There’s simply no sure fire way that I know of to be one hundred percent prepared for the arrival of a new baby.
From day one, each child is an individual and there’s no way for parents to predict if they’ll have a sleeper, crier, happy baby or fussy baby. There are a few things that parents can do to prepare for this brief moment of time when your baby is a newborn. Before preparing, one must set realistic expectations for the family. People will tell you to sleep when baby is sleeping. I never understood how that was even a possibility. My children took relatively short naps and if I could get in a brief shower with out one wailing, I would have been elated. By the third week of my eldest daughter’s life, I gave up on pampering myself and shaving my legs in the shower. I learned to wait until we had a visitor if I wanted to splurge my free time on pampering myself.
But I’m not prepared!
Prepare by knowing that one cannot do everything that he/she did before, at first. Know that no one expects parents of a new baby to be super parents either.
- Try to establish a routine as soon as possible, but know that routine needs to be scheduled around the baby’s needs, not what the parent/s knew as routine before baby.
- Plan out meals for the entire family, whenever possible.
- Prepare by letting the family know that cracking open a bag of prepared salad, washing it and putting it in a bowl and whipping up some quick potatoes or pasta and baking family’s favorite protein,which doesn’t require too much attention, is the new dinner.
- If bottles can be prepared for night feedings at least, then the bright light from fumbling around in the kitchen at 2 a.m. won’t be as disruptive to mom or baby when trying to get back to sleep.
- When ever possible, give baby a bath near the time you’d like him/her to go to bed. For example, if one eventually wants baby to go to bed at 8, start a bedtime routine at 6:30. Give a calming bath, dim the lights after lotioning and getting baby dressed, read a book without too much expression then put on a classical cd with the volume on low for some bedtime tunes. Try placing baby in the crib by the desired bedtime, 8 in this case. If baby is gassy or hungry or something is making him/her unhappy then the routine may not work as well, but it’s a way to start to build the foundation to start a routine. If it doesn’t work, don’t worry, parents will be putting “baby” to bed for a long, long time. There will be ample opportunity for practice.
New babies will look to their parents for everything. That longing stare they give is empowering, yet jolts most of us to realize that we are no longer just responsible for just ourselves, which is plain old scary! Baby will recognize the voices heard in utero and respond accordingly. Just enjoy the first few weeks, parents will literally never get that time back again. There will be different stages, none better than the last, but the first few weeks will never be again, so take a seat and joy the new bundle of joy.