Having spent the last 9 months anticipating the arrival of your little one, you might be surprised to find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the thought of bringing your baby home. This is completely normal as the realities of taking care of a tiny human being hit home and practical considerations suddenly take away from dreamy fancies. To make this transition as smooth as possible, we’ve put together our top tips for preparing and handling the stress of the first few days:

Getting the Basics Together

As you twiddle your thumbs waiting for your due date to arrive, you should be making sure that you have got together the essentials for bringing baby home. This will include new born nappies, sufficient toiletries (such as baby wipes and shampoo), and clothes suitable for the weather. If you are planning to breastfeed, you will not need to worry about purchasing formula immediately; otherwise, it would be wise to buy a small tub of formula and a set of bottles to keep you going for the first few days.

Preparing your home

Many parents start preparing a nursery and cleaning the home months in advance of baby arriving. In the run up to your due date, you might want to enlist some help to ensure that that the house is clutter-free and organised.

If you have the energy or some additional help, it would be wise to pre-prepare some meals to be frozen for the days leading up to your due date. Even if you find that you have the time to prepare fresh meals once baby is here, these frozen meals can be a helpful contingency plan for those difficult days when energy levels are particularly low.

Asking for help

Sleep deprivation is one the biggest concerns for new parents. And of course, if you are operating on limited sleep, your ability to cope with a crying baby will be limited. Many people will tell you that the golden rule is to ‘sleep when baby is sleeping’. Whilst this might work for some of us, for others it might be impossible if you have a baby that hardly sleeps or you have to use the time that baby is sleeping to catch up on essential chores.

This is when being vocal and asking for help is essential even if it is just asking your friend to watch baby for an hour while you catch a nap. You might be surprised to find that many of your friends and family are thrilled to find that you have come to them for help.

Managing the first few days

Once you little one is at home, chances are that much of what you learnt in ante-natal classes and baby books is discarded from your mind as your little one throws you many unexpected curveballs. Here are our nuggets of advice for dealing with these first few days:

  • Feel free to listen to advice but take it with a pinch of salt – all children are different and therefore it is futile to compare how your child sleeps or eats with other babies. So long as your midwife or paediatrician is happy with how baby is progressing, chances are that you have nothing to worry about. On that note, be wary of advice posted on websites and online forums as much of it is unlikely to come from unqualified sources. 
  • Trial and error is sometimes the best approach – it is impossible for new parents to immediately understand and attend to every need of their new baby. Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you just can’t figure out what your baby needs, it helps to think calmly and trial and error different approaches to figure out what your baby needs. 
  • Focus on the bigger picture – very soon after falling pregnant, you might have found yourself being questioned on your choices (breastfeeding vs formula fed or natural birth vs C-section). This often leads to competitive and judgemental tendencies amongst first-time parents. Regardless of the choices you make, the most important thing is that your child is happy and healthy – focus on the bigger picture and don’t judge others for the choices they make
  • Enjoy your long-awaited bundle of joy - these moments are irreplaceable!