Thank you to Michigan mom Malak Choughari for partnering with us to share her family’s story! View Malak’s full blog post here.

Having a baby is one of the biggest life-changing events that many people experience. This is because of your priorities and day-to-day routine change drastically. What you once knew as “me time” pretty much doesn’t exist anymore. You are now working around the clock with little to no breaks.

When I first brought home my second newborn child a couple of months ago, I felt very overwhelmed. Not only was I trying to take the time to heal from my delivery, but I was also trying to attend to both my newborn baby and two-year-old toddler at the same time.

I was glad I had taken a few steps during my pregnancy to prepare myself and my family for this new change. Although I wasn’t completely ready for this new chapter in our lives (let’s be honest, no one ever is). I still felt somewhat in control because of the preplanning I had done.

I’ve learned that In order to make this transition as easy as possible, planning before the baby arrives is key.

Below I have listed five things that I did before bringing my baby home:

1. Vaccinate

Birthing a newborn in the winter comes with a lot of concerns. During this season, a greater amount of people catch respiratory viruses. This increases the likelihood that one of your family members may come in contact with someone who is sick and possibly contagious. What makes things even more difficult is, many people are contagious and don’t show any signs of illness. So, simply keeping your baby away from someone that is sick isn’t always enough.

Like most parents, I was very concerned about my baby’s health and wanted to do the best I could to protect her now and in the future. I had a lot of questions and talked to her doctors to make a plan for her. I was also able to do a lot of research online about vaccinations and made sure I was getting answers from credible sources such as IVaccinate. [I Vaccinate provides information & tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids.]

Vaccines are a safe and effective measure to help protect everyone especially those with a weaker immune system, such as newborn babies. Vaccines help protect children and teens from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases – including HPV, which can cause six types of cancer.

While pregnant with my now 2-month-old, I was asked if I wanted to get the flu vaccine to protect both myself and my baby. I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to do for my safety and the safety of my baby girl. And, I learned that by getting this vaccine, I would also help protect my baby from the flu for the first several months after her birth, when she is too young to get vaccinated.

Tdap Vaccine

I also was asked if I wanted to get the Tdap vaccine – a vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). After learning how dangerous these can be especially to newborn babies, I made sure to take the vaccine in order to keep my newborn as safe as possible.

Before bringing my newborn home, I also made sure to have everyone in our immediate family get the flu vaccine and Tdap booster if they were going to visit my children. Since we live in Michigan and experience cold winters, viruses go around more easily. This year specifically, Michigan has named the second sickest state in the U.S. with nearly 7% of the population experiencing flu-like symptoms while nationally, illness levels are only at about 5%. [Source: Click Here]

I also plan on continuing to get my daughter vaccinated on time, just like I did for her older brother. This will help keep her and everyone around her protected. Vaccines have saved millions of lives and have decreased the rate of disease dramatically. As a mother, I am grateful for this public health achievement and I’m glad I can do my part and protect my children and others around them.