Transition Baby to Home

March 21, 2018

Make Baby’s Big Homecoming Smooth with These Seven Tips

Baby’s arrival home is a big moment, but it can also be fraught with stress as households and routines get turned upside down. Try these seven tips to smooth the transition for the entire family.

1. Resist the urge to rush out of the hospital. You'll be more relaxed, and so will the baby, if you take your time.

  • Feed and burp baby.
  • Check that his/her diaper is dry.
  • Dress baby in a comfortable outfit.

Pro tip: Take the photo with the cute outfit and darling hat or bow, but if baby is fussy, have something comfortable to change into for the car ride. Be careful not to overheat baby with too many clothes. 

2. Troubleshoot the car seat before the big day.

  • To master the mechanisms, try it out with a doll or stuffed animal.
  • Practice getting the car seat into and out of the car a few times.
  • Remember a head support, blanket, and pacifier.

Pro tip: If you pull over to comfort your crying newborn en route, realize baby might start crying once you start moving again. Ride it out with plenty of comforting words. Remind yourself the trip will be over soon. 

3. Create a calming atmosphere at home. Overstimulation can cause babies to cry more through the evening. 

  • Keep lighting and noises low.
  • Limit the number of visitors.
  • Have a meal ready in the freezer or order out for that first night home.

Pro tip: Create a mobile changing station with everything you need. Keep it near the couch or rocking chair -- wherever you spend the most time.

4. Get siblings in on the act.

  • Give big brother or sister jobs, like bringing diapers or picking out clothing changes.
  • Be ready for little acts jealously and regression - such as wanting a bottle, too -- so you can react calmly.
  • If possible, keep many of your older child's familiar routines in place.

Pro tip: To reduce jealously, make a point to "meet" baby together. In the hospital, have a nurse bring baby in and greet the littlest sibling together, rather than holding baby when siblings meet for the first time.

5. Prepare your pets.

  • Have your partner bring a baby blanket from the hospital to acquaint your pet to baby's scent.
  • Prepare kennels, gates, treats and other tools to help introduce pets to baby gradually.
  • If Fido's behavior around little ones has caused concern in the past - and especially if Pooch or Fluffy have been overtly aggressive -- see a behavior specialist long before baby arrives.

Pro tip: Set up baby furniture in advance and buy a CD of baby cries and coos to get pets used to the noises they'll hear and the spaces baby will inhabit.

6. Have a plan for visitors.

  • Limit number of guests and consider creating a schedule for friend/family visits.
  • Ask anyone who's sick to wait until they are better.
  • Have hand sanitizer or the bathroom stocked so visitors can wash their hands.
  • Give visitors specific tasks (holding baby during your shower, doing laundry, etc.).

Pro tip: People rush to help when you first arrive home, but you'll still appreciate a break after week six. Keep asking for help, even if you're past the newborn phase.

7. Give yourself a break.

  • Forget about how things "should" be and take it one day -- or one hour -- at a time.
  • Chores can wait, so can personal hygiene - you will catch up eventually.
  • Ask for help when you need it, especially if you are feeling sad or depressed.

Pro tip: Don't forget to take pictures with you in them. You might not feel or look your best, but in 20 years both you and your child will want to remember your presence at this precious time.