Today I’m starting a new theme with another mom: 2 Moms Discuss. We will be doing this feature every other week on Wednesdays. This week we are discussing Preparing for a New Baby. See what Sarah has to say at Sarah’s Heart’s Home.
When I thought about doing this topic, I thought it would be easy. Until I made an outline. I am sure I won’t be able to cover half of what I would like to, but we’ll see.
There are three general ways we can prepare for a baby: physically, mentally or emotionally, and spiritually. I want to discuss a little of all three ways.
Before the baby arrives, you will need to make sure you have all the accessories you need. Unless you plan on co-sleeping, you’ll need a crib. If you’ve had a baby before, then you probably already have one. Clothes are another thing you’ll need. It is helpful to have enough outfits for the first six months on hand, because you probably won’t have much time or energy to go out and buy any right away. If you aren’t having a baby shower before the baby comes, you will need to assemble these things beforehand. If the baby shower comes before, then you can look at what you have and fill in the gaps. Also, think about other things you will need for the first month. Here is a good list to get you started.
You might also want to discuss names beforehand. Although you don’t have to have a name ready at birth, you might not have the energy to think about it for a while afterwards. I met a lady once with a month-old baby that was still unnamed! I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want that to happen to me!
Another way you can prepare is to stay in shape as much as possible. Of course, this does not mean you continue training for a marathon! It takes a lot of energy to “cook” a baby, so resting is important. But so is light physical exercise. Your doctor or midwife will probably give you a list of prenatal exercises. Do them. I wish I had, and I’m going to do my best to do them next time around! Also, walk a little every day. A mile or two at a gentle pace would not be amiss. I have a hard time with this, because I have back and hip problems that are exacerbated by pregnancy, and walking makes them even worse, but I found that with regular chiropractic, I was able to walk at least a little (around the yard) with my second pregnancy, and I was in much better shape as a result.
Another way to prepare is cooking ahead of time. Make meals and freeze them. Then you’ll have something to eat when the baby has been nursing all morning and you’re just too worn out to face the kitchen! Also stock up on healthy snack items, like crackers, dry cereal, dry fruit, canned foods, soups, and the like. That way you will be able to get something to eat even when you don’t have time or energy to fix a meal. It’s cheaper to fix food ahead of time than to buy frozen meals, and the ones you make are healthier too.
Also, make sure you have someone around for the first week or two to help out. This might be your husband, if he can take paternity leave, or your mother or mother-in-law. It could even be a neighbor or church member that lives nearby. In any case, you shouldn’t have to do anything in the way of cooking, cleaning, or taking care of other kids for at least a week, so make sure you have help. Don’t be ashamed to ask for it! My midwife wouldn’t even let me carry my son for the first 2 days. I could walk, but I had to get someone else to carry him, then hand him to me after I sat down. This was good advice, and I’m glad my Mom was around to help me out!
If you have children already, you will want to help them prepare for the new arrival. You can do this in a number of ways. When I was pregnant with my son, once I was showing, a started talking about the baby that was growing in Mommy’s tummy. When he started kicking enough to feel from the outside, I would put her hand on my tummy so she could feel the baby. We also talked about how much fun it would be to have a new baby. This helped a lot, I think, to prepare her for her brother’s arrival. When he showed up, she loved him and wanted to hold him all the time. Her not being jealous was a real blessing during those first few weeks!
One thing I wish I had done—and will do next time, is to work on discipline issues before the baby arrives. Let’s put it this way: the younger the child is, the easier it will be. And even though it seems like we have no energy during pregnancy, we will have even less after the baby comes. Not to mention time! If you have taught your children to obey the first time, life will be much easier on you when the new baby comes!
It is also good to take some time before the baby comes to establish priorities for after the birth. Think about things like your devotional life, a clean house, home-cooked meals, time with friends, etc. Do this before the baby arrives, because it will be harder to think rationally during those first few days. This is one thing that it would be good to discuss with your husband, too. He can help you see things better, and also help enforce your decisions after the baby comes!
And finally, accept what you can’t change. You’ve gained weight. It may or may not come off quickly after the birth. Stressing about this will only aggravate it.
Your husband isn’t perfect either. Now is not the time to change him. Of course, you will never be able to change him, but especially now just focus on accepting him for who he is.
Maybe you have a small house, or some other thing that you aren’t satisfied with. If so, learn to accept it. Your circumstances will probably change at some point, and even if they don’t, a cheerful attitude is better than a negative one.If all else fails, you might want to consider seeing a counselor to talk through your problems with.
Now that you are pregnant, you probably are cutting back on what you do. This means you will have more time to deepen your relationship with God. Take it. Don’t watch movies or play games to fill the time. Read your Bible and other devotional books and spend more time in prayer. This is probably the most important thing you can do! Especially pray for the new baby.
Something else: Now is a good time to work on your bad habits. Now when you are not overwhelmed with the responsibility of a newborn, ask the Lord what areas He would have you focus on, and start creating good habits. Once something is a habit, you won’t have to think much about doing it, and that will be a blessing when the baby is born! For example, if you have created the habit of picking up your Bible or devotional book when you were too tired to do anything else, you will probably keep doing it when you sit down to nurse the baby (once you have nursing down pat, anyhow). This will make it easier to resist the temptation to turn on the TV and fill your mind with junk!
Wow! That’s a lot of things to think about. Don’t let it overwhelm you, though. Remember, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13.
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