By Priyanka Chaudhury Raina
The experience of bringing your baby home is one of the most precious feelings as a parent. But it does come with its own set of apprehensions and can be rather daunting if you’re not well-prepared. I remember when I was bringing home our firstborn, Gracia, there was a sense of trepidation and as I started preparing for her arrival I also realised that every experience is unique. So when we were bringing our son, Rio home I was armed with learnings from the last time and that really helped.
Talk to experienced mums
Experience is the best teacher. Start building your own circle, through fellow moms, friends from prenatal classes or those with whom you share a doctor. Speaking to them will help you understand what to expect as their experiences are recent. I’ve always believed in the power of collective energy, and the beautiful thing about being a millennial parent, is that we never need to feel alone as someone is always just a tap or click away. It is a beautiful mess we can never be fully prepared for, but one we can help each other conquer nonetheless.
Baby-proof the house
You never know what to expect with kids! My daughter didn’t crawl at all, not one bit while on the other hand, my son started crawling at five months. Of course, I was thrilled but that also meant I had to unlearn and re-learn baby-proofing the house. Kids grow up really fast so I would say it is easier to prepare before you go into the delivery room rather than when you are sleep-deprived. Give your home a once-over with your partner, ask him to do another round of checks while you are at the hospital for reassurance. With hygiene being on top of our minds in the new-normal, this is right on top of the list.
Baby care products
It can be quite tricky for new mothers to choose products as a baby’s skin is really delicate. My strong recommendation here would be to understand how to read product labels and opt for products that are natural and organic. I personally choose those that have Ayurvedic ingredients but are backed by modern science. Choose ingredients such as saffron, which provides a rich nourishment and a radiant glow, antibacterial marigold oil and kokum butter that moisturises and hydrates their gentle skin.
A sunlit corner dedicated for daily massages
Our grandmas were right, there’s nothing as good as the morning sun for Vitamin D and letting your baby soak up the sun leads to higher serotonin levels i.e. happy hormones and energy level. Who wouldn’t want a cheerful, gurgling baby? Find an east-facing open corner, stack some rich coconut or almond oil and spend quality time as you massage the little one.
Always have a camera close by
As new-age parents, we have the convenience of capturing every special moment with a click and considering how fast babies grow, it’s always best to be prepared. When my son started crawling, I was thrilled and I wanted to save that moment, luckily I had my phone with me. Make sure you keep a device handly to capture their every big-little milestones.
Don’t let the first-born or other siblings feel neglected
If you have kids already, make sure to make time for them separately as well to ensure they don’t feel deserted. Involve them by asking them to pick out new toys or clothes for their baby sibling. I was quite particular about this. We showed Gracia ultrasound pictures of Rio during the pregnancy and involved her in welcoming her baby brother home. She was excited to meet her baby brother and now happily teaches him all her naughty tricks.
Check your inner self and seek professional help with your mental health if you need one
You’ll probably feel quite emotional for a while after you give birth. You’ll have many beautiful moments with your baby, but even the easiest baby can be exhausting and messy. You will also still be recovering from giving birth, and you and your baby will be learning to breastfeed, in most cases. It can be a tough time and you may find that the smallest things upset you. Try not to worry because every new mum goes through this. Things will get better. Try to look after yourself as well as your new baby and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.
Baby in the time of work from home
None of us want to compromise on our careers along with motherhood, and I speak from experience here. If you haven’t yet, it will be helpful to make decisions about your work life before the baby arrives. Are you taking maternity leave? Have you made decisions about daycare or child care plans? Do you have a support system that can help during emergencies? The more you can consider what your routine will look like once your baby is home, it’s likely you’ll feel a bit more controlled.
These days with remote working becoming more commonplace, ensure that your partner or other family members have a dedicated workspace where they can easily focus on their professional lives.
Get ready for visitors
Given the situation these days it is wise to not encourage visitors for the first few weeks. However, in India, it is likely that you will have one set of parents over to help you out. Get them to help you cope with the changes. Allow them to take over regular household chores so you can spend quality time with your newborn. Stock up on essentials, keep extra sheets, blankets, etc. ready so they don’t have to rummage around the house in case they need anything.
Clear out the fridge
This is something that most of us always end up under-estimating! It’s true that babies start on an all-liquid diet, but you will still need space in the fridge if you want to supplement breastfeeding with formula or even want to store pumped milk. Always leave some space in case you need to chill towels or wipes to soothe any rashes or irritation.
Millennial parents believe in researching online and staying prepared. They do not necessarily fall back on advice from their previous generations. Despite being best prepared, remember that being overwhelmed with the changes, responsibilities and decisions is completely natural and something every mother goes through. Be easy on yourself and don’t be afraid to ask your support system to step in. Knowing what I know now about parenthood, I wouldn’t change a thing about the path that led me here. It makes us wiser, more confident and more aware.
(The writer is co-founder of Maaté, a premium baby care wellness brand, and millennial mom of two.)