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Preparing for Motherhood: 8 Ways to Prepare to be a New Mom
There are a ton of books out there that are a goldmine where it concerns preparing to be a first time mom.
Motherhood is a journey, one that never ends (hopefully) and while it’s fun and fulfilling, it can also get a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re just joining the club.
Of course, there will be a few things that will come naturally to you, even if you’ve never held a newborn before, however, most will have to be learned and I recommend doing so before your baby actually arrives.
When I first became pregnant, I was lucky to stumble upon a now-defunct pregnancy group online that helped me tons at the time. This group consisted of a few first-time moms, several veterans, some midwives and nurses, and a few doctors. It was easy for the first time moms to ask questions, knowing we were getting expert, professional answers.
For the longest of time, I was a silent member in the group, just generally soaking up as much information as I could and being so amazed at this new world.
Now, while the group is no more, the knowledge I got from that group isn’t and will forever stay fresh with me.
I am looking to share from the wealth of knowledge and experience gained from there and hope this information helps one mother as much as it did me.
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8 Things to Do When Preparing for Motherhood
1) Prepare Emotionally and Mentally for Your Baby’s Arrival
This is the first thing you want to get settled when preparing to be a first time mom.
Motherhood is hard, hard work, but nothing else compares to it when it comes to how fulfilled it will make you.
There will be sleepless nights (actually, you’ll be lucky to get up to six hours of sleep those first few weeks), and breastfeeding round the clock. There might also be cracked nipples, which is a whole new world of experience.
But on the other side of the scale tipping much lower will be that feeling of your heart almost bursting out of your chest each time you hold your baby in your arms, of your joy when she turns up that smile on you for the first time, and your feeling of awe when she makes that first cooing sound.
(I actually called my mom up who was several kilometers away to gleefully inform her my baby just spoke her first word)!
The joys of being a mom are heart-bursting, but the challenges can also get a little overwhelming. You want to therefore prepare yourself mentally and emotionally, at least until you get used to it and it becomes second nature to you.
2) Prepare Financially
Preparing for motherhood also entails making plans financially for your baby’s arrival.
There will be baby items to be purchased, even if you get gifted some by friends and families. There will also be the hospital bills to take care of, which could be a hefty fee, depending on how you had your baby (vaginal birth or a cesarean section).
Beyond this, babies grow fast and soon you would need to replace all the clothes you’ve got!
A little secret though: try getting just a handful of newborn cloth sizes and the rest in the 3-6 month sizes that way your baby wears them for longer.
For diapers, you don’t want to get too many of the size one also, in case your baby outgrows it faster. I recommend getting diapers in size 2 as babies tend to use this size a lot longer.
Another reason to go easy on buying newborn-sized diapers is that it is a popular gift option for people. You don’t want to buy a lot of these only to end up with a lot more you won’t be using.
If you are on a budget, another thing you want to consider is the option of reusable diapers. Considering the fact babies go through an estimated 3,000 diapers the first year alone, this is one option worth looking into.
3) Talk to Friends and Family about Offering Help
Your friends and family would likely give you the hint about what to expect those first few weeks and you could ask them if they would be kind enough to help out in any way when your baby arrives.
Any kind of help you get during this time would go a long way as you’d be able to get some much-needed rest or even have a lot more time to bond with your baby.
4) Reach Out to Other Parents
Reaching out to other parents in your vicinity is another good way to prepare for motherhood.
These guys are ahead in this field and know just what it takes to ace the motherhood job. They will have a wealth of knowledge and experience as well as a few tricks to help especially at those times when conventional methods don’t seem to be producing the desired results.
The best part is that a lot of parents are always willing and ready to assist new mothers, seeing as they know just how hard it can be transitioning to early motherhood.
5) Observe Other Parents
On the other hand, if you would rather not ask, then you could also just watch parents to learn and pick up a few things.
Remember how when you first became pregnant you started seeing a lot of pregnant women around you? It’s the same with parenting. We tend to notice things a lot more when it’s happening to us.
Being a new parent, you will suddenly start seeing other parents a lot clearer. You will notice how they play with their kids, how they handle those little issues like a child falling and crazing his knee, or how they cope in a stressful situation and it’s would be easy to learn one or two things from just watching them.
Doing this is not as fast or effective as asking, you will however pick up a few parenting tips that could help you a lot as you go.
6) Practice Putting Another’s Need Above Yours for a Specified Time
This is more like a simulation of how your life is going to be going forward. One of the things you’ll quickly learn when preparing to be a first time mom is that motherhood entails a lot of love and selfless living.
You will find yourself putting another’s needs (your baby’s) above yours all the time. It will come as second nature to you; an instinct you carry out without even stopping to think of It.
So you want to get started practicing it now. You could take a few days out to practice giving all of yourself to someone else, not just for a few hours, but the whole day throughout this period.
Now, while the results will not be entirely the same, they will give you an idea of what is to come.
When I tried this, I discussed with my husband about him being the recipient of my undivided love and attention for a few days (like I literally had to wait on him hand and foot). This was slightly different from our usually loving and giving relationship. I had to put a little more of myself out there and in the end, I felt just a little spent.
When our baby arrived, however, and I had to practice the same, the results were completely different. Giving 100% of my love and attention to her had me bursting emotionally with joy.
Yes, it took a little getting used to in the beginning, especially the odd hours, but it was completely worth every minute of it.
7) Practice Keeping Calm
Needing to keep calm won’t happen until your baby is well into his toddler age, but when it does, you’ll be lucky to get the chance to even practice this.
The terrible twos (when your toddler becomes two and starts to assert his independence) can be a funny time as you see your baby (I think they’ll forever remain that) try to assert some sort of independence.
When your little one starts transitioning to this mode, it can make you feel a bit like you are on a roller coaster ride, however, learning to stay calm in the face of his many tantrums means they last only a short while.
There are other tips for managing tantrums during this time in your toddler’s life, however, being less upset is the first time.
8) Switch Up Your Eating Habits
Certain foods we eat are not bad in themselves, but they could be a bit less healthy if you have a bun in the oven or are a new mom.
There are certain foods you should avoid in pregnancy to keep your little one safe and developing as she should.
You also want to limit or avoid altogether the following foods when breastfeeding:
- Fish high in mercury
- Caffeine, which newborns have a hard time breaking and eliminating from their systems
- Certain herbal supplements like parsley, sage, and peppermint
- Spicy foods, if your baby is gassy or colicky
- Milk, which some babies or toddlers react to
Preparing for motherhood sometimes requires a bit of sacrifice, but it is always worth it in the end.