Whether you’re having a baby, adopting a baby or becoming a grandparent, there are many things to do in order to get ready for the newborn baby in your life. Some of them you can prepare for, some of them, no matter how much we talk about it, you’ll never understand until you hold that baby in your arms.
Newborns have special powers and when that washes over you as a new parent or grandparent you’ll finally know a few more keys to the universe that only those in the same club as you understand. It’s a very powerful time for you and yours. Take the time to truly enjoy every moment because before you know it they’re no longer newborns. They’re toddlers. Then you will have a whole new agenda to get used to.
HOW LIFE CHANGES AFTER BABY
Everyone tells you that life changes after you have a baby but you’re not going to get it until you experience it. But, this list includes some universal facts that it will help you to know about in advance so that you can get prepared for what is to come.
No Sleep When You Want It
If you’re smart, you’ll take paternity leave seriously. You’ll never again, at least while your baby is an infant, sleep on a normal nighttime schedule. But, babies do sleep a lot, just not in long stretches. You’re more than likely going to sleep 2 to 3 hours at the most at a time.
Your job is to sleep while the baby sleeps. If you’re nursing, you’ll need to let your spouse do chores while you’re nursing, then join you for sleep while you’re baby is sleeping. This is your only job for at least the first four to six weeks after bringing the baby home.
No Sex before Sleeping Time
Mom can’t have sex at least for six weeks after the birth, but oftentimes this lasts much longer, mainly because you likely had a sex before sleeping time schedule, like most people. Now you’ll have to change your sex schedule if you want to continue partaking. Consider sex in the shower while your baby is sleeping right after feeding. You can get clean, and spend important alone time with your spouse that you may not get otherwise.
No Alone/me Time but it’s OK
Before you had a baby, you and your spouse probably liked spending time alone, or out with the girls or guys. Now that you have a baby, that will change a lot. You will need any free time to be spent working on your marriage, or cleaning your house. The days of going to the man cave to watch football or play video games are over, but not forever. Just during the time when you’re establishing the new schedule and working out a new way to balance your life.
You’re No Longer Fearless
The strangest thing happens the moment you see your newborn for the first time. Before your baby you may have thought risk taking was fun, and now you see things differently and may even fear death in a way that you never have before. Now you feel like your life is fragile, as is the baby’s and it scares you. Know that as your child ages, while you’ll never be fearless again, you will develop a new kind of strength.
Your Body is Different but You Respect It More
This is mostly for moms but even the spouse can appreciate the power of the mother’s body. While you may be marked up a little more, you and your spouse know how much every little stretch mark or extra bit of fat meant to get that little precious infant into the world. You can wear your scars with pride and your spouse will appreciate every line that is created because this is part of life and proves you’ve lived.
Love Increases for Your Spouse
If you had a close relationship prior to the birth of your baby now it’s going to go off the rails. The love you feel for each other over what you’ve created together will grow and expand in a way you never thought even possible. You will both appreciate things about each other you never knew about the way each of you steps up when the other is ready to fall down. The shared love for your baby will surround you in a bubble of happiness.
Eating Out Becomes Ordering In
Before your baby you probably enjoyed eating out every week at least. Maybe you called it “date night” but whatever you called it, while you have a newborn you’re not going to want to get out of the house too much. First, driving around with an infant is scary, plus you’re going to feel a little out of it due to lack of sleep for a while so staying in is preferable. Now you can order in, for date night, and find a way to get more sleep instead.
You Have a New Appreciation for your Folks
Even if you had a contentious relationship with your parents prior to the baby coming, once it comes, you’ll actually feel more connected to them than ever before. You’ll finally feel the type of feelings they felt when they first saw you and held you. That will help you appreciate them more, mistakes and all, in a whole new grownup way. You’ve never been an adult quite like this before.
You Lose Some Old Friends
Now that you have an infant it will be hard to maintain some of your single friends. They will tire of hearing about your baby in great detail and will start to separate themselves from you. This is a natural progression of adulthood as you go through these stages you’ll naturally seek out others who are like you to experience them with. Even some of your friends with older children who aren’t at the same stage in life will seem to vanish. But, after time you may come back together, but try to not to be sad, this is all normal.
You’re Far More Emotional
It’s normal that after your baby comes, that you find yourself tearing up more. If you’re the mommy this is somewhat due to hormones, but if you’re the other parent it’s due to letting the floodgates of emotion into your life. You finally are experiencing the greatest love known to humans, and it makes you start loving almost everyone around you even more.
Each Day is an Adventure
You may have had more plans before, but now each day is an adventure. You’re no longer in control of the schedule; the infant is, at least for a couple of months. Therefore, each new day is an adventure awaiting you. You’ll learn more about your baby every single day, and you’ll discover new delights as time passes. The adventure needs to be savored, it will go by fast.
You Have a New Appreciation for Silence
You may have liked head banging loud music before you had your baby, but now silence will seem like music to your ears. You’ll want to take advantage of having that silence as much as possible. It will help you be more focused on everything you need to get done and everything that you want to get done.
You Feel an Affinity for Other Parents
Now that you’re a parent, you’ll feel less irritated by other children disrupting your shopping experience. You’ll smile reassuringly at other parents when their baby is throwing a fit in the grocery store, and you’ll forgive the parents who tried to have a nice evening out with their screaming infant in tow.
You Realize Your Animals Are Just Animals
Some of you may not agree with this, but be honest with yourself when you have that baby. That doesn’t mean that you’ll get rid of your pets, but it does put them on a different level of importance. You’ll still love your pets, but your child will come first. If your child is allergic, or the pet is aggressive, you’ll do the right thing. This is natural, and in fact an imperative to ensure the safety of your children and your pets.
You Develop a New Appreciation for Showers
You may have enjoyed the occasional long shower, and hot bath before the baby came. Now a five minute shower is a luxury. You’ll appreciate every moment you get to wash in the shower because you won’t get to do it as often as you did before the newborn came into your life. Buy some shower gel that you like so that you can make each shower extra enjoyable.
You’ll experience a lot of changes when the baby comes. But, even if it looks like sacrifices now, before the baby comes, it will feel completely wonderful once you see your baby, hold your baby, smell your baby and experience the joys that your infant will bring.
10 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR HAVING YOUR BABY
Before you can have your infant in your life, you’ll need to go through childbirth – unless you adopted. In that case many things in this report might not align with your experience but many of them will because other than that one thing you’ll still experience everything else. But, if you’re having a baby or your partner is having a baby, follow these ways to prepare.
1. Learn about childbirth – Read everything you can about the experience of childbirth. You can watch YouTube.com videos, read personal stories on blogs, and read professionally written books to help you prepare for childbirth. The more you can read the better. The reason is that each experience is so unique that reading more stories will help you learn about all the possibilities.
2. Choose a pediatrician – Your little one is not here yet, but you need to pick a doctor. Usually they have waiting lists, so it’s important during the last trimester to choose your pediatrician. Your OBGYN may have some recommendations. Usually, if you like your doctor you’ll like their recommendations.
3. Discuss issues with your spouse – Before your baby is born you may want to discuss your parenting philosophy. Do you believe in circumcision? What about breast feeding? Bottle feeding? Attachment parenting? Even delve into later issues like discipline so that you both can know where you stand and work out those issues before you have to deal with them.
4. Talk to experienced parents – You likely have other parents in your life who are experienced and have gone through the newborn phase. If so, ask them to tell you the honest truth and name at least one or two things they wish they’d known about or would do differently given the chance.
5. Prepare siblings, grandparents & pets – It’s important that you prepare your other children for life after baby as much as it is that you get your pets ready. You also need to talk to the grandparents about what you need help with or what you’d rather not have help with. They’ll be grateful you took the time to talk to them.
6. Determine if you’ll hire help – If you have to go back to work, you may be considering hiring help. You can hire a nanny, an au pair, or a baby sitter to help you out with your infant. You may instead just want to hire someone to come in and do the cooking and cleaning during the first 8 weeks of your child’s life to take some of the heat off you and your spouse.
7. Have a plan of action for labor – Be sure to share with your spouse your expectations about labor and delivery so that they can advocate for what you need. Realize that things may not go as planned no matter what, but having a plan can make you more prepared for the unexpected if you know and your partner knows how to deal with the issues as they arise.
8. Know who will attend the birth – Today, parents often invite grandparents, siblings and others to be around during labor. But, if you don’t want to do that, it’s okay. Let your spouse know who you want there, and let your labor and delivery team know as well. They’ll take care of this part for you.
9. Pack your bag – Get a bag packed the last month of your pregnancy so that you’ll be ready with the go home items. If you have your baby naturally, you’ll likely be out of the hospital within 24 to 48 hours of delivery so there may not be much time for your spouse to figure out what you want on their own.
10. Get your home in shape – Clean the house, precook meals for the freezer, and make sure that everything is easy to do. Having the right tools, storage, and equipment can help. If you get prepared in advance, and learn to do things more efficiently (try looking at flylady.net) you will be able to handle the new baby easier and still keep your home clean.
While you cannot plan for every contingency, you can develop plans and alternative plans based on possibilities. Having a set of plans will help you ensure that you have a chance of making everything work out in a way that you’re satisfied with.
10 THINGS ALL GRANDPARENTS NEED FOR NEWBORN BABIES
If you’re a grandparent getting ready for the birth of your grandchild, or if you have parents whom you want to be ready, these are some items that you may want to ensure that they have at their home assuming they live close by. Even if you just go over with the baby and don’t leave the baby, not having to transport these items in addition to the baby will be a great time saver.
1. Stroller – Going for a nightly walk in fresh air is very helpful for a baby’s sleep. Plus, it’s a nice way to calm the baby down or even just help yourself by getting some exercise.
2. Portable Crib – The baby will need to sleep and will do so more safely and comfortably in a crib. Sleeping with an infant is dangerous for parents and even more dangerous for grandparents.
3. Car Seat – Bringing the car seat in and out of the car can be a pain, so why not ensure that the grandparent has their own so that they’re always ready to take the baby when needed.
4. Bathtub – Babies are easier to wash in their own little tubs made the right size for them. It’ll be easier on grandparents to have the right tools. Even just using a bath sponge for newborns can make it a lot easier.
5. Swing – Need to keep the baby quiet? Swings work wonders. There are many ranges of swings to buy; if you get one with a bassinet in it you can use it as the infant bed and as a swing.
6. Childproofing – Even though the infant won’t be walking around too fast, it’s best to get childproofing out of the way sooner rather than later because they grow in a blink of an eye.
7. Bottles – If mommy is nursing you may not need your own bottles as mommy will bring pumped breast milk with her. But, if the baby is formula fed, having your own bottles will cut down on the amount of packing that needs to be done.
8. Blankets – Having various types of blankets, burping clothes and so forth is a great thing to do because no one can ever pack enough for a visit.
9. Cloth Nappies – Buying cloth diapers can be a big help so that if you run out of other diapers there is always a backup.
10. Baby Soap/Shampoo – Babies have sensitive skin, so you have to use a specially formulated soap and shampoo so that you don’t dry out their skin.
There are numerous items you can get ready at the grandparent’s house to avoid having to pack so much each visit. If the grandparents will be watching the child while the parents work, they may need essentially double the things that parents have to make transporting the baby from place to place much easier and less painful.
10 THINGS NEW PARENTS MAY NEED
There are always things to put on a list that you may not have previously considered. This list includes items that you may need as new parents but which aren’t a necessity, though they are nice to have.
1. Nursing Bras – It might seem hard to purchase a nursing bra before the baby is born but you should buy at least one, and after the baby try to have at least four or five so that you have something to wear when the other bra is in the wash. You’ll have to guess about the size as close to delivery. Your cup size may go up, so get a bra that has give and stretch. Sleeping bras are a good choice because you’ll have to wear it all the time once your milk comes in to prevent leaks.
2. Cleaned & Organized Home – You can do this yourself in the last month of pregnancy or you can hire someone to get your house ready for you. There are actually cleaning companies that specialize in helping new parents get ready for the baby. If you can’t afford to pay for help, try asking the grandparents or friends to give you a hand.
3. Precooked Meals – The last month of your pregnancy, try doubling every recipe you make and freezing half of it. It’s called “feeding the freezer” and is a great way to ensure that you have enough healthy meals prepared for after the baby comes home.
4. Chore List for Dad – If you’re going to be nursing, dad sometimes has no idea what to do, but you can help by making up a chore list for daddy to do while you’re nursing. Let daddy do the after nursing care, diapering, and that type of thing so that he feels involved with the baby, but also have him doing most of the cleaning because you need to heal.
5. Food Delivery List – Prepare a list of phone numbers of all the food establishments in your area that deliver to help you out in a pinch. You may burn things, or otherwise be unprepared when you’re all starving to death. Getting food delivered can be a godsend.
6. Larger Baby Clothing – Everyone is likely going to buy gifts that consist of newborn sized clothing. When you buy things, buy larger clothing. Get see through bins, that you can label to put the right size clothing in view to make it easier to find and organize.
7. Stocked Changing Table – Set up the changing table and ensure it is full of diapers, wipes, ointments and anything else you will need while you are changing the baby on the table. Having everything within reach is essential because even infants can roll off surfaces.
8. Arrangements for Older Children – If you have older children, they will need someone to care for them while you’re in the hospital. You may have grandparents who can do that, but often the grandparents want to be present or in the hospital at the birth. It might be nice to get someone else to care for the child while everyone else is at your side.
9. Automated Bills – Today, most banks have the ability to pay bills automatically. If you can set up most of your bills to be paid in this manner you’ll reduce one chore down to minutes, saving you enormous time and effort.
10. Privacy – Your friends and family will want to visit you after the birth, but what you should do is give them a date at least two weeks down the line to come by and visit. That way, you and your little family can get some needed privacy during the first difficult but wonderful couple of weeks.
These things may be hard to get, or sometimes even seem impossible or even like a luxury but they will make the first weeks with the newborn much more pleasant and less fraught with problems.
EATING RIGHT AND BEING HEALTHY FOR NEW PARENTS
When you bring home baby, sometimes it can seem very hard to be healthy. Going to the gym seems impossible, even if you could go; you’re too exhausted to go. Eating right seems impossible too due to being exhausted. Sometimes it seems easier to grab a bag of chips or a handful of cookies just because you’re too tired to care. But, taking care of yourself is even more important now than ever before.
When you ride in an airplane the airline attendant teaches you to get oxygen for yourself before assisting anyone else including your children. When you have a new baby in the house, it’s even more important to pay attention to your health. You want to be around for the baby as long as possible, plus you’ll do a better job if you’re fed right, well rested and happy.
• Stay Hydrated – Don’t forget to drink plenty of plain filtered tap water. You’d be shocked at how dehydrated you can get, especially if you’re nursing. Plus, lack of sleep can make you feel tired and lousy, but drinking plenty of fluids can reverse some of the negative problems with not sleeping enough. Make it a habit of filling a big glass with water before you sit down to nurse, bottle feed, or cuddle. Try to always be drinking water during your every waking moment.
• Eat Enough Calories – You may think you have no time to cook, or that you don’t need to worry about calories. But, if you’re nursing, eating enough calories is essential to helping your milk supply come in. One way to do that, while also making sure the food you eat is healthy is to keep raw fruit and veggies around at all times. Snacking on a banana rather than a cracker is always going to be healthier and provide essential nutrients your body needs.
• Exercise – When you first have a baby, you really do not need to worry about exercising in the sense of working out. But, you should try to get at least a short walk in each day. The more you move around the more you will heal. Walking just ten minutes a day can make a huge difference in how fast you heal.
• Sleep – It will seem impossible to get enough of any of these things, especially sleep, when you have a newborn infant. But, you can try to work each thing into your day when you realize the importance. Sleep is regenerative and will help you get better and feel normal sooner. Sleep each time your baby sleeps even if it’s 2 in the afternoon. Turn off electronics and the phone and sleep as comfortably as you can while your baby sleeps and you’ll feel more able to conquer all that you need to do.
Drinking enough water, eating enough food, moving around and sleeping are all essentials to anyone’s life. But a new parent needs these things more than they need anything else during the first critical 8 to 12 weeks after the baby is born. If you can make these things a priority in your life right now, you’ll be so much better off for it.
DEVELOPING A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR PRIORITIES
All of this information is likely pretty overwhelming. You probably aren’t sure where to start first. But, understand that when you have a new baby your priorities are different. Lunch with your friends, watching your favorite TV show, or doing other solo activities that you used to enjoy may not be possible during the first weeks of your child’s life. Trying to keep up the same pace you had before the baby was born, even during your pregnancy, may be completely impossible now. But, know that it’s okay.
Work Seems Less Fun
Even if you like your work, once you have a baby it just seems like less fun. It seems like something you must do, but something you’d rather put off to be with your baby. This is true for both dads and moms but sometimes moms have extra added pressure surrounding her choices from friends, family, society and hormones.
What might have seemed simple to do before you had the baby will become all too real for you once you start checking out child care choices. This is normal. If you have to work to make ends meet then you’ll have to find a way to get through it. If you don’t though, and you can find a way to be around more often for your baby, do it. Whether you’re a mom or a dad you’ll never regret reorganizing your life to be there for your baby.
Your work may offer flex hours, or job sharing, or maybe you can start a business from home that generates reliable income so that you don’t have to make that choice at all. Work can be very fulfilling but once you have the baby you realize how fleeting the time is that they’re an infant and if you can work something out you’ll be glad you did.
Relationships Seem Harder
It’s not that you don’t love your spouse, or your friends. You do. But now that you have this beautiful and cuddly creature in your life you may not feel the pull to be with them as much in quite the same way. Your love will be deeper for your spouse but you might show it differently now than in the past.
Mothers go through a huge change through pregnancy and child birth. They have hormones rushing through their body that causes a lot of changes that they cannot control or change. Nor should they, it’s all a natural thing to help the mom love and protect the baby even more than they ever thought possible.
Dads also go through a huge change in how they see themselves, their wife and their life. Sometimes they feel pushed away, but other times they feel even more love and acceptance than before. They might even feel as if they have to compete with the new baby for love and affection.
These changes can cause relationships between spouses to seem harder and in some ways less fulfilling. This is not something that is a sign of divorce. The feelings are normal. Mom feels “touched out” dad feels ignored. But you can fix it. Daddy can offer to do more with the baby, while mom can let him even if he doesn’t do it the way she would. It takes two to make a baby and it takes two to get through infancy.
Money Seems Like More of a Problem
Even if you both had good jobs, and had savings, having a baby creates a huge hit to your finances. You might even lose one income in the process. You always need more things than you thought you needed. What was important before, vacations, eating out, going to movies, and so forth is no longer important. Now ensuring you’re in a safe neighborhood, that you can afford good food, above standard child care, and college is important.
It might even feel as if the fun has totally left your financial life and you’re only working for needed items now instead of to enjoy life to the fullest. But, you have to put things into perspective. Childhood is short. It’s only about 22 years including college, and really it’s even less when you consider your physical time as teenagers are very independent. When you put that into perspective, it will seem a lot less daunting.
Plus, you still should spend some of your money on yourself. Most financial advisors don’t even advise parents to save for their child’s college but to instead focus on their retirement. Let the children focus on their education by getting good grades. Spend money on tutors instead so your child can get good scores and earn scholarships and you can go on a yearly vacation instead.
Money can cause a lot of problems in a relationship, especially with children involved if the parents disagree on these priorities. Sit down with your spouse and hash these things out so that you’re prepared and have a plan going forward.
Your Friendships Will Change
If you have a lot of childless friends now, expect that they will start hanging around different friends now who don’t have children. It’s not that they are jerks; it’s just that “birds of a feather flock together”. Look around at the friends you have right now and if most of them have no children and this is your first baby – that’s why. As your friends move into this stage of life they’ll gravitate back to you.
If you find that you need to develop new friendships consider finding a club like a new mom club. You may find them via Meetup.com or via Facebook.com. Even if your friends don’t drop like flies from day one, they will slowly move away from you unless they are also at the stage of having children. Forgive them and try not to be resentful. If you have the need to get out of the house without kids or spouse for a quick lunch, give them a call. They’ll still be there.
If you had friends in the past that had children and seem to have disappeared from your life reconnect. Invite them to your baby shower. These friends will still be there for you and be glad to hear from you now that you’re joining the parent club.
It’s clear that having a baby is a life changing experience. For all the sacrifice you have to make, it will all be worth it. When you see your baby in your arms the first time, with pure love and trust on their face, none of it will seem like a problem. It’ll all feel like it’s worth it, most of the time (after all we all have down times) that’s why it’s always good to craft a plan of action, so that both you and your spouse, your parents, your other kids and the pets are ready for your newborn baby to come home and join the family.