Few things are more exciting than bringing your new baby home from the hospital. Before walking through your front door with your new addition, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Protect your baby: All household members should be up to date with their Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) vaccination. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, still causes a lot of sickness – and sometimes, death. Worse, pertussis is often transmitted to the baby by people who love them the most, including parents and grandparents without immunity to pertussis. Make sure that everyone who will be around your baby has had a recent Tdap vaccine. Moms who give birth at Mount Nittany Medical Center will be offered a Tdap during their hospital stay.
- Plan to immunize: Not only do you need to be immunized, but so does your baby. Immunizations are the best way to protect your baby from illness. They are safe, effective and important. It’s crucial to work with your physician to vaccinate your child completely and on time.
- Car seat: It is not fun to install an infant car seat when you’re under a time crunch. Have your car seat installed and ready for your baby’s arrival as early as possible. Also, practice latching the car seat, before you have to do it with a crying newborn in it. Ask friends with car seat experience to help if you get stuck or frustrated.
- Schedule your baby’s first doctor’s appointment: After your baby is born, call your pediatrician to schedule your baby’s first office visit. At Mount Nittany Physician Group’s pediatrics department, we like to see babies a day or two after leaving the hospital to weigh them and to check in with new parents. If all is going well, the next time we will see your baby is when they turn two weeks old.
- Feed me: Research suggests that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. Expect that your nursing relationship with your baby may take time and patience. Don’t give up! Having a supportive partner and other family members, especially other women who have nursed, is important. At Mount Nittany Physician Group, we have lactation consultants who are available to you for guidance.
- The Twilight Zone: The first few days at home will be some of the happiest and hardest in your life. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. Let housework go and either have food delivered or have someone else cook. If you have family nearby, let them watch the baby at times so you can rest.
- The only thing constant is change: For the first two weeks, your baby spends most of the time eating, sleeping and pooping. As your baby gets older, your newborn will be more alert and may cry more. Most times, it is normal for babies to cry. Between the ages of 6-8 weeks, babies may enter a fussy period. Knowing that this is normal can help decrease some of your stress. If you cannot calm your baby down, if he or she has a rectal temperature of over 100.4 degrees, or your infant is not eating, call your healthcare provider at once.
Finally, enjoy this time! Your baby will only be a newborn once, so take lots of pictures and smell the top of their head as they snuggle into you. For better or worse, the newborn stage passes quickly.
Most of us at Mount Nittany Physician Group’s pediatrics department have experienced being a new parent, and all of us have shared this joyous time with other families. Remember that we are only a phone call away and want your experience as a new parent to be as happy and as stress-free as possible.
For more information on Mount Nittany Physician Group’s pediatrics department, visit mountnittany.org.