Bringing Home Baby: 10 Steps To Successful Nesting
Just a two years ago, my husband and I were new parents bringing home our little baby girl, and then 15 months later, we begin again with our second daughter. I did a lot of planning and preparing for my babies over the past few years, so I like to think of myself as a nesting expert.
The term “nesting” is commonly used by expected parents to describe the process by which a family sets the atmosphere at home for their new bundle of joy. No matter how much we prepare, one can never fully anticipate the impact another human being will have on our life, especially a child. But as my great aunt says, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” These are my planning tips for the day you’re bringing home baby also known as nesting.
Take Time Off
I think it’s the hardest thing to do, but the first and very important thing to do when approaching the delivery of your child is to solely focus on our needs as a pregnant woman, the needs of our expanding family and the needs of the baby. Yes, we need to work, but it is important to take time off to prioritize the real reason we work which is the stabilization of our own lives and those we share it with.
Accept the fact that you will need help. You will need to prepare in advance who, what, where, and how in terms of your support team during labor, delivery and post-partum.
Questions to ask yourself and discuss with your partner/family: How am I getting to and from the hospital? Who will be in the delivery room? Who is my designated care person should something happen to me? Who will be available to assist me in the home those first couple of weeks I will be recovering from labor and solely focused on bonding with my child?
Delivering a child is joyful and simultaneously spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. We must prioritize our own wellbeing by setting up the proper resources and assistance.
The Birth Plan
This is your birthing experience. Talk to your medical providers, know all your options, and you decide what’s best for you and your baby. Our bodies are more powerful than we are sometimes led to believe by well-meaning professionals. Women were made to deliver children. Be informed and take control of your experience. You only get one chance to deliver this child into the world. Let it be on terms that serve you and your baby above all others.
By now, I’m sure you have been sent hundreds of coupons, lists and samples for your induction into the multi-billion dollar infant care consumer product industry. Truth is, half of the things we buy or are gifted will never or barely be used. I recommend decluttering your home and our own energy first and then assessing what you need in terms of products and services. Minimally, our children need food, a dry diaper and a blanket. Everything else determines itself through the process of living. The most important preparation, to me, is the space we make in our hearts.
Pack Your Bag
Yes, you will be staying overnight in the hospital. Have you ever stayed the night out before? Yes, so you know what to pack. It’s not that complicated: Toiletries, comfortable PJ’s, a snack, some form of entertainment during early labor, your favorite feminine care products (pads, no tampons new moms), slippers, granny panties, and an outfit to come home in. The End. Don’t stress this.
Pack The Diaper Bag
Now, I am a little over the top about packing a diaper bag because I prefer my own brands of care items for our children vs. what the hospital provides. I pack: diapers, wipes, onesies, two sleepers, wash cloths, soap, hats, a picture outfit, an outfit to come home in, two swaddlers, and a blanket. Whew. I highly recommend that you take the hospital’s nasal aspirator. They are the best. The ones currently sold in stores do not get the job done.
The Car Seat
Explore life with an infant carseat before you actually have to use it. Many first-time parent meltdowns come from the frustration of dealing with the proper usage of this contraption. No matter what brand you get, you will not know how to use it the first or second time. Practice practice practice, or be prepared to breakdown when you’re trying to leave the hospital and are delayed because you can’t figure it out. Get help from someone at the store with installation ahead of time.
Identify and Talk With Your Pediatrician
Newborn babies are very different beings than the rest of us. They make all kinds of unfamiliar faces, sounds, movements, all of which will scare you into a panic attack if you are not forewarned. The hospital will wait until the hour of your discharge to give you a long, scary list of what could possibly go wrong with your baby and how you should respond. You will not absorb any of this. Get comfortable with your chosen pediatrician before hand and let them give you their 101 course in caring for a newborn.
There will be no time to cook, and quite frankly you will be too exhausted to attempt such a task. Now is the time to prep your freezer with Ziplock bags full of fresh, portioned, and seasoned delights that can be easily tossed into the oven or the microwave. You may not have the time or energy to cook, but you will be starved. Prepare now.
Take deep breathes, maybe even a quick baby-moon. These are your last days pregnant and life will never be the same again. It is time to smell the roses and remember this precious time when you and your child were one.
Congratulations Mom, Dad, Family!