After nine months of pregnancy, labor and hospitalization, you are now finally able to go home with your precious newborn baby.
Being pregnant is a life changing experience, and once you have given birth, you are stepping on the path to motherhood, which is filled with obstacles worthy of a triathlon. Motherhood is no easy feat; there are no guidebooks that can possibly describe what to do in every instance. Why is my baby crying, do they have an ear infection and how many times do I feed my baby?
Rebecca Wongwiboonchai, an author and life coach, offers some real-life advice on how to prepare for the first days of motherhood in her book, Pregnancy and Parenting in a Foreign Land.
1. Prior to leaving the hospital your newborn will be given a few vaccinations, BCG (against tuberculosis) and the first dose of a Hepatitis B vaccine. Speak to your physician to make sure your child is receiving the proper vaccinations and what will be the vaccination schedule for the upcoming months. Also inquire about common allergic reaction signs.
2. Some newborns have a condition called jaundice, a common condition that refers to the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, which is caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. If your newborn has jaundice, it’s important to keep the baby hydrated and give them a daily dose of sunshine (or your doctor might suggest phototherapy). Usually mild cases of jaundice clear up within one or two weeks, however it’s important to have your baby checked regularly by a doctor.
3. Breast-feeding is an option mothers can choose to do, but keep in mind that you should speak to a healthcare professional prior to breastfeeding your baby. You can practice breastfeeding before giving birth, there are classes offered on various techniques and guidelines that will make it a comfortable experience for both you and your baby. Make sure you have nursing bras, covers, pillows, a hand pump and other materials ready. Be aware that you cannot breastfeed if you are taking medication and/or consuming alcohol. Everything you are eating is transferred into your breast milk, so make sure you are providing your child with plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
4. Have all of your supplies, diapers, breast pump and other materials organized and in easy to reach areas. Remember, if you are changing your baby, you should never turn your back away from your child. By placing supplies in a safe and easy (for an adult to access) place, you ensure that the process of changing a diaper is quick and easy.
By Amanda Moses
Photo courtesy of _e.t. via flickr