Newborn Preparedness - 5 Essentials for Returning Home with a New Baby

You've registered for all the cutest clothes, your stroller has taken a test drive, the car seat has been fit snugly in place and you have ice pack pads for your big girl panties in the freezer! What else could you possibly need? 

Here are the 5 essential items I think you need the moment you walk in the door with your newborn: 

1. Baby carrier: as a city mom I planned to wear my newborn around town. In my mind it would prevent schlepping the stroller up and down the brownstone stairs and keep my hands free for a coffee or shopping. The truth is, wearing your baby is useful for many other reasons - including regulating their heartbeat and breathing, preventing a flat head and increasing mommy bonding hormones. Also, it was much easier to cook dinner during the witching hour if the baby was tied onto me!  

2. Food and hydration: don’t forget your own basic needs must be met to take care of another human! This can mean preparing food beforehand, having a friend arrange a meal train or having grandparents or friends stock the fridge and freezer before you come home. I also recommend placing water bottles and snacks anywhere you may plan to sit down and feed the baby. It is inevitable that the moment you sit down and put your feet up you will be hungry and thirsty!  

3. Backpack: I wanted the fanciest diaper bag and all of the swag that goes along with it. I came home with it fully stocked like the Pinterest boards I had been following (is Pinterest still a thing or am I old?) But at the end of the day what you need is a backpack - bottom line! You need your hands free and you need to counterbalance your baby on the front. Make sure you have a change of top for yourself in that bag - they will spit up all over everything you own.  

4. Bottles: Whether you plan to breastfeed or pump or use formula, I beg you to have bottles ready. You never know how things will go and how you will be feeling. I remember coming home and my daughter had lost too much weight and they told me to go home and feed her from a bottle. I was not prepared and we were scrambling. To prevent this overwhelming feeling just have a bottle or two with some slow flow newborn nipples sterilized and ready to go - just in case.  

5. Help on speed dial: You know a post wouldn’t be complete without me reminding you that you. need. a. village. Now is the time to call on them. Make a list of who is around and available to help you out. This may mean they drop by with food or flowers or it may be that they watch the baby breath so you can take a quick shower. This can also be hired help. You want to be prepared with these resources before you arrive home.

Dr. Barbara Frank is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Brookline Village OBGYN. She is also a faculty member of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Frank lives in Boston and is a wife and mom of two young children.

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