Saturday, August 27, 2005

You're Ready for Baby . . . or Are You?

It is a hectic time to be sure! Suddenly there is so much to think about that your head feels as if it's spinning all the time. There are many things that first-time expectant moms think about from the moment they find out that they are about to welcome a new baby into the world.

By the same token, there are some things that you may not think about until after the baby arrives and by then it could very well be a stress producer. No one needs more stress, so take some time to think about a few matters, make plans, and you will feel much more relaxed after the big day arrives.

Have you thought about whether you will breast or bottle feed? If breast feeding is your choice, do you have nursing bras and nursing pads? If you have chosen to bottle feed, have you bought the bottles, accessories, a warmer, etc.?

Has your doctor mentioned childbirth classes? If he or she hasn't, it is really never too early to ask about it and find out what to expect at the classes and when they start. If the doctor doesn't know of any being held in your area, ask other new parents.

If you have been working outside of the home, have you thought about how long your maternity leave will be? Along with that comes making sure that you will be covered by insurance and even have a job to go back to. Often these things are a given, but it really is a better idea to make sure and get confirmation on such things.

Have you thought about spending some time with a friend or relative who has an infant? You will be able to see things like soothing and bathing the baby, interaction, and things babies enjoy for bonding time.

Have you thought about things that will be changing after the baby is in the household? Often first-time parents think that nothing will change and that may very well be the case, but you have to be emotionally prepared for things such as not getting very much rest, having to pack up lots of extra things for the baby when you want to be spontaneous and spend a day at the beach or in the mountains, or waking to a cry sometimes immediately after you finally get to sleep.

There are some things you can do to make life a little bit easier on yourself for those first few months. One of those things is buying extra clothing for the baby if at all possible. You probably won't want to do laundry as often as a baby goes through clothing, so if you are able financially, pick up some extra. If it isn't feasible, see if anyone who will be giving you a baby shower will make it a "shower of baby clothing" event. Another idea is to start looking at yard sales as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

Another thing to think about and read up on is the changes that you will be going through after the baby is born. Know what the signs of postpartum problems are and be prepared to tell your doctor about anything like that without delay. Do not wait around thinking that it will "just go away" if you feel that it is overwhelming.