Getting to know your baby
Read our guide on getting to know your newborn in the first few hours and days, including bonding, feeding, appearance and first checks.
There’s nothing like a baby to give you a new perspective on the world. Suddenly, everything has changed. Naturally, your instinct to protect your newborn can cause you to worry about the little things. But once you’re able to get out of the house there’s a real joy in seeing the world afresh through your baby’s eyes. Every sight and sound becomes more vivid.
Taking your baby home is a huge milestone and can be a little scary, as you leave the security of having a midwife on hand. If you're travelling home by car you’ll need a car seat – and you’ll need to know how to secure, remove and fasten your baby into it. Take a look at your individual seat instructions and practise fitting and removing it a few times in advance of your due date.
If you’re worried about letting your baby sleep in the car seat it may prove reassuring to sit beside them for this first journey. Rear-facing car seats are a legal requirement for newborns travelling in cars, and hospitals aren’t allowed to discharge you without one. Don’t be surprised when the midwife inspects yours – it’s part of their job.
It may take a few days or weeks for you to build up to it, but your first trip out of the house with your newborn is bound to be memorable. Here’s our advice:
The right changing bag will take you all the way through from birth to preschool. While any bag will do, look out for handy design features. You want a baby changing bag that’s large enough for plenty of spare clothes and nappies (bearing in mind your baby is going to get a lot bigger) as well as wipes, drinks, snacks, sun lotion and, when they’re older, small toys. But it still needs to be easy enough to carry.
What to look out for
What to pack for your baby
What to pack for you
Your baby needs to be fed on demand, and you have an absolute right to meet their needs, wherever you are, without feeling uncomfortable. The Equality Act 2010 means it’s illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave their premises1. You should also not be asked to move out of people’s view. If you prefer to find a quiet spot, that is up to you. The first time you breastfeed in public may feel a bit strange, but the more you do it, the easier it will be, and the more confident you’ll become. Wearing clothes with buttons on the front will help you to be discreet and you may want to use a scarf or muslin to shield yourself.
1. NHS UK. Breastfeeding in public [Online]. 2017. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-andbaby/Pages/breastfeeding-in-public.aspx [Accessed March 2017]
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