How to Prepare for a Baby
Babies don’t come with “How to Get Started” manuals, so there is a lot of on-the-job training. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from online resources, books, pre-natal and other classes. The most valuable resource you may find is the hands-on experience from veteran moms, whose stories will bring to life a lot of what is to come. There are still bound to be areas that you miss out on in preparation for your baby, but after a while, a lot of things become instinctive. You’ll see!
How to Prepare for a Baby Physically
You may have heard that while pregnant, you’re eating for two, but this is not entirely true. It’s actually the nutrient-content of the food you eat that needs to increase – based on your trimester – rather than your food portions or frequency of meals. So think of it more like the added value of the nutrients that needs to increase.
Inadequate nutrition while pregnant may have long-lasting effects on your baby so don’t take it lightly. Here’s an easy acronym to help you remember to stay healthy: EAT
E= Exercise lightly
A= Aim for a balanced diet
T= Take your vitamins and minerals (such as Folic Acid)
Nesting is described as the natural urge to get your house in order in preparation for your baby, especially in your final trimester. Everything needs to be clean, organized and ready to go. Cupboards and closets should be fully stocked to further ensure things go smoothly. But what exactly should you stock up on and what should you not so much?
- Baby bottles and cleaning utensils
- Diapers (loads!)
- Blankets / Burp cloth / Rags
- Clothing: button-down shirts, onesies, hats, socks
- Crib / Cot / Bassinet / Playpen and relevant linen
- Changing pad
- Baby bathtub
- Breast pump
- Baby carrier
- Baby monitor
- Car seat
- Baby and mommy changing bag
- Interactive and stimulating baby items (eg. activity gym, playmat, bouncy seat, infant swing etc)
- Painkiller for effects of immunization shots (only on the recommendation from Pediatrician)
How to Prepare for a Baby Financially
Preparing for a baby financially isn’t usually at the top of your ‘guess’ list of things to do, but it is of equal importance as anything else. When you have your baby, that’s an additional dependent or beneficiary for any policy you may have with health insurance, life insurance, investments, your will (if any) etc. Your budget will now increase mainly by covering what goes into and out of your baby: food and diapers. The food bill will increase as your baby grows and more drastically if you’re exclusively breastfeeding at the outset. As a result, it would be wise to set up a bank account for your baby’s expenses that you and your partner make regular contributions to and dip into only for baby essentials, pediatrician visits, immunizations, medication and possibly daycare. A 529 account is also a great idea to get started early on rather than later.
How to Prepare Mentally
It may seem quite surreal that you’ll soon be welcoming a newborn baby of your own to take home and create memories with. It’s funny how time goes by so quickly, especially in the last few days leading up to your due date. Although it may be hard to imagine the upcoming days, taking each day in stride will help you not get too overwhelmed with it all beforehand.
You may not hear this advice often, but in your excitement, be open-minded enough to appreciate that things may not go 100% as you planned, like everything else in life. Whether it be that your home-birthing plan had to be transferred to a hospital or you had to do a C-Section even though you convinced yourself you’d go ‘natural’, these things happen. So prepare your mind in advance to be thankful for the outcome, whatever it is.
Whenever you feel anxiety or worry rising within you, try saying your baby’s name out loud to fill your space with positivity. Try to also speak to your baby telling them of the things you can’t wait to see them do. Make sure to say how much your heart is filled with joyful expectation to meet him or her or them. Soon enough, you’ll be a veteran mom yourself, sharing nuggets of wisdom to a fellow mom just like you.