With over 250 babies born every minute in the United States, there are countless families preparing for bringing their new addition home from the hospital. From baby-proofing the house to creating a safe and healthy sleep space, expecting parents have a laundry list of things to consider. If you’ve recently discovered you’re pregnant or are planning to start a family, this article will help you prepare. Keep reading to discover tips and tricks for creating the safest and healthiest environment for your beautiful bundle of joy!
1. Create a Safe Sleeping Environment
Deciding on the best sleeping arrangements for your little one is often a hard decision for parents to make. Some want to keep their baby close for the first few months. This might mean bringing a bassinet into the bedroom. This is best for breastfeeding mothers who are feeding their newborns every 2 hours. Keep the bassinet close to the bedside for minimal disturbances in both yours and the baby’s sleep. One golden rule is to never allow your infant to sleep in bed with you. While some parents believe this is the most comforting option for the baby, it’s also an extremely dangerous one. More than 130 babies die each year from sleeping in bed with their parents. It’s all too common for a parent to sleepily change position, rolling onto their infant, ultimately smothering them. Keep your baby close, but try to create a separate sleeping space.
Other parents opt for placing their newborn in their own crib from day one. While this is ultimately a personal choice, there are a few things to consider if you’re moving your little one right from the hospital bed to their own. The days of adorable cloth bumpers are gone. These barriers inside the crib don’t allow for proper airflow. Opt for mesh bumpers that give your baby adequate protection and oxygen. Never place anything in the crib with your little one! This includes stuffed animals, blankets, or cushions or pillows. Anything you place inside the crib can act as a potential suffocation hazard.
SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) claims the lives of thousands of innocent babies every year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of infant death in the country. The scariest part is, there’s no known cause or explanation for SIDS. Perfectly healthy babies die of unknown reasons in their sleep. As parents, you can be proactive about creating a safe sleeping environment for your little one.
2. Offer Clean Air
The air your child breathes is as important as what they eat. After all, their lungs are pure and still developing. They need clean, fresh air, free of any pollutants or allergens. The first step in creating a safe environment for your infant is eliminating the risk of second-hand smoke. If you’re currently a smoker, you have a few options. The first, most ideal option, is for you to quit completely. If this isn’t possible, you need to limit (if not eliminate all) contact with your child after you’ve smoked a cigarette. Most smokers can’t smell the scent of their own cigarette smoke on their hands and clothing, even when it’s overwhelming to others. Holding, touching, or getting close to your newborn after smoking a cigarette exposes them to second-hand smoke and a long list of respiratory issues. Avoid using strong cleaning materials, hairsprays, perfumes, or any other chemicals near or around your little one. Their nasal passages and lungs are extremely sensitive to outside irritants. If you’re looking for an even better way to offer your family pure air, check out this list of the best air purifiers. This is one of the best ways to eliminate contaminants from the air. Other things to keep in mind include dusting regularly, allowing fresh air in from outside, or adding plants to your home for a boost in natural oxygen levels.
3. Ask for Help (But Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”)
To say having a baby is overwhelming is an understatement. Especially if it’s your first. Chances are, you’ll have plenty of friends and family around offering to lend a helping hand. And while you may feel guilty accepting their help, don’t! Not only are you adjusting to a new life with a newborn, but your body is healing as well. Depending on the type of birth you had, you might be recovering from major surgery.
One in three babies born in the U.S. is delivered through cesarean section. This surgery involves cutting into the mother’s stomach and intestines to remove the baby and is often done when the health of the unborn child or mother (or both) is at risk. But the recovery time for this type of surgery is much longer than a traditional, vaginal birth. Most mothers recover in six to eight weeks from a C-section. While your body is healing, you need to rest. You need to sleep, move slowly, and avoid lifting any heavy objects until your doctor clears you. This is where family and friends come in handy. If they offer to watch your little one so you can nap, cook you dinner, or run errands for you, take them up on it. They’re doing it out of love and concern for you and your new baby. Not to mention, everyone loves snuggling a newborn! Just be sure they aren’t sick and they wash their hands to avoid spreading germs or getting your baby sick. The calmer and more relaxed you are, the better your mental state of mind will be.
On the flipside, don’t be afraid to tell overbearing guests that they’re overstepping their bounds. Sometimes, a quiet evening or afternoon at home is exactly what you and your little one need. Too much commotion, noise, and confusion can be over stimulating for your infant. If you feel they’re getting overwhelmed (or you are), be firm but polite with guests and simply tell them that you and your child need a break. Ask them to reschedule a visit if they planned on coming and you’re not feeling up to company. Don’t let feelings of guilt stop you from putting your infant’s well-being first.
Having a baby is a magical experience, but it’s not without trials and tribulations. By following these tips, you can check a few things off your “to do” list and create a safe, happy environment for the whole family.
Article Submitted By Community Writer