With a newborn on the way, it feels like you can never be too prepared! Katie runs down a few questions and ideas to help settle the nerves and get things in order for the big arrival…
With any big event coming up in your life, you’ll probably take time to prepare for it. If you’re expecting a baby, you know that this is no exception! There’s the nursery furniture, gift registry, reorganization of the house, a birth class, and many many books to choose from! Sometimes we too easily get caught up in the plans of things surrounding the baby, that we forget to actually plan on what we’ll be doing with the baby.
It is true that nothing can fully prepare you for your first child. It is true that unexpected things will happen, no matter how much you prepare. And it is true that it’s much easier to judge parenting styles before you have your own munchkin. However none of these are reasons not to enter parenthood with a game plan in mind. If you’re expecting a baby soon, I encourage you to read, talk, listen, think, and especially discuss with your spouse different aspects of caring for your child. Decide on how you want to raise your child. Then get to know your child, his/her needs and personality. You can always adapt your plans later.
At the hospital, where my son was born, we were given specific instructions on caring for him, which I appreciated because I had never been a mother before! I remember leaving the hospital with our 2 day-old baby wondering when they were going to check on us and if I would do everything “right”. The truth was that my husband and I are the authorities on caring for our son, regardless of how inexperienced we are! We’re the ones who decide what “right” is!
You can find experience-based and research-based advice anywhere you look! Read and listen to as much of it as you can. Then know that it all comes down to what is best for you and your family. After being proactive to research and decide on the best decisions for your family, you can be confident in them. There will definitely be times that you cannot be prepared for. And you can already expect that you will make mistakes. But I believe that it will help a ton if you plan ahead.
Here are some hot topics that you can talk about with your spouse:
- Will the baby sleep in our room? If so, for how long?
- Who will get up in the middle of the night to feed and change the baby?
- Will we feed him/her routinely or only when he/she seems hungry?
- Who can we call if we need extra help?
- How will we keep our romance alive with this new addition?
- When will the mama get some alone time? When will the daddy get alone time?
- Do you plan on breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or both?
Whether you get your information from books or friends, everyone has an opinion! Some people recommend to read one book and stick with it. Personally, I enjoy gleaning a little from many. Even if I totally disagree with a book, I feel like I’ve still learned something from looking through it.
When I asked my doctor what book he recommended, he suggested Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5. If you have a Publix grocery store in your area, you can sign up for the BabyClub and receive this book for free in the mail. Bonus!
There are countless great books out there to choose from! Many of them are more like resource books; you wouldn’t need to read cover to cover necessarily. But these big books are handy to have when you want to look up specific topics. And there are smaller books that you would want to read cover to cover and refer back to later.
I would suggest that you go to a bookstore and thumb through a few books before you choose which ones to buy. Several have opposing philosophies. If you’re not planning to buy all of them, you can decide on which philosophy you prefer by reading the introductions.
Personally, I thrive on learning and preparing. Yet as much as I read and prepared for my first (and only) child, I’ve had to adjust my plans and expectations once he was born. I couldn’t have understood how crazy it would be to have a newborn until he was actually here. Although I have tweaked my plans since then, I’m glad that I entered motherhood somewhat mentally prepared.
I hope that you find continued encouragement and support from Mama Moderne!