Active Moms’ Club is thrilled to introduce a new partner and guest blogger, Laura Bangart of Babies Only Chicago. Laura is a NICU nurse and is an adoptive parent of a NICU graduate (who is now attending college). Laura founded Babies Only Chicago to continue her passion for caring for newborns, especially preemies! Thank you Laura for providing parents in Chicagoland with a professional resource for an overnight service.
We asked Laura to share her wisdom, both as a parent and nurse, about how to make the best transition home with a newborn.
The time spent in the hospital surrounding your baby’s birth can be a rollercoaster ride – the hours upon hours of labor; family and friends constantly visiting, calling, texting and emailing; nurses interrupting your precious minutes of sleep; figuring out how to care for your newborn; frequent and uncomfortable (and sometimes unproductive) breastfeeding sessions. Most new parents can’t wait to go home to adjust and bond with their new, little one. After the first few hours at home or another sleepless night, panic sets in. So, here are some advice and tips from a NICU nurse and parent to help you ease into the first few weeks.
- First, take advantage of any offered help. You are not imposing. Everyone loves seeing, holding, and helping with a new baby. Just remember, do not allow helpers into your house who have been recently ill or exposed to ill people. And, everyone should be handwashing frequently, which is the best way to prevent germ transmission!
- Second, realize that your baby is a night owl. This is normal, and your baby will learn to differentiate between day and night in a week or two. Remember, your baby is used to being rocked to sleep when inside you (and awake at night when you are still.) Being outside the womb is a big adjustment for him, too.
- Third, sleep when your baby sleeps. This is frequently advised but rarely followed. Sleep is important for both you and your baby. Babies grow when asleep – their bodies and their brains. So do you. Sleep helps with your ability to cope with these new adjustments in your life, recover from your delivery, produce breast milk, and offer quality time for your newborn. Assign tasks to helpers (and your partner) to get the laundry, meals, and shopping done.
Remember – these few weeks happen rarely in your lifetime and only when a new baby arrives. Each baby’s first few weeks is unique and will not likely conform to your expectations or those of the experts (or the in-laws!) Use this time to get to know your baby. Discover your baby’s unique behaviors, cries, likes and dislikes, while she is using this time to learn yours. Learning about your baby will allow you to tailor a routine (through trial and error) that is better suited to your family’s needs.
Laura Bangart, RN, has 20 years of experience as a NICU nurse in the Chicago/Northshore area and is an adoptive parent of a NICU graduate (who is now attending college). In addition, Laura provides in-home nursing care for preemies, chronically-ill infants, and healthy multiples. Laura founded Babies Only Chicago to continue her passion for caring for newborns (especially preemies!) Babies Only Chicago provides professional, safe, overnight infant care and parent education by experienced and licensed Registered Nurses in the newborn’s family home.