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What to Know Before Your Baby Is Born

iStock_000003684547_SmallIn this world of 24-hour news channels, text blasts to your iphone, Facebook, Twitter and more, it’s hard to be at an information loss. But, there’s nothing quite like preparing for parenthood to make you feel a bit undereducated and overanxious — as the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. So, we’ve composed our Baby Pibu list of what to know before your baby is born – what we wish someone would have told us as new moms-to-be. Read on and relax… you WILL figure it out!

Get the Gear! A baby is a very little person that needs a lot of stuff! Cribs, changing tables, bouncy seats, highchairs, diaper bags, diapers – the list goes on and on. And then, of course, there are the questions. To go with a bassinet or not? Convertible crib or a standard? High chair or a hook-on seat? Cloth diapers or store-bought? It’s enough to make you batty! Never fear. Talk to a mom – or three – that you trust. Your instinct may be to get everything, but discuss why your friends and family got what they did and how they used it. Everyone’s lifestyle is different and you want the equipment that will work best for you. If your baby will nap downstairs near you during the day, a bassinet may be a perfect solution. If your dining area is small, a hook-on highchair might be better than a traditional one. Listen, observe and learn what will work for you.

Have a Plan. These days, there are so many birth options, and it seems you’re always reading about something new. Know what you’d ideally like to happen – and more importantly, discuss it with your spouse and doctor. You don’t want plan this wonderful underwater birth experience only to find out your OB doesn’t provide it. Likewise, you don’t want hubby thinking you’re going drug-free when you’re counting the days ‘til your epidural. However, try to be flexible so you’re ready in case of curve balls. Because when the time comes for your baby to arrive, that little person will be the one that carries the most pull. What is needed for a safe and healthy delivery may not be what you had imagined so discuss different scenarios with your caregivers. On that same note, know who you want with you when the big day arrives. If you want your BFF with you, make sure your husband knows. If your family likes to be “in the room” but you’d prefer privacy, have that discussion. And, understand what guidelines your hospital or birthing center has for family, guests and even cameras and filming.

Seek Medical Advice. You may have everything set with your OB, but what happens after the baby comes? Before your baby is born, you want to have chosen a pediatrician. Research practices and physicians; discuss with friends and family members. It’s more than just picking a name out of the phone book or going on location alone. You want to have a clear understanding of how they handle important aspects of a child’s health like vaccinations or sick appointments. Do they have an urgent care or after hours clinic? Your baby will most likely be seen in the first 24 hours after your release from the hospital, and that won’t be the time to making pediatrician choices. So, do your homework and make those decisions well in advance of your baby’s birth.

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep! You may think you know tired – all-nighters in college, late or early hours at your job, the insomnia that comes with pregnancy because you can’t find a comfortable position. That, my friend, is nothing compared to the feeling of fatigue once you become a mom! New mom tiredness is similar to torture – true story! You get a little taste of sleep, followed by feedings and changings, then a little dribble more of sleep, then more feedings and changings. On Day 1, you’re tired but OK. By Day 5, you’ll be slightly delirious. You get the picture. For this reason, sleep when the baby sleeps! Your doctor isn’t just saying this to be nice. He means it! Your house, your laundry, your emails – they’re not going anywhere. So, in the early stages when your baby doesn’t go more than 2-3 hours between feedings, SLEEP whenever you can! Because this, too, will pass.

Help is Good Help. Yes, you’re the Mom. And yes, you may even want to be Super Mom! But, you shouldn’t try to do it all. If someone wants to do your laundry, it’s not because you can’t keep up. If someone brings you meals, they’re not saying you’re a bad cook. If your mother-in-law wants to hold the baby, it’s not because you’re doing a bad job (well, probably not). It’s because these other women in your life know what being a mom is like and at this season of life, help is a good thing! So, even if you’re a Type A or if you’re used to managing a team of 200 at work or if you’re just a little bit of an OCD person, still say “Yes!” It’ll make your life so much better.

Babies Can’t Go Everywhere! There’s always that mom – and please don’t be her – who thinks that “babies are little; they can go everywhere.” Don’t assume that you and your husband can sneak out to dinner while Junior is sleeping. Or that the movie you’ve been dying to see will be a great place to bring the car carrier and the baby. You can’t and you won’t. Before your first baby, go out to eat – a lot! See the movies, even the 10 pm showing on a weeknight. Enjoy adult-only conversations with friends. Attend cocktail hours and sip ginger ale. Because there will be a time, at least in the first 90 to 180 days after childbirth, where that won’t happen much.

The First 90 Days: Expect them to be somewhat of a blur. Photograph them, document them, journal them if you can. But, be prepared that when you look back, that those weeks might be a little fuzzy. It’s OK. Days of ponytailed hair and PJ pants, shirts with breast milk stains and who-knows-what else. Dust bunnies under your bed and floors that need mopped. Don’t let these worry you because life will get back to normal – it’ll just be a brand-new, baby-filled, different – but wonderful – kind of a normal.

When you’re pregnant, it seems there’s always another mom, neighbor, friend, family member or even a stranger in the grocery store who knows exactly what you should do. There’s an anonymous quote that says “let other people advise but never let them decide for you,” and being a new mom is much like that. So, don’t stress about what you may not know, and don’t be overwhelmed with all the helpful information that you’re given. Take it in — all the advice, suggestions — and decide what works for your family. Somewhere in all the tried-and-true tips and the new ideas and trends is what will make you a great mom – you just need to define it for yourself.

Happy Parenting!

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