Whew! You’re finally done with labour and delivery. But truly, only now does the real work begin! No matter how long you’ve been preparing for this day; decorating the nursery or stocking up on diapers and baby wipes, bringing your baby home for the first time can be exhilarating and agitating all at the same time. It is common to have doubts swirling around your head. Are you ready for the baby? Is your house ready for the baby? How am I going to pull this off? Stop and take a deep breath. You can only take it one day at a time.

If you have had a cesarean section, you might have already spent a few days in the hospital getting used to your baby’s presence and recognizing the drastic change that your sleep cycle will have to undergo as a result. If you had a vaginal birth, you may find yourself back home within a day or two; barely giving you the opportunity to get used to the idea. But either way, being prepared for your baby’s needs will ease the transition from the hospital to your home.

Like any Indian household that is welcoming a new family member, you and your baby may be subjected to a barrage of visitors throughout the first week or two. So arm yourself with the biggest bottle of hand sanitizer as you can’t possibly tell your loyal maid of 10 years that squeezing your baby’s cheeks are off limits! Insisting that everybody around the baby clean their hands is not an unreasonable request. It is up to you to protect your baby, so this is not the time to worry about hurt feelings! Also, keeping the noise level in the home down as much as possible (with the exception of the unavoidable whoosh from the pressure cooker!) will help the baby get used to her new surroundings. Babies tend to be very jumpy for the first few weeks and are easily alarmed by any sudden noises.

Keep your batteries in your camera ready as you want to capture every moment of those first few days at home. If you have other children, their reaction to your new baby will be priceless and is not a memory that you can afford to miss on film. You’ll probably be worn-out from the last few days but will be thankful you went to all that trouble when you sit back to reminisce later.

If your baby is cranky as she adjusts to all the attention, assure her with your voice as it is the only one she will recognize. Even in the womb, your baby paid close attention to your voice and can tell it apart from anybody else’s. Using this connection to further bond with your baby will make her feel secure as long as she can hear you; even if you are just a hazy shape for now. Most of all, cherish every moment. Looking back on it you will be glad you did; especially when you turn around and it will be time for her to get her driver’s license!