Someone (for the life of me, I cannot remember who it was…) once said “Parenting is the hardest but most rewarding job there is.”
My wife and I are expecting our first child in the next couple of weeks. Even though I am an internal medicine-pediatrics physician by training, I’m sure I will be as challenged by our new arrival as any parent would be. I hope all of the current and future parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends will benefit from these tips on preparing for a new baby.
- If this is your first child, I would investigate whether your delivering hospital offers a tour of the labor and delivery facilities. This will offer useful information on what to expect when you come in for the baby’s birth. Even mundane things like “Where’s the cafeteria?” and “Where do I park?” are helpful to know because those questions will be two less things to figure out when you have other more important things going on!
- When the third trimester starts, it would be a good idea to start getting together a suitcase with all of the supplies you will need for the hospital. It is rare to deliver on your actual due date, so being prepared early is always advisable. Among things to consider packing are toiletries, clothes for mom (and for the person staying with her in the hospital, if allowed by the hospital), snack items, a camera, any registration paperwork, and at least two outfits and blankets for the baby.
- After having gone through a delivery, moms will often be exhausted and wanting to bond with baby. I might suggest getting a text or email list together of everyone you want to inform of the baby’s arrival before the due date and enlist someone (dad, grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends) to send out the happy news to your contact list.
- If you’ve received mailers from baby stores, you know that there is no shortage of items one can buy to help care for our little ones. However, perhaps the most important item is a proper rear-facing car seat because the hospital will not let you go home without one!
- If your baby is coming home to meet any brothers and/or sisters, they can feel jealous or threatened at times. It is a good idea to get brothers/sisters involved in some capacity. If your hospital allows children to visit, having the siblings come in to meet their little brother or sister can help with the eventual transition home. Additionally, giving a small present from “the baby” to his/her siblings can help them feel like a part of things.
- From a pediatrician’s perspective, it is always helpful to have as much information about the baby’s health and the circumstances surrounding the delivery. After leaving the hospital, it is usually advisable to get an appointment with your baby’s pediatrician anywhere from two days to two weeks afterwards. It reallyhelps us to have the discharge paperwork at the time of the first appointment, which the hospital should provide you with when you leave.
- It is important to remember that when dealing with your pediatrician, no question should be considered silly or off limits. We’d rather be asked an easy question and be able to put your mind at ease than have you worrying about your baby. Keep a notebook and pen near your diaper bag so that, whether home or out, if you think of a question, you can write it down to ask your pediatrician.
Best wishes to all the current and expectant parents we have at Nova Medical Group!