new mom staring lovingly at her new baby
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Kristin Fuerst

Everything You Need to Know About Baby’s First Day at Home

Handle baby’s first day home from the hospital like a pro with help from these expert tips and mom-tested products.

In a dream world…

Baby’s nursery looks Pinterest-perfect just as you always imagined. Your shower outfitted you with everything you need to care for her (and then some), and it’s all perfectly in place. Now, you’re ready to bond and soak in maximum cuddle time, relaxing contently as you and baby stare into each other’s bright, smiling faces.

In reality…

Thanks to your excited friends and family choosing cute outfits over practical items, you’ve still got a list of must-haves you, well, don’t have. Your child’s early arrival also means that you had to send your partner on a treasure hunt for burp cloths at 3 a.m. Not that it was a big deal since you’re both totally awake anyway—your new addition, who was sleepy and oh-so-quiet just hours ago, is suddenly wide-eyed and wailing, and you have no idea what will soothe her. You’re in love, but would love an instruction manual right about now.

Make this milestone easier

Feed around the clock
Newborns will need to nurse or take a bottle every two to three hours—yes, 24/7. Going too long between meals could be what’s making baby unhappy.

Keep him cozy
Baby may fuss simply because he’s uncomfortable. Dress him in easy-fit clothes (think elastic waists and roomy openings) and make sure he’s warm enough by following this rule of thumb: He should be wearing what you’re comfortable wearing plus one extra layer. Some children are soothed by snugness that mimics the womb, so consider swaddling or placing him in a wrap-style baby carrier or a baby swing.

Don’t be afraid to accept help
You may feel like you should be able to handle caring for baby all on your own, but those first few days can be challenging for anyone. So take your mom up on her offer to cook and freeze a few meals, say okay to your friend who said she’ll shop for the essentials you’re missing, and nod your head when your sister offers to show you her “patented rocking technique.” (Hey, any assistance is good assistance!)

Mom-tested helpers

Because we know how strapped for time you are, we rounded up sanity-saving products from Walmart that’ll help you and baby breeze through this milestone. Instead of heading to a million different stores, you can make one stop for everything your family needs—even groceries. Looking for a bigger time saver? Order these items online while baby’s napping and have them shipped direct, or do a same-day pickup at your local store later.

1. Baby Mod Marley 3-in-1 Convertible Crib and Modena 3-Drawer Changing Table
Just a few days in as a new mom and you’ll become a master multitasker. Your furniture should do the same. This smart crib converts to a toddler bed and daybed, and the table can later be used as a dresser. Plus, with clean lines and that bright white finish, they set the tone for a modern, fun nursery.

2. Fisher-Price My Little Snugabear Cradle ‘n Swing
You may not be able to bear the thought, but you will need to put baby down sometime—and this swing’s deep, papasan-style seat sways two different ways at six speeds, so it’s just as inviting as your arms—maybe more.

3. Playtex Diaper Genie Elite Pail With Carbon Filter
Although baby might be your little rosebud that doesn’t mean she’ll always smell like one. Lock odors away in this handy bin designed to keep stinky packages out of nose-shot until trash day.

4. Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Giant Pack and Sensitive Baby Wipes
Preemie and newborn diaper sizes with an umbilical cord notch and 12 hours of protection keep baby comfortable (and you free from constant changes). Same goes for these sensitive wipes, which are hypoallergenic, fragrance free and loaded with PureCare lotion to prevent soft skin from chafing.

The Bump teamed up with Walmart to bring you Real-Life Milestone Moments, a sponsored series full of solutions for the big, sometimes bumpy, journey through parenthood. With sanity-saving products and services like same-day pickup and stores open 24/7, is all about making life easier for new moms.

Photo: iStock