Anticipating the arrival of a new baby is full of joy, excitement, and lots and lots of questions. There are countless books, articles, blogs, and pamphlets all about what to expect with pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. If you visit any baby superstore or boutique, it is easy to become overwhelmed by advertisements and equipment. Before you allow yourself to become buried alive in booties and receiving blankets, take a step back and relax. Parenthood brings many unknowns, but there are some tips that every expecting mommy should know as she prepares.
“Is your baby sleeping through the night yet?” It’s quite possibly the question most dreaded by new moms all over the world. Know ahead of time that there is no magic formula to make a baby sleep through the night before they are ready. Even if you have that fact firmly planted in your mind, it is still easy to begin to question your parenting skills or feel like a failure when your little angel is still waking four times a night and the neighbor’s baby that is 2 months younger is sleeping a consistent six hour stretch.
Doing your research ahead of time and understanding how baby sleep works and what affects it may help you better understand and cope with the sleepless nights. Be prepared and knowledgeable about factors that affect sleep such as teething, growth spurts, and colic. There are many sleep aids, gas drops, swaddlers, and sound machines on the market. Some of these are extremely beneficial for some babies, but don’t rush out and buy them all. Wait and see what your baby needs and wants. You’ll want to think about breastfeeding and when the time comes, how to stop nursing your baby to sleep. Do your research, but be prepared to change and adapt to find what works for you, your partner, and your baby.
It is no question that new moms need plenty of rest and their bodies and minds need time to recuperate. When you feel up to it, begin exercising lightly. Choose a low impact activity that you enjoy. Many people start with simply walking. Take the baby with you and get some fresh air on a walk, do some very basic post-natal yoga, and continue kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Talk to your medical providers before starting an exercise regimen, but then get moving. It will help the health of your body and mind.
The costs of having a new baby in the house can quickly add up. One of the big expenses is diapering, costing an average of $1000 in the first year of life. To cut down on the cost of diapering your little one, consider investing in and using cloth diapers brought to you by Baby Steals instead of disposable. Since cloth diapers are a bit of an investment, do your research. Look at local consignment shops or check online. Try a few different types and see what you like best before purchasing a big bundle. “All in one” diapers are the most like disposables to use, but also the most expensive. Pocket or insert diapers are not difficult to use, but do involve more than one piece, and either stuffing or attaching an insert. Cloth diapers have come a long way since your grandma used them, so you will likely be pleasantly surprised by the vast selection and ease of use.
Don’t Lose Yourself
With a new baby in your home, it can be very easy to let your entire being focus on and revolve around the new arrival. While some of this is inevitable, it is vital that you do not lose your pre-mom identity. Take time to still do some things that are important to you. Read a book you enjoy, go out to a movie with some friends, or treat yourself to a manicure as a special treat. Being a new mom takes up much of your time and energy, but it is important to hold onto your identity outside of motherhood too.
As you prepare to meet your new baby, do your research, make your plans, and be ready for it all to change. It is wise and admirable to have a plan as far as what kind of diapers you will use, sleep training techniques, and what you will feed your little one, but you absolutely have to be flexible. You never know what will work and what best laid plan will fail. Be prepared to embrace the moment and adapt as needed. A new baby changes your life in unimaginable ways and brings immeasurable joy. Babies bring with them incredible challenges, but they are completely worth it!