– Ask a Real Mom – Tips for Keeping Your Newborn Healthy When You Come Home From the Hospital

Bringing your sweet, tiny newborn home from the hospital can be the most exciting time in your life–but it can also be the most nerve-wracking. I remember feeling so afraid to leave the safety of the hospital, surrounded by nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors who could answer all my questions and monitor my little one around the clock.

newborn snuggles
*Photo courtesy of Real Mom Quinn Pribble

As I drove home with my two-day-old baby, I worried about many things, but one of my biggest worries was how I would keep her healthy. As with most things in motherhood, we can’t have total control over our family’s health, but we can be prepared!

In this month’s edition of Ask a Real Mom, we’ve gathered advice, not just from moms, but also from midwives and neonatal nurses, sharing their best advice on how to keep a baby healthy after you leave the hospital.

1. Hand Hygiene

washing hands
Image courtesy of OviaHealth.com

Washing your hands frequently before holding your newborn was at the top of every expert’s list. Gently remind your guests to wash their hands before holding the baby, too–even if it feels a little awkward, speaking up is essential for your newborn’s health. Real mom Chelsea recommends keeping a bottle or two of baby-safe hand sanitizer like Babyganics around the house as a visual reminder to others to keep their hands clean!

 Your Breast Blessing

breast feeding
Image courtesy of MadisonWomensHealth.com

Most importantly, know that fed is best, so whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, a growing, happy baby is what’s most important. However, if possible, breastfeeding can be one of nature’s ways of keeping your baby healthy.

Neonatal nurse and Real Mom Allie says, “Breast milk provides vital nutrients and antibodies that help to boost your baby’s immune system.”

Until your baby arrives, it’s hard to predict how they’ll do latching and feeding. Be sure to stock up on essential items that make the breastfeeding journey a little easier: we’ve linked Real Moms’ favorite pillows, balms, and nursing bras in this article. Pumped breast milk benefits the baby’s immune system, so be sure to register for a pump or contact your insurance provider about their free options. Popular brands like Spectra and Medela can be fully covered by some insurance companies!

2.  Partner with your Pediatrician

Partner with your Pediatrician
Image courtesy of parents.com

All of our Real Moms recommend picking a pediatrician you love and trust. You’ll visit your baby’s doctor many times throughout the first year, and you want to choose a provider that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. Talk to your local mom friends to find out which doctors are readily available to answer questions after hours, how convenient it is to get a sick visit, and whether or not telehealth visits are an option.

Real Mom Madison shares, “It gives her so much comfort to be able to call her doctor in a crisis and ask her any questions or concerns on the spot.”

You might also consider meeting with a few pediatricians before the baby arrives to ensure that you’re on the same page regarding decisions such as vaccinations, antibiotics, and more.

That first shot, fever, or cold can be scary, so be sure to include a baby medical kit on your registry so you’re prepared!

 Skin-To-Skin Serenity

skin to skin
Image courtesy of latchhelp.com

There is no better feeling than when your fresh newborn is placed on your chest for the first time. Midwife and Real Mom Ashley shares, “Skin-to-skin cuddles aren’t just about bonding–they also regulate the baby’s body temperature and promote relaxation.”

 Selective Socializing

mom friends
Image via Reddit

Although you’re so excited to have all your friends and family meet your precious newborn, it is so important to set up healthy boundaries. Your new baby is vulnerable to germs in the first few weeks, so embrace your role as protective Mama Bear. Encourage your guests to wash their hands before holding your baby, and if they show any signs of sickness, kindly ask that they postpone their visit.

Stroller Sign
Stroller Sign via Amazon

Real Mom Rachel created a sign for her front door to remind people to wash and sanitize while in her home and not enter if they feel sick. Real mom Pamela displayed a little stroller sign to remind others not to kiss or touch the baby because their germs are “too big.”

3. Sleeping Safety

Sleeping Safety
Image via baybay.us

We all know how important sleep is for babies AND parents–just a few hours in a row feels blissful! The most important element for baby sleep is creating a safe environment. And while we may love cuddling with pillows and blankets, for babies, less is truly more.

Real Mom and Pediatrician Dr. Daniella says, “It’s important to have your baby sleep swaddled on their back in the crib in, away from loose toys and bedding, in a dark room to promote healthy sleep habits.”

Owlet Dream Sock
Owlet Dream Sock via Amazon

In addition to a great swaddle, registering an Owlet Dream Sock may also put your mind at ease. It monitors your baby while they sleep so that YOU can rest knowing you’ll hear an alarm if there is an issue with your baby.

4.  Self-care is NOT Selfish

self care
Image courtesy of mother.ly

 Now that we’ve discussed all the tips to keep your newborn healthy, it is essential for moms to remember to take care of themselves. Making yourself a priority during the chaos of new motherhood isn’t selfish–you’re actually giving your family a gift by ensuring that you’re rested, nourished, and strong.

Eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, resting while the baby rests (chores CAN wait), and going for walks will make you the best version of “mom” you can be. Not only does this help you be a better mom, but staying healthy and hydrated fortifies your breast milk.

Real Mom and nurse Natalie says, “Emphasizing the mom’s health, diet, and water intake along with healthy vitamins, such as a good postnatal, is all a big factor, especially with breastfeeding and how many antibodies and immune factors get transferred through the breast milk.”

sleeping baby and mom
Image courtesy of VeryWellFamily.com

We are happy to share all the tips and advice for keeping your newborn safe and healthy, but nothing is as accurate as your mommy intuition. You are your baby’s best advocate and know them better than anyone else. If something does not feel right to you, call your pediatrician.

From deciphering specific cries to noticing their subtle cues, YOU know your baby better than anyone. The transition from hospital to home can be scary, but brave motherhood with the knowledge that you are the best expert when it comes to your baby.

Stay in the know

Our team at Registry Finder wants to help keep you informed on all things motherhood. It is the most challenging yet rewarding job. For more tips on what to expect in those first few weeks, check out the Give It Blog article we call The Postpartum Season No One Prepares You For.

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