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Getting ready for baby

Very soon, your baby will be at home with you. This may be a big life change for you whether this is your 1st or 5th child.

You may have previous experience with babies in your workplace or minding friends’ or relatives’ children. Or you may have never held a baby or have very little experience with babies. It is important that you and your family begin to prepare yourselves by having practical things in place that will help you to adapt as smoothly as possible to parenting. As well as packing your bags for you and your baby, if you are not having a home birth, there are many other ways to prepare for the arrival of your baby.

Plan for your own wellbeing

Before you were pregnant, you may have slept undisturbed for 6-8 hours. Now that your baby is home, you may be experience a lot of ‘broken sleeping patterns’. This will continue for some time as your baby does not know when it is day or night and frequent waking to feed is a completely normal infant behaviour. It is important that you rest and sleep during the day as well as at night, so that you are rested to care for your baby. A good rule for the first six weeks is to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’.

For your own wellbeing, take offers of help and ask for help if you need it. For some, this may be a difficult task in itself as you may be used to being in control. But it is important to involve others in helping you. Support from your partner, family, friends and neighbours can be beneficial. Ask them to batch cook food for you, that you can then freeze. It would be a good idea for you to start cooking and freezing some dinners too. Where possible, delegate tasks like grocery shopping, washing clothes, drying clothes and cleaning. Now is the time to plan and prepare for those first few weeks and beyond.

Child-proofing your home

Think about any changes needed in your home to make it a safe place for your baby. Here are some things to consider:

  • Buying electric socket covers
  • Tidying up loose electrical cables
  • Using a safety device to tidy up blind strings or keeping them knotted high up
  • Buying stair gates
  • Covering sharp edges on tables and chairs
  • Adding anti-slip rug underlays
  • Putting up fire guards over fireplaces
  • Putting locks and latches on cupboards.

These are just some of the things that you may start doing now in preparation for when your baby is on the move. Once your baby starts crawling and walking, there may be many other safe proofing options that will need to be in place in your home.

Animals

There are many animals in homes around the world and for many of us, they are an important part of family life. It is a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before bringing your baby home, as you might need to take certain precautions. It might be an idea to bring your pet to the vet for vaccinations, to rule out any parasitic illnesses or other spreadable infections.

Bringing your baby home is a big event for every member of family, including your pets. Before your baby comes home, it is a good idea to familiarise your pet with the idea of a new baby in the house. Before the baby arrives, you can:

  • Place a doll in a cot
  • Hold the doll
  • Show your pet the pram/stroller and let them walk beside it

Once your baby is home, there are more things you can do to get your pet used to them:

  • Let your pet smell your baby’s clothes (clothes that your baby has worn)
  • Your baby should be in the room before your pet enters
  • Never leave your pet alone with your baby
  • Always supervise your pet when around your baby
  • Give your pet treats for good behaviour

What changes do you think your baby will bring to your day-to-day life?

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This article is from the free online course:

Journey to birth

Trinity College Dublin