New Mum Essentials: 12 Ways to Prepare for Your First Baby
Having a baby can be overwhelming for first-time mums, especially if you like to be as prepared as possible. As other mums will be quick to tell you, there’s no way to fully prepare for bringing a new baby into your life.
That being said, there are plenty of things you can do to feel more prepared, which in turn can put you in a more positive mindset. Being in a good frame of mind can help you adapt to the changing needs of your bub and adjust to your new, exciting lifestyle.
- 1 1. Talk to your doctor about your birth plan – and backup plan
- 2 2. Meditate
- 3 3. Tie up loose ends
- 4 4. Organise
- 5 5. Join a mother’s group
- 6 6. Avoid the social media spiral
- 7 7. Keep a journal
- 8 8. Ask for help
- 9 9. More stuff is not the same as being more prepared
- 10 10. Stock up on laundry detergent
- 11 11. You know more than you think
- 12 12. Let go of expectations
1. Talk to your doctor about your birth plan – and backup plan
As your due date nears, you might start to feel anxious about what’s to come. This is totally normal, so it can help to go over the details of what to expect when the baby arrives. Whether you’re having a C-section or vaginal birth, ask your doctor to go through the steps with you. Identify what’s making you nervous and ask specifically about that aspect.
Once your baby comes, time for meditation and relaxation may be limited. Take ten minutes a day during pregnancy to clear your mind and calm your thoughts; more if you are that way inclined. Meditation can help pregnant women de-stress, which is good for mum and baby. Not sure where to start? Try a guided meditation app like Headspace.
3. Tie up loose ends
If you have any unfinished projects to do around the house, now’s the time to do them. Once the baby comes, those projects could remain unfinished for a long time. Be realistic about what you can achieve; it probably isn’t the time to start a whole-house remodel. Focus on small goals that will feel good to tick off the list, like painting the bathroom or framing a stack of photos.
Mums-to-be famously have the urge to nest, and for good reason. Preparing your home for the baby’s arrival now is a way to make it easier for your future self, when you don’t have time to put things in place. Focus on the baby’s room, looking for ways to simplify processes like diaper-changing or laundry. You may change it all in a month’s time, but it helps to feel more prepared.
5. Join a mother’s group
If you haven’t already joined a mother’s group, now could be a good time. Ask at your hospital or a local childcare centre if there are any groups around; alternatively you can ask around among mums you know. Having a support group of women who are going through a similar experience can be extremely helpful.
We’ve all been there: you hop onto Facebook to see what’s new, and five minutes later you’re years-deep into vacation photos of someone you barely know. Social media can be a trap for new mums. It bombards you with photos of impossibly perfect nurseries and gourmet baby food recipes that no new mum should feel the pressure to create. Put down the phone and focus on your surroundings, not the virtual world.
7. Keep a journal
Journaling can be a nice way to process your complicated feelings about becoming a mum. You can write down your thoughts knowing that you won’t be judged on them. What’s more, it can be helpful to look back on the journal down the line, especially if you have another child in future.
8. Ask for help
Whether you’re waiting on labour, planning to be induced, or are already scheduled for a C-section, things are going to happen fast. Once the baby is born, you might be overwhelmed by the things you don’t have time for. Your body will be recovering, plus you’ll be consumed with looking after your little one. It’s okay to ask for help from friends and family, whether it’s in cooking meals or picking something up from the pharmacy.
9. More stuff is not the same as being more prepared
If you’ve got the basics, like a cot, nappies, some clothes, and a baby seat, then you’re doing fine. Your baby doesn’t need a full wardrobe, a musical mobile, or nine versions of toy giraffes to thrive. It can be tempting to shop up a storm before the baby comes, but experience is the best teacher when it comes to knowing what you need.
10. Stock up on laundry detergent
No matter how many baby clothes you do have, expect to do loads of washing. Buy laundry detergent in bulk so you don’t get stuck with a growing pile of tiny, dirty clothes.
11. You know more than you think
Haven’t memorised What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Don’t worry about it and trust your instincts. First-time mums often worry that they won’t know what to do, but you may be surprised at how much comes naturally. After all, this is your baby, not anyone else’s.
12. Let go of expectations
This is easier said than done, but other people’s expectations—as well as your own—can make new motherhood a nerve-wracking experience. Take it one day at a time and enjoy learning about your baby, rather than worrying about what you ‘should’ be doing. Chances are, you’re doing a great job!