If you’re wondering just how much you’ve gone through at this point, let’s recap: you’ve helped your partner through nine months of pregnancy, interviewed doctors, prepared your home for your new child, lived through the excitement of telling all your friends and family your big news, learned how to properly install a car seat, and survived the craziness of child birth.

Now, you’ve only got one more thing to do … before the lifelong journey that is fatherhood, of course … you need to get that baby home!

In all the excitement of the past few days, it’s easy to forget somethings. So, before you do that final check out from the hospital, take a look at the tips below and make sure you’ve got everything in order to safely bring mom and baby home.

Dress in Appropriate Clothes

This goes for you, mom, and baby. Is it currently summer, autumn, winter or spring? That could make a big difference in what you dress your family in on the ride home. Also, big bulky snowsuits don’t fit well with car seat straps, so making sure your baby has appropriate clothes is important not just to stay warm (or cool) but to make sure he or she sits safely in the car seat, too.

Start the Car and Pull it Around

This goes hand-in-hand with our last tip. If it’s cold, you don’t want to put your newborn baby in a frozen car. If it’s hot, you’ll need to cool it down first. So, while your partner is finalizing her check out from the maternity ward, take a moment to run to the parking lot, get the car started, and pull it around the entrance. Most hospitals won’t have an issue with your idling there if you’re picking up a patient.

Properly Install the Car Seat

This is probably the most important thing to do before you even go to the hospital. Having the car seat properly installed is a major safety concern and many parents don’t do it right. Before going to the hospital, call your local fire station, town hall, or police station, many of these organizations offer free classes on how to install car seats the right way.

Introduce Your Baby to Your Pets

In all the craziness of pregnancy and birth, it’s easy to forget that you’ve got fur babies at home, too. Many pets can be territorial and not understand who this new mini person is living in their home and why they’re getting all the attention. Introducing pets and babies should be taken seriously and may require a slow introduction.

While your partner is in the hospital, bring home a blanket that has the baby’s scent on it. Allow your pets to smell it and get used to it before bringing baby home.

Introduce Your Baby to Friends and Family

You’ve already told all your friends and family about the baby coming and chances are many of them are begging you to come over and meet the newest member of your family first hand. While you may want to invite them all over, it’s important to do so slowly. Although you’re used to your friends and their habits, babies don’t have well-developed immune systems and can be susceptible to germs. It’s best to keep immediate introductions to just your closest friends and family (and don’t forget to have them wash their hands!).

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