Taking your baby home

Finally, the moment you've been anticipating is here — you're bringing home the newest member of your family! You've set up the crib and nursery, bought and borrowed the cute little outfits, and stocked up on diapers, wipes, blankets and other supplies. You've been thinking about all of the changes this new baby will bring to your life and probably alternated between feeling excited and scared.

Now you wonder: Am I ready? Are we ready?

Probably not — and that's perfectly normal. No matter how many pregnancy and baby-care books you've read, or how meticulous you've been in getting everything in place, nothing can fully prepare you for the first few weeks after your baby's birth. This time can be exciting — and overwhelming.

During the postpartum weeks, you're dealing with many different physical, practical and emotional issues all at once. You're getting used to your new baby and trying to understand his or her needs and habits. At the same time, your body is recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.

Given all these changes, the first few weeks after you bring your baby home are likely to be one of the most challenging times of your life. It may take months or even a year to feel back to normal. Be patient with yourself and your baby. You'll get there in your own way, in your own time.

This chapter gives you a glimpse into your newborn's world and tells you what you need to know to take care of your baby and keep him or her safe. Having a new baby in your life is a special, life-changing experience. By taking good care of your baby and yourself, you'll be able to enjoy it.

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