Congratulations you are about to have a baby! It's exciting scary and a whole lot of daunting. You are about to start the journey of being a parent so let's get a little practical about what you can do and what you need during those first few weeks and months of parenthood. Here are a few suggestions that I believe should make this time a lot easier for you.
- You are both going to be exhausted and cooking is not something you're going to be looking forward to. Plan your meals for the first few weeks. If you have friends and family around it's good to let them know that you could use some help with food items let them know your allergies and your dietary restrictions. However you can't count on them to provide all of your meals. Costco and Trader Joe's are both places that have high quality pre-prepared meals that you can throw either in the oven or microwave to eat and keep you fed. The meals generally are tasty and healthy. If you have a service like Plated or Blue Apron you may want to set up some extra boxes for during that time so all you have to do is prepare the food. Most grocery stores now have delivery services. So, take advantage of shopping online and having your groceries delivered.
- Consider hiring a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula is a mother's helper who can help you figure out a sleep schedule, a feeding schedule, they can support you with breastfeeding if you're having issues can help you. They are extra support for your family while you adjust; especially during that first 12 weeks after you have the baby.(If you are not sure what a doula is checkout our Pre-Birth to Age 3 page for our interview with doulas). If you haven't already considered it talk with someone about placenta encapsulation. It works for some people and not for others but generally it helps you to maintain your hormone levels as you get healed from having the baby. I have heard reports from some who say it doesn't help at all to others saying it gives you a sense of euphoria and joy during this time. It's definitely worth looking into.
- Pre-plan for guest visits. If you know that your moms ared coming, sister, brothers,and cousins are coming during this time. Pre-plan so that everything is ready have all your towels and sheets clean, get extra toothpaste, soap, and deodorant. Be ready so that you can relax and know that they are taken care of and can enjoy being there to celebrate the new baby and helping you with other things which that will need to be done.
- Plan to sleep a lot especially mom now that you've had the baby you are going to be exhausted. When the baby is sleeping you should be sleeping too. Two things will help with this really well first make sure you are hydrated and staying hydrated. Second eat well! Eat a balanced rich-nutrient diet. If you are breastfeeding this an even more important; because the baby is getting all of their nutrients from you. Whatever nutrients you are not eating the milk will take from your system. Lots of mom end up with a calcium deficiency in their bones because of not eating enough green leafy vegetables and other items that are rich in calcium.
- Relax, relax, relax there's an old saying Rome was not built in a day. It means things take time so it is better to chill and let things take the time that they will need. If you are a new parent you're not going to be brillant at it right away. We are all different things that will exasperated frustrate you may not exasperate or frustrate someone else. Give yourself a break being a parent does not mean being superhuman it means being able to take a step back and look at what's going on and taking the time to make things better.
- Keep your camera or your phone close. They'll be times that you look across the room at your sweet baby and he think I need a picture of that. Keeping it clothes will help you NAB those moments.
- Pay close attention to one another. This time should be one of the most special times for you as a couple, bringing your new baby into the world together. It is very easy to allow yourself to get sidetracked and pay more attention to your newborn than you do to one another. Avoid this tendency. You made a vow to put your spouse ahead of all others like it or not this includes that precious bundle of joy that's about to enter your life. Make a plan to have at least two date nights during that 12 week time frame. You are still a couple first and your relationship is only the foundation of your family. Making and keeping that relationship a priority is what is going to keep your family together for the Long Haul don't forget that!
I know that you're excited. I know that you're scared. Just remember that being a good parent is all about living it one day at a time. You are not going to ruin your child by making a single mistake. It is the love, care, and attention that you give to them day by day, week by week, month by month, and year after year that creates a relationship for a lifetime.
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