Preparing For A Baby Getting Ready For Your First Baby

The months before your baby is born is an exciting and nerve-wracking time. The idea of having a new baby to care for and love is exhilarating and overwhelming all at once. However, here are steps you can take to make the experience less scary. Having a plan and finding out answers to some of your biggest questions can go a long way toward increasing your confidence as a new parent.

Do Your Research

While it’s true that no amount of research or planning can totally prepare you for having a new baby, taking the time to learn about the process and about what having a newborn is like can help you to feel less nervous. Start with researching online parenting sites, and look for books like the well-known pregnancy bible, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Reading about all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth will give you a clearer picture of what your experience may be like.

Get First Baby Advice from Your Friends

Getting firsthand advice from trusted sources is one of the best steps you can take toward truly learning what to expect with your first baby. Hearing true-life tales can aid in deciding which pediatrician to choose or which diapers to try. Keep in mind that everyone’s experience is unique, so be sure to take advice from friends and family with a grain of salt. You’ll always want to use your own judgment and trust your instincts on what works best for you and your baby.

Don’t Go Overboard on Baby Supplies

Yes, it’s tempting to purchase tons of cute little outfits and invest in all the cool baby gear, but it can also be wasteful and expensive. If you’re having a baby shower, register and ask for the major supplies you’ll need like a crib, stroller, car seat, bottles or breast pump, onesies and pajamas. After you’ve received these gifts, you’ll want to take stock of what you may still need. Buying too many clothes can be a mistake, as you can never know for sure how big your baby will be and if your little bundle of joy will be able to wear these items for long. Diapers can be tricky as well, because babies can have a reaction to certain materials or may leak due to a particular brand’s fit. It may be a good idea to ask for gift certificates to baby retailers or department stores so that you can get the supplies for your particular newborn’s needs.

Keep the Baby’s Room Simple

On the topic of not going overboard, keep the baby’s nursery decorations simple. That’s not to say that you can’t have fun decorating. However, choosing a theme and buying everything to match isn’t necessary. Look for furniture that can grow with your baby. For instance, these days, you can buy a crib that will convert to a toddler bed and then to a full size bed. Consider buying a low dresser to serve as a changing table, and buy neutral bedding and decorations. You can then customize the room with decorative accessories when your child is ready. Besides, there’s always the chance that your baby will sleep in a car seat or bassinet in your room for at least a little while, anyway.

Decide What’s Important to You and Your Baby

After doing your reading and talking to friends, write down a list of what is important to you and your family. What would make your life simpler? What will be your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to newborn care? Consider your lifestyle. If you and your spouse are frequent travelers and intend to continue to travel after the baby is born, a lightweight portable playpen or travel swing may be a necessity for you. If you are in a tight financial situation, you’ll likely want to brainstorm and get creative when it comes to baby needs. Don’t be afraid to accept hand-me-downs or help when it’s offered.

Consider How a New Baby Will Affect Your Lifestyle

This advice applies to material things as well as to your overall lifestyle. Many new moms have a tough time going back to work and leaving their precious little one in the care of others. Think about your personal situation and whether a flexible work arrangement may be an option. Some employers welcome alternative work styles. This may not be a consideration for you at all. Perhaps you have a career that stimulates you, and you’re quite sure that you’ll be comfortable utilizing a full-time child care situation. In this case, you’ll want to line up professional care that meets your expectations and lifestyle well in advance of your baby’s birth. For some families, it makes sense for the father to stay at home to care for the child. Whatever the case, it’s important to at least have a tentative plan in place. Adjustments can always be made.

Take Time for You As Well as Your Newborn

Above all else, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Your new life will be tiring as you deal with nightly feedings and bouts of colic. This time of transition can be draining. Be sure to accept help from your spouse, friends and family. Pushing yourself to hard can lead to medical complications as well as undue stress. Consider recruiting some assistance ahead of time. Ask loved ones if they wouldn’t mind coming to help out on a certain day of the week. You’ll be so happy to have an extra set of hands, a short nap or a meal prepared by someone else. You won’t regret asking for help.

Finally, go easy on yourself and realize that preparing for a baby requires a bit of a learning curve. You’ll feel more confident with time and will remember these early days for the rest of your life.