Bringing your baby home from the hospital or the birthing center is the inevitable third step (after, you know, getting pregnant and giving birth, or going through the adoption/surrogacy process) in becoming a parent, and it's unavoidable and often a little scary. There are things to know about taking your new baby home that every new mom wishes she had known the first time around. Yes, there are the basics, like what to dress your baby in and how many soiled diapers you should expect and, chances are, you're actually prepared for those steps.
No, I'm talking about the unsaid stuff that the collective "we" has inexplicably just assumed new parents know but, like, we don't, OK? We just don't. I'm talking about the overwhelming feels and the all-consuming fear and the times when you wonder how you ended up with the job of raising this beautiful, screaming creature, because you're clearly not qualified. (You totally are, though. I promise. That feeling of inadequacy will eventually pass. Eventually.)
I still remember the first night home with my daughter. To say that I was terrified is truly an understatement. I had walked in the door around noon, utterly exhausted, and my parents and in-laws suggested that I go to bed and rest since my daughter was sleeping peacefully at that point. I absolutely couldn't bear to leave my daughter, so I stayed awake and just watched her, all day long. Then, the night came and she was up screaming pretty much the whole time. I couldn't get her to latch and my partner and I couldn't get her to settle down. I was upset, in pain, completely exhausted and afraid I was starving my baby. It was a blast, let me tell you.
We got through it, but I was a mess and so was my partner. I felt like an utter failure for the better part of the first week of being a new parent, and that's not entirely unusual. In fact, I'd argue that's par for the new parent course, my friends. If I had known these 10 things every new mom wishes she knew about taking her baby home, perhaps I would have given myself a bit of a, much-deserved, break.
Wait, what? Sorry, but it's true. When you're in the thick of pregnancy, you can't help but imagine that giving birth is the absolute hardest part of the entire ordeal, but I've got news for you: that's actually the easiest part about having a baby. The hard part is raising them for the next 18 years.
You are going to be questioning whether the car seat is installed correctly, whether you've properly buckled the baby in, whether you're going to get in a car accident, and why everyone is driving so goddamn fast.
Here's a secret: becoming a parent doesn't suddenly fill you with all the knowledge you're going to need to be a good parent. You're going to muddle through moments, not knowing if what you've done is the right thing or not, and that's totally normal.
It's really easy to assume that more experienced moms have all the answers, but that isn't always the case. Other moms can be a great resource, for sure, but only you know your baby and what they need. Thank your friends for their advice, and do your own thing.
There are varying degrees of this obsession, but every mom will admit that she's done it. Here's a tip, because you will do it as well: hand on the chest is the most effective way because, sometimes, in the dark, you really can't see their chests move at all and you will freak yourself right out and you just don't got the time for that.
Timing is everything, and if you weren't induced, then you weren't prepared to go into labor. Murphy's Law means that you probably hadn't washed your hair in 3 days when you went into labor, so by the time you're on your way home, your hair is a greasy, disgusting mess and you pretty much hate the world.
Remember how comfortable car seats used to be? After giving birth, they are, well, not.
The first night you are without any medical professionals to help you through scary baby moments is absolutely terrible. You're going to experience a night (whether it's the first or the fifteenth) when your baby cries and won't stop, and you will have no idea why. You'll yearn for a medical professional to just randomly and magically show up so they can tell you what you think you're forgetting to do (you're not forgetting anything because, well, babies cry sometimes). Honestly, it's likely that your poor kid has finally realized they're no longer inside you, and is freaking out a little bit. Who can blame them, really? If you lived in the same room for nine months straight, with no change in scenery, and then suddenly everything changed, wouldn't you be freaked out too?
You will curse yourself for wasting precious moments awake when you could be getting rest, but your baby is so perfect and exquisite and you just won't want to miss a single moment. So, you will watch those perfect lips, and that adorable nose, and those gorgeous lashes and you'll miss out on sleep.
Your hormones will be completely insane for a little while. You will probably cry from lack of sleep, from loving your baby so hard you might explode, and from wanting to pee but being afraid to. It's all normal.