I remember bringing the kids home from the hospital like it was yesterday, even if it is in a blurry haze of exhaustion and overwhelming nerves/love that we were about to do it all again!
With Reuben it really was a blur. I sat in the back of my (then) Skoda with him, whincing with every bump and motion of the car. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have taken him into Mothercare to visit the staff, but I was so excited to show off my new bambino I couldn’t help myself… resting has never really been my strong suit. With Toby I was less exhausted and sore… kind of. Again, I sat in the back with him, holding his little hand all the way home and staring at him. Tobes was born when there was snow on the ground so he had blankets galore and at a tiny 6lbs 11oz he was so very small in his seat. Lastly with Edie, I sat up front with Adam, wondering why on earth I was STILL in so much pain and eating McDonalds ha! Adam had promised the kids a toy so we took a trip to Toys R Us on the way back from the hospital, and while he ran in, I sat and fed my newest addition in the car, feeling all those nerves that you feel when you have a new a baby and breastfeed for the first time.
It’s something that often gets overlooked, that first journey home. I found it nerve-wracking when I’m normally a fab passenger. I just felt everything was a threat and I was sore and uncomfortable to boot.
When I worked for mothercare we would often give people tips on how to bring baby home safely – appropriate car seat, fitted car seat, no padded coats etc, and all of that is true, but there are a few other things that you might not have considered. With that in mind I thought I’d jot down a few helpful tips for bringing your baby home from hospital.
- A good car seat – I don’t care what your budget is. Forgo most “baby things” in order to buy the best you can afford because it really is essential. Your child will be in this for at least 9 months (please don’t tell me you took them out at 4m, you didn’t need to, whoever told you to was wrong… no 4m old is heavier than 20lbs or ready to forward face. Ever.) preferably much longer if you choose. An infant carrier will go to 29lbs and an extended rear facing seat will last until your child is 4. The best you can afford is all important here, I can personally recommend the Cybex Sirona.
- Have it professionally fitted. Please don’t order over the internet and assume you got it right – nip to the local car seat store and ask them. It takes seconds and it’s SO worth it. Not every car seat fits every car and it can be for a really random reason, so check it.
- No big padded suits or jackets. Toby and Edie both came out in freezing temperatures but neither had a snowsuit on in the car. Don’t do it! It’d not safe, they can over heat and often it compromises the safety of the car seat straps. The snuggle wrap that I have Edie in in the above picture is perfect because it’s fleece, warm, swaddles her BUT has been designed specifically for the car so she isn’t at risks with the straps. I bought it from Babies R Us.
- Check your tyre pressure and tread. Yep, one you may not have thought of. Check it! Adam actually lost his license as a young man (I think he was 18) because he hadn’t been passed his test a year and had been caught for speeding once and was then pulled over with two tires that didn’t meet the legal requirements. As a stupid kid (his words) he didn’t even think to check, but in truth, how many of us do? I check when I remember and that isn’t often, so before baby arrives, check your tyre pressure and the tread on your tyres to make sure they are legal, if not replace them! It couldn’t be easier to do, you can book new car tyres online with the likes of Point-S.
- Check the oil, water and other parts of the car. I know it might sound daft, but I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had a journey to make and then set off, gone to wash my windows and found I’m out of water. This is one of the most important journeys you will make so don’t forget to have everything checked the week of your due date.
- Prepare the car with “necessities”! I mean muslin squares, extra nappies and wipes (or cotton wool balls if you are one of the admirable people who doesn’t use wipes for the first 6 weeks…) Just in case of accidents like vom-bombs, poo-namis and the wonderful occasion of a tandem puke/shit fest. It happens, be prepared and you won’t stress. I guess it goes without saying but NEVER take baby out of the seat when the car is moving.
- A full tank of fuel. Who wants to run out of fuel on the way home?
- A cushion or something for you. Something for your back if you have back pain, something to sit on if you are sore. Easy to forget but could really help you out.
Anything else you can think to add to this list?