Preparing for your first child can feel like a massive ordeal. Not only do you have a lot to do, but you’re also taking on the biggest responsibility of your life. After all, you have to take care of a new life, and that’s not easy.
Preparing for a newborn is challenging if you try to do it all by yourself. But if you follow tried-and-tested practices, it becomes a lot easier. Once you know what to do, everything starts falling into place.
Caring for a child is actually much easier than many new mums imagine. In the West, we tend to over-complicate the process. But remember, it’s something that women have been doing since the dawn of time. And it’s something that you can do, too.
This post is designed to be a guide for any new mum having a baby for the first time. We’ll run through some helpful tips and advice that should get you well on your way to looking after your first child properly. It’s not a walk in the park but, equally, it doesn’t have to be the most stressful event of your life.
Plan Your Birth Announcements
Announcing the birth of your child is pretty straightforward these days, thanks to the abundance of services out there. For instance, there are firms that will send out cards automatically to your mailing list once the baby arrives, all with a design of your choice. This way, you can avoid all the printing, stamping and sealing of envelopes required if you go DIY.
If you want to send out pictures, work with a newborn photographer. Ask a professional if you can book services in advance. They should be able to take pictures of you within a few hours of your baby’s arrival, providing everything goes well medically.
Pack Your Suitcases When You Are Expecting
Ideally, you don’t want to be rushing to hospital on the day of the birth. Instead, you should arrive a little in advance so that you can settle in before your waters break and your contractions start.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to pack your suitcases in advance and get to know all the best routes to the hospital. If you are past due, make your way to the nearest birthing center anyway as you’ll likely need medical services soon.
Items to put in your hospital bag include toiletries, a change of clothes, towels, phone, charger, entertainment and some of your favorite snacks.
Take Some Time Out
Babies can be all-consuming. They take up a lot of your time. In fact, they can be so demanding that you don’t have any time left over for yourself or your spouse.
Being 100 percent baby-focused isn’t a good policy. It’s exhausting, and it can cause your other relationships to suffer, including the one that you have with yourself.
Before you have a baby, consider going on a “babymoon” or vacation just prior to birth. Having extra time with yourself or your partner can help prepare you for the challenges ahead. You can talk about the time commitment involved in raising a child and how it will affect your life going forward. Don’t be afraid to bring up difficult topics or how the arrival of a baby might change your romance.
If a full-blown vacation is out of the question, then you might want to try a staycation instead. A short weekend at a spa or even just going camping can be a great way to forge strong bonds with the people around you before the baby arrives.
Start Baby Proofing Early
You don’t want to leave it until the end of the third trimester to start baby proofing your home. Ideally, it’s something you should be doing as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Baby proofing is something that becomes increasingly necessary as they become mobile. You’ll need to block access to the stairs, ensure that all plug sockets are safe, and make sure that all dangerous chemicals are out of reach.
Just remember that babies are a little bit like dogs. If there is something they shouldn’t play with, they’ll find it almost immediately. Be vigilant and think about what a baby could access if they were inventive.
Take Care Of Your Health
In the run-up to having a baby, all healthcare seems to be about the pregnancy. All the scans and tests are all about making sure that you’re ready for the birth.
During this time, though, it’s important to take care of the rest of your health. Make sure that you stay up to date on all your routine healthcare tasks, including things like dental work and cancer screenings. Getting these items out of the way before the baby arrives takes some of the pressure off and gives you a clean bill of health.
Get All The Gear You Need
You’ll need gear to look after a baby from day one. There are so many items that you need to buy that you should get them all in advance.
Remember, a 2 month old baby’s senses can be quite highly developed. Because of this, it’s critical that they get all the stimulation that they need. Many parents believe in the more is less philosophy but that stills leaves a long list of items you’ll need to buy.
Top of the list of priorities are car seats and the crib. Your baby needs somewhere safe to go when sleeping and traveling. For car seats, you should get one here via the NunaBaby store if you’re looking for great quality and easy installation car seats.
Extras that you buy on top of that are mainly for convenience. For instance, you might want to purchase a baby changing table or an infant swing. These items can be helpful if you live in a cramped space.
You can delay some purchases, but you’ll need quite a bit of storage space. If you plan on buying a baby stroller, make sure that you have room for it by the front door or porch area.
Prepare Their Room
If you want your child to have a separate room from day one, you’ll need to prepare it first. As a mother, you may have a strong nesting instinct, wanting to design their bedroom so that it is perfect for their arrival.
Putting together a complete nursery is quite easy. Start with the décor and then work from there. Baby blues and pinks are the perfect theme. Then just add the crib, baby wipes, diapers and other clothes and you’re done.
Freeze Some Meals In Advance
While you can order takeout night after night once you give birth, it’s expensive. Plus, it’s usually not very good for you. You wind up putting on weight and lacking energy.
Of course, after you give birth, it’s a challenge to muster the energy to cook. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare at least a couple of weeks worth of food in advance and then freeze it.
Doing this is actually quite easy. For the weeks running up to the birth, cook double the quantity that you normally would. Then eat half and freeze half for later. It couldn’t be simpler.
Stock Up On Household Essentials
You’ll also want to make sure that you have all the supplies you need to stay in the house for at least a couple of weeks. Once the baby arrives, you might not want to go out.
Remember, once the baby arrives, you’ll need more supplies than normal. Paper towels, safe cleaning products, toiletries, and toilet paper are all things that you should have in the house in abundance.
If you don’t want to store everything in the attic, you can order groceries online, but you’ll probably pay a premium compared to big box stores.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
You dogs are your children until a real human baby arrives. Then you forget about them almost entirely.
However, even after your baby is born, you still need to take care of your furry friends, even if their status is somewhat diminished. Ensure that you have enough food and medications for them in the house. If you need to rush to the hospital, make sure that there is someone who can take care of them while you’re gone.
If they are used to getting lots of attention, ask friends and family to temporarily step in and help you look after them. Help your pet adjust to the new dynamic by allowing them to join in with new family activities. Don’t let them miss out.
Stock Up On All Your Prescriptions
Lastly, make sure that you stock up on all your prescriptions. If there is a family member who needs to take antidepressants or blood pressure medications, make sure that they have all the items they need.
If you are worried about stocks running low, take a look at your medicine cabinet and see how long you can survive without replenishment. You might also want to ensure that you have all the first-aid essentials that your family needs going forward.
So there you have it: everything you need to know about baby prep. Are you prepared?