Not only do you want your newborn to be safe when you bring him home, you also want to create a positive environment where he can grown and learn. Providing your newborn with the appropriate physical setting, emotional support and comfort level can help your little family get to know each other, bond and thrive. The time and effort you put into creating a strong foundation for your newborn will be repaid with a happy, secure baby.
Prepare your baby’s living area before he’s born if you can. His bedroom should be clean and in good repair. Put together all of the baby furniture. Throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls if you have the time and money. Wash crib sheets, burp cloths and baby clothing ahead of time. Organize your diaper changing supplies near the changing table for easy access. Have some baby toys available for stimulation, like an unbreakable mirror, plush toys, rattles and board books. Brightly colored, patterned or high-contrast toys work well at this stage. All of these will help the newborn transition period go smoother and appear less chaotic.
Show love for your baby, others and yourself. This sets the stage for a loving home environment. Start your baby off right by dishing out the hugs, kisses and positive verbal reinforcement. Use a soft, caring voice when you talk to your baby and others -- harsh or loud voices can be scary for a little one. Smile, look your baby in her eyes and talk to her as you change her diaper, dress her or feed her. Cuddle, sing or dance with your little one throughout the day.
Attend to your baby’s needs as soon as you can, as this helps him feel secure and safe. Look for hunger cues, like turning his head toward you, opening his mouth, smacking his lips or sucking on his fingers. Rubbing his eyes and yawning means he’s tired. Signals such as wide-open eyes that are looking around, waving hands and cooing usually mean he’s awake and happy. It’s best to address feeding, diapering and comfort issues first and then move to entertaining him.
Take time for yourself whenever you can. Take a bath, do some deep breathing or sit outside and simply watch nature. You may be surprised at how 10 or 15 minutes to yourself can help you recharge your batteries and help you feel refreshed. This also helps reduce the chance of you getting overstressed, cranky or frazzled.