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Preparing Yourself For a Newborn

19 September, 2012

Some time ago I was hoping to join The Nester in posting on ONE topic, EVERY day in October.  I had a few posts lined up and then it all fell in a heap.  I was going to write about Surviving with a Newborn.  But life intervened.  Rather than waste the posts, I’ll post what I have over the coming days and maybe I’ll get back to this topic another time ;-).

The easiest way to make life with a newborn smoother is to prepare.  This is true, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Anything you can do to prepare will make the transition easier and life in those first few weeks that bit smoother.

Of course, there are some things you can’t prepare for.  You can’t prepare for sleepless nights.  You can’t prepare for an unknown medical problem.  But there is a lot you can prepare for.

I’m going to spend the first week talking about different things that you can do to prepare for a newborn, and then we’ll get into the nitty gritty of surviving day-to-day with a newborn. And by newborn, I’m thinking the first twelve weeks or so.

I’d like to write about: preparing yourself, preparing your partner, preparing your children, preparing your toddler, preparing your house, preparing friends and family and preparing meals.  But since I will soon have a newborn myself…

So, on to today and preparing yourself.

If you’ve never cared for a young baby before, the prospect of having your first baby can be daunting.  You can allay any fears you have by reading trusted birth and baby care books, referring to a trusted website (rather than just randomly googling for some stranger’s opinion), asking friends and family and speaking with your GP or midwife.  Rest assured that every new parent feels like this, and that you are capable of caring for this tiny person you will very soon meet.

If you’re a mother already, you may also have concerns about how you’ll manage with another newborn in the house – whether you have one child or ten.  Reading what other people have done may help you to realise that it is possible to manage more children.  Talk with your spouse about how you’ve managed through the newborn stage before: what strategies you think will work again and what new strategies you could employ to make life easier.  You could also talk about mistakes you’ve made in the past (such as overdoing it in those early weeks, refusing offers of help etc) and how to avoid repeating those mistakes.

Another way you can prepare yourself is to look after yourself.  Make sure you are getting adequate sleep (around those inevitable midnight trips to the toilet, muscle cramps and other sleep-disturbers).  Take your multi-vitamin regularly, eat well, drink plenty of water.  Take it easy in the final weeks when your body is extra tired from the weight of the baby you are carrying around and the efforts of preparing for labour.  Take some time out for yourself and do something relaxing.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – you may even just put the kids to bed early one night and spend the evening sipping on a hot chocolate and watching a favourite movie.  If you can afford a massage, do it, but be sure to let your massage therapist know, when you make the booking, that you are heavily pregnant as this will impact what positions will be comfortable for you and what areas are safe to massage.

Try to relax as much as possible.  I know it’s hard when you’re tired and there are so many things calling your attention but the more rested and relaxed you are the better position you will be in to care for the new baby that will be arriving shortly.

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