How To Prepare Yourself Before and After Your Baby Has Been Born
Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.
When a new baby joins your family, it changes everything, especially if it’s you first. While no amount of preparation will make it easy, there are some things you can do that will ease your transition into becoming parents. There’s plenty you can do before your baby arrives and some things to consider after you’ve brought your little one home.
Get Your Nursery Organized
No matter where your baby will be sleeping for the first few months you’ll want to get their nursery sorted. This can mean filling it with the furniture you need, such as the crib, changing table, and glider.
The other thing you’ll want to do is sort out the baby clothes. I suggest washing and sorting all the clothes by size. Ignore the labels and match them up; different brands are very different in size. Pack them up so you can easily pull out the next size of clothes when you’re ready for it.
By the way, beyond baby clothes, you’ll want to make sure to get some parenting apparel too. Comfortable clothes are in. So are nursing tanks for mom and Kangaroo Care Shirts for dad.
Practice With The Car Seat
The chances are that you bought your car seat some time ago. It’s worth making some time to reacquaint yourself with it. There is nothing worse than struggling to remember how it works in the hospital car park, especially if it’s cold and wet and you’re fretting over your new baby.
Pack Your Hospital Bag
It’s worth having your hospital packed and ready in good time. You never know how, or when, labour is going to go. You don’t want to be stressing about your bag while you’re timing contractions.
Obviously, you’re going to want to pack the baby’s essentials - clothes, nappies, wipes, hat and blankets. But don’t forget about yourselves as well. I recommend a full change of clothes, for both parents, a towel, shower gel (unscented is best), charging cable for your phones, and if possible a power bank as well.
Get Some Paper Plates
While you’re learning to deal with keeping your new baby alive, everything else ends up taking a back seat. If you can prep meals in advance, that’s great. But the other bit that a lot of people forget about is the dishes. Cleaning up after every meal can be a hassle, and there is nothing more frustrating than a sink full of dishes. Why not get some paper plates, and then all you have to do is throw them in the recycling at the end of the meal.
Discuss Your Wishes For The Birth
Giving birth is an all-consuming experience. If you have strong preferences about how you want your delivery to go, make sure you discuss them with whoever will be in the room with you. You may not be able to advocate for yourself during your labour so they will need to do it for you. They can only do this if you’ve talked through your options first.
Spend Some Time On Yourself
Becoming a parent is going to change everything. Once your baby arrives, you may not do anything for yourself for a long time. So, take some time to spoil yourself now. It doesn’t matter what you do, just make sure you enjoy it. If you can, spend some time with your partner because you might not see each other for a while. If you’re alternating sleeping and childcare, it can be a little like taking opposite work shifts!
The chances are that before your baby arrived, you had some strong ideas about how you wanted to do things. But, no one told your baby about your plans, and they may have their own ideas. If you find that what you wanted to do isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something different.
Whatever decisions you make, don’t let anyone else’s opinions sway you. You need to decide what’s going to work for you and your little one. It can be challenging, and you may find yourself second-guessing your choices but just remember that as long as your baby is loved and fed, you can’t go too far wrong.
Sleep When You Can
Getting sleep with a newborn around is challenging. Between feeds and fussing, there aren’t many moments of peace. When they do fall asleep, this can bring its own special sort of torment. You’ll probably find yourself twitching at every sound they make, and then even worse is when they’re lying still and quiet. I don’t think there is a parent in the world who hasn’t pushed down a rising sense of panic while checking that their baby is still breathing at some point.
All of this adds up to mind-consuming exhaustion. So, find ways to get some sleep when and however you can. If you’re able to hand off the baby for an hour or two, do it, and get some sleep. If you’re filled with anxiety about your baby, you can try a baby breathing monitor. It can give you peace of mind so you can relax and actually fall asleep.