Child Care - Bringing the baby home

Once the child is born, the mother will spend a couple days to a couple weeks in the hospital, depending on her condition after delivery. Caesarian deliveries can keep a woman in the hospital for several days to assist in recovery from the surgery.

Preparation for the baby should be made before delivery, if at all possible. This includes preparing the baby's sleeping area, buying clothes, diapers, and other essentials for the baby. Some parents worry about how they would handle coming home to a nursery if the baby did not survive or was required to remain at the hospital for some time.

Many parents find that, if they did lose the child, disassembling the nursery helped in the mourning process. It may be more difficult for parents to come home to a house where there are no signs of the infant, than to return to a nursery where they have to confront their loss.

In most circumstances, though, the parents return home from the birthing process with baby in hand. It is more than likely that the new mother will be tired from the hard work of delivery. The father will also have been functioning with little sleep if he assisted in delivery and is helping with the feeding and care of the newborn. So having the nursery set up with essentials is one way of assuring that the new family is not adding to the increased demand in their time with this new member.

Essentials in the nursery should include: diapers (cloth, disposable, or both) t-shirts in more than one size, a washtub, a car seat, a crib with a mattress that fits snugly against the sides, blankets, a bunting suit and clothing appropriate to the season, soft terry towels and washcloths, flame resistant pajamas, and a chair for the parent to sit in during feedings. Other items to consider are: a baby monitor that lets you hear the baby when you are in another room, a nightlight, a little music box or recorder that plays lullabies, bottles for feeding, a bottle warmer, pacifiers, clips to hold the pacifier to the baby's clothes, a mobile that hangs over the crib, a stroller, a baby carrier (sling or backpack), a diaper bag, baby oil, powder, shampoo, hypoallergenic soap, and other assorted toiletries. Some of these you may receive as gifts; others you will no doubt want to supply yourselves.

It is important when purchasing items such as carriers, cribs, car seats, and other equipment where safety plays a major role, that you consult with consumer guides, professional recommendations, and that you contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD, (800) 638-2772 to find out if any complaints are registered on the products you are considering. It is worth your baby's safety to take the time to research the things that your baby will spend so much time using. You cannot determine quality by price and, remember, the manufacturer isn't going to put warnings about defects on products they sell.

When buying clothes for the baby, keep in mind that many babies are born bigger than the newborn size of clothing. There is no guarantee for your baby's size, so you should be equipped with several sizes of clothing in case you come home with a big baby. You don't want a nine pound baby and a roomful of six-pound size t-shirts.

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