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Go Ask Mom

Simple is best when preparing home for baby

Posted April 29, 2014

— New parents often feel stressed as they prepare to bring home their new addition, but Triangle-area nurse practitioner Susie Catchings has advice on what to do.

For newborns, Catching said there's not much to be done outside of deciding where the baby will sleep. She recommends that parents sleep with the baby in their room for the first few months.

“Ideally, as your body is recovering, you want the baby close by,” Catchings said. “Get that bassinet or something portable.”

Catchings also recommends a monitor – just don’t overdo it.

“It's not essential, especially initially as the baby is sleeping in your room,” she said. “You can have it later on as you move the baby into its own bedroom.”

Once parents move the child into its own room, Catchings said keeping the nursery or baby's bedroom uncluttered is important. A crib, changing table and simple things for everyday care are the only furnishings necessary.

One final tip from Catchings: parents should make sure to take time to be alone together.

“Leave the baby with the grandparent. Get some coffee or dessert. Take a walk around the neighborhood. If you don't take care of that marriage, you aren't going to have a healthy child,” she said.

More advice from Catchings:

  • Humidifiers are helpful ONLY during the winter. There is plenty of moisture in the house during the summer.
  • Never leave a child alone with a pet. Introduce them slowly to newborns.
  • Avoid hand sanitizer and use soap and water to wash your hands.
  • Parents and close family should get the pertussis vaccine to protect the baby from whooping cough.

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  • Erin Brooke Schneider May 1, 2014
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    As a parent, and also someone who works in the school system and interacts with students from various backgrounds; I couldn't disagree more. It is very obvious in a school setting that students who learn that sometimes "it's just not about you" are far more mature than their peers who live in a world where, at least at home, everything revolves around them.
    My personal belief is that we, as parents, are called to raise our children to be independent adults who are capable of taking care of themselves. If the precedent is set from day one that they are more important than anything else (date nights, etc) they have a harsh reality to face when their every whim and desire is not a priority to every teacher, coach, peer, or employer.

  • happygirl14 Apr 30, 2014

    Parents need a little time alone without the baby. My husband and I go to the movies once a month on a Sunday for a few hours while my in-laws babysit our 10 month old. Is that being selfish? We don't think so.

  • Kristin Byrne Apr 30, 2014
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    Not at all. My parents made it a point to have a date night so that they had alone time. All 4 of us grew up to be well-adjusted, educated, successful adults. My friends who are parents and drop everything just for the kids have some of the rudest, most unruly kids I've ever come across.

    There's nothing wrong with having a date night. A mommy and daddy who are happy and in love will be better parents than two people who no longer have any sort of relationship (like many of my friends).

    As for putting my needs first, sometimes, yes. I'm a firm believer in taking a time out and gathering thoughts. Your child does not need you 24/7, especially as s/he gets older. I don't want to be wiping my kid's rear when s/he's 6 years old because I can't bear to let them out of my sight.

  • Andy Hairston Apr 30, 2014
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    I'd have to question this. Often the biggest brats are the ones whose parents think they are completely flawless and can't do any wrong; as long as the kid doesn't do anything bad *in front of* their parents, they won't get punished. It has nothing to do with the parents "putting their own needs first".

  • beaupeep Apr 29, 2014

    Quite the opposite. The biggest brats belong to the parents who put their needs ahead of their kids.

  • Kristin Byrne Apr 29, 2014
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    I'm pregnant with my first child, and my husband and I have already discussed making sure that we have time set aside for just us as often as we can fit it in. We're lucky because we have family in the area to babysit. You'd be surprised at how many people have looked at me like I have 2 heads when I've mentioned that. I've been told that it was my choice to become a parent, so I need to give up my social life, that I'm being selfish, and even that I obviously don't know what it takes to raise a child because any good parent wouldn't leave their child just "because."

    I'm beginning to see why some kids are being raised as brats these days.