, which, of course, is one of the most typically challenging aspects of having a newborn.
It's easy to feel like an expert during the pregnancy stage. Both moms and dads can read as much as they want, as well as live in that headspace, but once a baby comes home, there's no time for all of that. You either know, or you don't. And in most cases, you just don't know until you've experienced. Parents need to have a growth mindset during the first few weeks and months of having a baby at home. They need to be able to learn on their feet and make minimal boo-boos. Every day presents a new opportunity for parents to learn. There is no crash-course for being a new parent. Additionally, there are no real experts. Every parent/child relationship is different and therefore only minimal knowledge can be built ahead of time.
Sorry folks, but there's just no way that you can sleep through the night once a baby comes home. First of all, it's highly unlikely that you will be able to do so. A baby is likely to cry and get up every few hours until they find some sort of equilibrium and get on a sleep schedule. This means that it will be very challenging to stay in bed through all of the cryings. Secondly, parents need to keep an eye on their child to make sure that they don't unswaddle themselves in the middle of the night. Essentially, a couple of check-ups a night will help the child stay safe but also give parents peace of mind. Regardless, one of the last things parents can do once a baby is home is to stay in bed forever.
Although both moms and dads can feel busy during pregnancy, there's a likelihood that they will allow guests to come over whenever they please. Whether the guests are scheduled or not, friends and family are more than allowed to come over and help out. But this can't be the case during the first few weeks and months of having the baby at home. First and foremost, new people bring new bacterias. Obviously, a baby's immune system isn't nearly what it should. Therefore, only the healthy can be around them. Additionally, the life of new parents is a lot to handle, so random guests turning up can cause issues. Don't let this happen. Make sure you are aware of who is coming and when. And if you do allow guests, make sure you have expectations of them. They are either there to cook a meal, help out, or simply make you laugh while you parent your newborn.
A baby's health care provider almost expects calls from new parents on a daily basis. These health concerns include breastfeeding and a variety of other health concerns. But unlikely a specialist during pregnancy, doctors shouldn't be called unless it's absolutely important. This is because most issues can be solved at home as they aren't nearly as bad as new parents think. This is why reading and researching before bringing a baby home is so important. Doctors are happy to help during the routine check-ups and during times when they are totally needed. But parents need to start taking responsibility for themselves as a doctor won't be there all of the time. Besides, these physicians are dealing with important issues all the time, they aren't around to help you figure out how to get your baby to fall asleep at 4 AM. When it's important things, however, such as high temperatures, then make sure you dial that phone.
Many people care about keeping their homes clean and organized. Although this may seem a bit prissy there are so many reasons why it's good for mental and physical health to keep surroundings clean and organized. On top of it all, it makes the space look cool and almost as if someone could have it featured in a magazine. But parents can't be too concerned with this any longer. At least, they can't be for the first few months of a baby's time at home. This is because things are constantly going to get untidy. There's literally no time to keep up with the amount of clutter that a child causes. Whether it's food spills or unwashed clothing everywhere, there's a chance that your place is not going to look as good as it once did.
Everyone should wash their hands after the use of the facilities. This is a must. Seriously, anybody who does this is making a big social no-no. Not to mention, it's bad for their health and everybody else. So, people who were skipping the hand washing after the bathroom need to stop this behavior as soon as they have a baby since their immune system is still developing. But hand washing is important to increase after the vast majority of activities. Anytime your hands come into contact with the outside world, meaning doorknobs and keys, and even used dishes and clothing, hands need to be washed. This is because keeping a baby healthy is very important during those first few weeks and months.
It's super easy to wing a meal when you're pregnant. After all, there's a number of random cravings that women tend to have, even when they have to watch what they eat. But winging meals just isn't something that can be done too often once a baby comes home from the hospital. This is because there are only a few minutes during a day with a newborn that parents can actually sit down to eat. For the most part, they are eating on the go and that can be pretty difficult when they have to quickly decide what to eat. Especially if they don't want to constantly eat fast food. Therefore, meal preparation is very important. Planning healthy and tasty meals ahead of time makes the whole process.
Often pregnant women will really want their personal space as they can feel kind of uncomfortable due to a lot of changes happening in their bodies. But you don't need to be pregnant to want your personal space. It's just something that even the most hands-on loving couples require from each other during their relationship. But once a baby comes home, personal space goes out the window. This is because a baby needs that physical skin-to-skin contact as it releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin in them and also in their parents. This hormone helps the bond between parent and child that's so important for psychological reasons and for health reasons. This lack of personal space also makes it easier for women to breastfeed as it increases milk production.
Most parents get the furniture for their newborns ahead of time. This can include their child's bassinet, crib, and bouncy chairs. When they purchase them beforehand, they usually end up in one of two places. Either they are kept in storage until they're needed, or they're put in aesthetically pleasing locations. Before the baby comes home, a lot of parents have picked out their kid's bouncy chairs and placed them in a spot in their home that makes sense to the design, aesthetics, and flow of the room. However, this is something that will go out the window once the baby comes home. They will need the bouncy chair in practically every location so parents need to let their designer's eye go. A bouncy chair can be a lifesaver for when a mom needs to take a shower. It's a good, safe way to keep a baby occupied and within sight for when a mom or dad needs to take a shower, wash the dishes, do laundry, or even got to the bathroom. Therefore, it will wind up in some pretty unpretty locations and parents just need to learn to be cool with that.
Women tend to watch what they eat during pregnancy. But they are also constantly eating what their pregnancy craves. But once a baby comes home, they can no longer eat all the snacks in sight. This is because healthier snacks, as well as water, promote a good supply of milk which is important for breastfeeding. Additionally, a new mom is constantly going and on her feet so she needs to be eating foods that will promote that and not hinder it. Therefore, things with a lot of sugar are only going to cause a new mom to crash after a while. Although dads don't need to worry about their milk supply, they do need to keep their energy levels up and keep healthy. Besides, healthy foods help the body ward off bacteria that could be transferred to the baby.
Before a baby comes home, Netflix and Amazon binges can be the norm. After all, there's only so much a mom and dad can do during the final leg of pregnancy. But time with TV and movie streaming, as well as social media activity, is greatly lessened once a baby arrives. At least, it should be since a baby requires almost all of their parents' attention. Although Netflix can be helpful in some moments, catching up on your favorite series must take a backseat to the needs of a baby. Besides, it's unlikely that new parents will want to watch anything, as the few hours a day they get free are usually best used for things like eating and sleeping.
Some parents spend a lot of time purchasing expensive clothing, toys, accessories, and gadgets for their kids before they even bring them home from the hospital. This is part of them feeling prepared for what's to come. But the reality is, most of these things won't even be used. There are a few items that every parent should have beforehand, but it's things like burping blankets, diapers, and other things for cleanliness and health that will be used the most. Once a baby comes, parents will find that they've spent most of their hard-earned money on things they don't need. On top of it all, having too much stuff will conflict with the amount of space a baby requires. Instead, collect memories. Enjoy the moments. And, if you have to, capture them on your phone or on a good digital or film camera that doesn't take up too much space or cost endless dollars.
One thing that parents absolutely need to stop doing once a baby comes home from the hospital is refusing help from their trusted inner circle. Although it's important to limit a newborn's time with new people (due to health reasons), it's also important that moms and dads know that it really does "take a village." Kids require a lot of love and attention. But there are far more logistical things that get overlooked. This is why a grandparent, sibling, or best friend is definitely a good person to call upon. Additionally, these people may want to help. Let them. Accept these people and know that they will contribute to your life and your child's life in some way or another.
Any sort of distrust or friction between couples really does need to come to an end before the baby comes home from the hospital. A baby requires all of their parents' attention and that means they can't be battling amongst themselves. Besides, a divided household is going to have more negative effects on a child than not. It's almost better for a happy parent on their own to raise a child than two unhappy ones. Parents need to work as a team to make the complicated logistical hurdles that come with a newborn more bearable. Additionally, babies can pick up on energies, if you are frustrated and unhappy, chances are they will be, as well.
It's really important that new parents begin to trust their gut once a baby comes home from the hospital. Only they can truly know what to do when something goes wrong. Although it's really easy to fill one's brain with information from parenting books, magazines, blogs, and columns, not to mention all of the unsolicited advice that's given by family and friends. But a lot of the time, this information can cloud the judgment of a parent who really needs to think on their toes. Some advice would be to learn as much as possible beforehand so that the information is in your brain, but then to get rid of it once the baby comes. This will help keep your intuition informed but also free up space for new decision to be made at the moment they're needed.
More people keep their true emotions bottled up inside of them far more than we'd like to admit. This is because we all want to survive and thrive, and expressing true feelings can open the flood gates. They can leave us open for the sharks as well as cause us to confront things about ourselves that we may not want to. But once a baby comes, we need to be open about how we feel. Without a doubt, parents experience a storm of emotions once they take their kid home from the hospital for the first time. But they need to process these emotions, preferably with the help of a partner going through something similar, in order to truly be able to focus on their newborn baby and be in touch with this joyous event.
Sources: Q and D Tips, Todays Parent, Kids Health, Parents, PurelyUnrefined.com, TheBump.com, BubHub.com, MumsNet.com, Caring For Kids, The Pragmatic Parent, Medela, Mom Smart Not Hard, WebMD, Community. Today, Today, Fatherly