You’ve done it. HOORAY! You’re a parent. Mum has been a colossus, you a tower of strength by her side, and you now have your brand-new baby, the little heir to your throne, to care for and love. Many congratulations!
First things first, take a little well-earned breather and savour the moment. It’s one of life’s greatest! ...You’ve finished savouring? Great. Next we’d better move on to getting your little baby home, hadn’t we!
Bringing a newborn home for the first time can be a daunting thought. Not only do you have to drive with something so precious and fragile in your car, but you also need to set up your home to be a baby friendly oasis! To help take some of the worry off your over-burdened shoulders we’ve prepared a handy guide to help guide you through the whole process.
1. Bringing home baby outfits
The chances are that this is all taken care of in mum’s hospital bag, but double checking that your baby has suitable attire to venture outdoors for the first time is no bad thing. Of course the seasons and weather will play a part in outfit choice, but the general rule of thumb is to dress your baby as you would dress yourself. For example, if it’s a bit chilly outside, dress them in a warm baby grow, hat and an outdoor bodysuit if needed. A blanket is also recommended in case it’s colder than anticipated, plus it can be comforting. If it’s warm outside, maybe the hat and outdoor gear aren’t really needed. You just need to use your common sense.
2. Car seat
Unless you have a proper child safety seat, you won’t be allowed to drive home with your baby. With regards to choosing a seat, it’s well worth doing a bit of research in this area beforehand to ensure that you can find one suitable for your needs. It’s also worth noting that the car seat will need to be rear facing for the first 15 months. You can find more information on the rules and regulations at www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules
TOP TIP - Some car seats come with compatible bases that are fixed to attachment points (ISOFIX) in your car. You simply fix the base to these points and then the seat clips on to it. If you can get a seat with a base it’ll make life easier, as pressing a button and clipping the seat out is a lot quicker than constantly fiddling around with seatbelts.
3. Drive carefully
Driving with something as delicate as a baby for the first time can be a nerve-racking, especially if your baby decides to add to your tensions and scream throughout. Many parents will overcompensate and drive home as though they’re driving Miss Daisy, but as long as you drive carefully, you’ll be fine.
4. Prepare the house
You’ll need to have prepared a baby bed for your little cherub as the chances are that they’ll fancy a little nap shortly after arriving home (there’ll be a fair few of those in the early days). For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they're asleep, both day and night. It’s also a good idea to have your basecamp stocked up with all of the essentials for the first week or so. Things like nappies, changing mat, blankets, baby clothes, as well as the daily essentials that yourself and mum will need to get you through the day. Read more about preparing your house for your baby.
5. Bringing your baby home to a dog
If you have a dog, when you arrive home with your newborn baby, first greet your dog alone so that it doesn’t get too excited and jump all over your baby. Your dog will need a bit of time to adjust to its new housemate so before you allow them to get too close, let your dog get used to your baby’s smell, sight and sounds, as well as seeing how you act around the baby. After a few days the dog should be ready to sniff the baby in your guarded presence. You can increase exposure gradually, but obviously all under your watchful eye and protection until you are confident that your canine pal is no threat to your baby. You can find more useful information for introducing your newborn to your dog at www.bluecross.org.uk.
6. Bringing your baby home to a cat
When your baby first meets your furry feline friend, make sure that it’s in a room that the cat doesn’t feel too territorial about and doesn’t usually eat or sleep in. Hold you baby protectively and allow puss to sniff them and become familiar with them. Hopefully your cat should be calm, relaxed and gentle. Make sure you give them due praise for their good behaviour around your newborn and treats might help in this respect. It’s important to remember to never leave your baby alone, unsupervised with your cat, no matter how comfortable they seem to be with each other. You can find more useful information for introducing your newborn to your cat at www.bluecross.org.uk.
7. If you have a goldfish
You should be fine. :-)
8. Lastly, don’t worry if you feel clueless
It’s perfectly normal and most of us felt exactly the same. You’ll soon get the hang of things.
Father of 2
Living in Budapest with his wife and two children, Gareth is a freelance writer, creative strategist, film maker and author of the ‘The Budanest’, a book about his experience of fatherhood. He gives us insight into parenthood from a partner's perspective: all views and opinions given are his own, taken from his personal experiences.