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Having a baby is one of the seminal moments in anyone’s life. Mothers and fathers alike can’t help but be impacted by the massive shift in lifestyle, schedule, responsibility, and overall mindset that caring for a newborn entails.
There’s no doubt that the experience is a wonderful blessing. However, it also comes with some hefty responsibility. If you have a baby on the way, there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind in order to make the transition from pregnancy to caring for a newborn as smooth as possible.
While there are plenty of obvious things, like finding a good doctor and learning about the birthing process, these tips look a bit deeper towards some of the things that tend to catch new parents by surprise.
1. Consider Your Budget
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and buy everything you think you could possibly ever need in order to help raise your child. However, it’s important to pause before you hop onto Amazon or rush out to the nearest store. Before committing to a baby spending spree, take the time to seriously go over your budget. Break down what you used to spend your money on as well as what you need to spend your money on in the future, and then make sure to balance out your needs and wants in order to keep your preparations within your income. If you will be having a baby shower, wait to purchase things until you see what you still need after the party happens.
2. Consider the Environment
No, we’re not talking about the green movement here (though that’s never a bad thing to think about!). We’re talking about the environment of your home. If this is your first child, there’s a good chance your home isn’t set up to have a baby living in it quite yet. Make sure to consider things like stairs, fireplaces, and other hazards that could cause issues once the new baby starts to crawl. If you already have kids, remember that they must be taught to be aware of things like keeping their smaller toys and gadgets away from their new brother or sister and shutting baby gates behind them.
In addition, consider getting a purifier in order to keep the air clean, as the air inside a home is often dirtier than the air outside. A purifier can be especially helpful if you have pets that shed. Also, if you wear your shoes inside, consider implementing a no-shoes policy. Soon a tiny baby mouth is going to be inches from the floor, and you don’t want to track all of that dirt and other junk into the house. In short, consider your space and make sure it’s clean and safe.
3. Practice Mindfulness in Public
The U.S. has some of the highest crime rates in the world. While that doesn’t mean there’s a criminal lurking around every corner, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when out in public. This is even truer when you have another human being to care for. While you don’t want to begin fretting and worrying about every possibility (see the next section for that one), it’s helpful to practice being mindful of your surroundings whenever you’re out in public.
4. Arm Yourself Against Anxiety
There are countless reasons for a new parent to feel stressed out. Things like concern over the baby’s weight or the inability to keep up with things like chores or sleep can be acutely distressing. That’s why it’s important to take the time to mentally prepare yourself for the struggles ahead. Meditate and relax on a daily basis. Set expectations and mentally prepare yourself for the challenges that come with parenthood.
5. Care for Your Own Health, Too
It’s easy to focus on the health of the baby. However, it’s also important to make sure that you care for your own needs, as well. Obviously part of that comes in the form of striving to take care of yourself after the baby comes. You can do this by trying to get adequate sleep (even if it involves working around a new sleep schedule) and putting yourself on a healthy diet. In addition, before the new member of the family arrives, it’s also smart to take the time to get yourself screened for any illnesses or concerns on your own part in order to make sure that you’re in tip-top shape post-delivery.
6. Plan a Move Carefully
Often having a child can precipitate a move. Whether you’re finally ditching that two-bedroom apartment to your first home, shifting from a smaller house to a bigger one, or even just trying to move closer to family, a move can be a stressful event — especially if you already have kids. Make sure to time your move carefully, maintain an exciting atmosphere as you go, and check in on everyone involved on a regular basis.
Being Prepared Matters
It’s tempting to assume that everything will just work itself out, but when you’re expecting a baby, it can definitely be wise to proactively take the time to prepare. The truth is, everything will eventually work itself out, but that doesn’t change the fact that if you put in a little effort beforehand, it can make the entire experience go that much smoother.
Not only that but the more prepared you are when you have your baby, the more you’ll be able to focus on what really counts: enjoying your time with your new family member. It doesn’t take long before babies become toddlers, then kids, and then teenagers. If you want to be able to slow down and enjoy the present, make sure to do yourself a favor and prepare for the future.