I remember being pregnant with my first child. I was excited and anxious at the same time. I had never gone through childbirth before. I could barely keep my plants alive, yet alone another human being. I truly believe that you could take every class there is and read every book out there and still find things you weren’t prepared for when your little one comes along.
It is normal to experience a fear of the unknown, but that fear helps us to prepare the best we can for that new baby to enter our family. So, how does one prepare for a new baby?
The most important thing you can do for your baby is to have regular prenatal checkups. Prenatal checkups can help to ensure that your pregnancy is going as well as it can be and that you are healthy and your baby is developing normally.
The birthing experience can be very scary if you have no idea what to expect from it. Birthing classes often not only teach about the birthing experience, but also touch on how to care for the baby and how to breastfeed. These classes also help teach your partner or coach how to help you through the birthing process and keep you as comfortable as possible. For books, I really loved the book, My Pregnancy: Week by Week. It talks about the development of your baby, including how big he or she is and what new developments have taken place over the past week.
Some women have the goal of going through childbirth without pain medication. Others may decide they want pain medication to be an option. I knew that I had (and still have) a low tolerance for pain, so I had the goal of enduring contractions for as long as I could handle them and then use pain medication if I wanted it. I wasn’t too far in the labor process when I decided that I wanted to enjoy the childbirth process with little pain and opted for the epidural. It was a wonderful experience and one I repeated two more times.
Have the bag in a place you have easy access to. Items I included in my hospital bag were sweats, a sweatshirt, jammies, fresh clothes, nursing bra, nursing pads, chocolate, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and makeup. Also include an outfit for the baby and any additional items you want to have for your stay in the hospital to make it as homey as possible.
For all three of my boys, I opted to find out the sex of the baby as soon as possible. This made planning so much easier. I know what colors and patterns I wanted my little boys to wear, as well as the color themes on car seats, cribs, and other baby-related items. You should also stock up on diapers and wipes if possible. I typically started with two big packages of newborn sized diapers and then purchased more of the size 1 and size 2 diapers.
Although you may not be “in the mood” to take pictures, you’ll want pictures of the day your family changed forever. Your little one will appreciate those pictures some day in his or her future as well.
Take a deep breath and be the best parent you can be. You can do it!
Shannon is a stay-at-home mom of three boys – ages 6, 4, and almost 3. She loves to write on her blog, The Mommy-Files, where she posts about motherhood, family fun activities and cooking, conducts product reviews, and hosts giveaways.