There's nothing more exciting than bringing your newborn home from the hospital. After 40 (give or take) long weeks of pregnancy, your baby is finally a part of your world and it's easy to want to do all the things you've waited so long to do with them. Yet, there are things you really can't do with a newborn in the first week, and many of them are sort of surprising. Since life with a newborn is already nerve-wracking, especially if it's your first, we've put together a list of 7 things you'll want to avoid during the early days with your precious new addition.
When I brought home my second daughter I was expecting to feel like a pro. I had already experienced life with a newborn once before and I picked up some pretty solid swaddling skills along the way. But, the second time around was way different — not only did I have a serious cold when I brought baby #2 home, but my older daughter did, too, and was on a nebulizer treatment for it. Our house was ground zero for germs and I wanted to sterilize everything. But I learned that cleaning with many common household products isn't a good idea when you have a newborn around. "Before you start scrubbing every surface in sight, consider that obsessive cleaning with caustic household cleaners has its own drawbacks. Harsh household cleaners can affect a baby's eyes, airways, skin, and more," WebMD explained.
While that is one specific thing not to do with a newborn, there are plenty of other activities you might not have thought not to do. Here are 7 of them.
Give the baby a bath
One of the things you plan for when pregnant is baby's first bath. You get the baby tub, the soft hooded towel, and the most gentle baby soap.
But, in reality, you need to wait to give your baby his or her first tub bath until their umbilical cord falls off, according to Baby Center, and even then, you don't really even need soap. Plain water is just fine.
Do the "meet and greet"
When you have a newborn baby, it's only natural to want to show him or her off to everyone you know. But having family over, or going out to a restaurant to meet friends, is one way to introduce your baby to germs.
"It does scare me a bit when I see newborns out and about, especially during cold and flu season," said Dr. Tanya Altmann in an interview with CNN. "The first two months of your baby's life, you really need to protect them from exposure to germs and people that are potentially sick. Your baby's immune system is weak, and still growing and developing."
I was worried that telling my friends not to come over right away would seem rude, but I was surprised at how quickly everyone seemed to get it. No one wants to be responsible for getting your baby sick!
'Baby and me' workouts
Yes, you're going to want to get your pre-baby body back in a big way, but don't rush into doing "baby and me" workouts that first week home. Your body is still recovering from the epic workout that is childbirth.
"As a general rule, I recommend that women do not return to postnatal or mommy and me yoga until their bleeding has stopped. If a woman gave birth via cesarean section, she needs to wait 6 weeks before rejoining class. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning, then you can actually be setting yourself back from real recovery," explained Debra Flashenberg for FitPregnancy.
They'll be plenty of time to do yoga with your little warrior once your body has healed.
Hit the nail or hair salon
When you're sleep-deprived and haven't showered for days during that first week home with your baby, it's easy to want to do something that will make you feel more human again. However, scheduling a hair or nail appointment, and bringing baby along with, is not a good idea, even if you think they'll sleep through it.
"[H]air and nail salons typically have all sorts of potentially dangerous chemicals. Even if you’re not going to be exposed to those fumes yourself, you can hardly stop the people around you from getting their hair dyed, for instance. You don’t want your newborn to have to inhale all those dizzying fumes," explained BabyGaga.
Plus, trying to change a diaper with wet nails would not be fun.
Go to the movie theater
If you and your partner are desperate to get out of the house during those early days home with your newborn, you might think that sneaking in a movie while your baby sleeps is a pretty safe bet. But, the booming audio could be detrimental to your baby's hearing.
"According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for infants, a noise level that exceeds 45 decibels is of concern, and some movies, such as action movies, can have a sustained level of 90 decibels," reported VeryWell Family.
Even if you think you're choosing a movie that will be on the quiet side, your baby is likely to rouse at some point and a crying baby in a movie theater is not met with kindness. To avoid the death stares, you may end up spending most of the movie out in the lobby soothing your baby.
Go out in the extreme heat
For those who give birth during the summer months, be mindful of the temperature outside before you decide to take your little one on his or her first walk.
"It is not OK to take a newborn or any infant outside when it's very hot — over 80 degrees or so," explained Dr. Jan Montague, director of pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY, in an interview with FitPregnancy. "Babies cannot sweat, which is your body's way of cooling itself off, so they can often suffer heat stroke much quicker than an older child or adult,"
It's also important to note that a baby under 6 months of age is not supposed to wear sunscreen, Mayo Clinic explained, so you'll want to avoid exposing your newborn to the sun's direct rays anyway.
Go out in the extreme cold
Conversely, if you give birth during the winter months, you need to be mindful of frigid temps since newborns are more susceptible to the cold.
"Newborn infants are prone to hypothermia because of their large body surface area, small amount of subcutaneous fat, and decreased ability to shiver," explained American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
While the AAP doesn't provide a temperature cut-off, my pediatrician said that if it was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it was best to stay inside.