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Preparing to be a mother can be a joyous, overwhelming, stressful time in a woman’s life, and being filled with all those emotions at once can cause anxiety. No one has a clear vision of what parenthood will be like, but whether you have a partner or will be taking the journey as a solo mama, it’s important to start preparing as much as possible. This might mean planning for the baby’s room (sometimes called “nesting”), taking a birthing class, or reading up on how to make organic baby food and cloth diapers work for you.
There’s no one right way to be a parent, so finding the things that will work for your specific style is paramount. If you plan on breastfeeding, you might start thinking about how you’ll make this a smoother process. You might, for example, leave yourself a small bin of snacks and bottled waters by the nursing station. The father can also help by changing the baby’s diaper once you are finished breastfeeding, and he can handle bath duties while you sneak in a short nap. Alone time is just as important as time with your partner, so work out a schedule or a way to give each other breaks, even if it’s only long enough to take a shower.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to prepare for parenthood.
Clean and organize
You probably won’t have much time to clean once the baby comes, so getting a good deep clean in beforehand will make things much easier for you. Steaming the carpets, washing the walls, and giving the furniture and draperies a good once-over are good places to start, since these are bigger jobs that will require planning and energy -- two things most new parents don’t have in abundance. Get caught up on laundry and wash all the baby’s things.
If your baby’s arrival is coming up soon and you simply don’t have time to get all of the tasks checked off your cleaning to-do list, consider finding a local cleaning service that can take care of everything for you. You should also keep this idea in mind after the baby arrives; hiring someone to help with this task will take a huge weight off your shoulders.
Prep the nursery
If you have one, now is also the time to get the nursery organized. The colors, theme, and organization are all important, so do some planning and try different things to figure out what you like best. The room should be as functional as possible to allow you full mobility while carrying the baby, so be sure not to fill it too full of furniture and toys.
You might also think about setting up a station beside your bed if your baby will be rooming with you, especially if you’ll be breastfeeding. Having a small table that can hold extra diapers and wipes, bibs, burp cloths, an aspirator, and a large cup of water to keep you hydrated will help you stay relaxed while you bond with your baby.
Now is also the time to test out your breast pump to make sure it’s working and to purchase nursing bras so you can easily feed your baby when the moment strikes. Some nursing bras actually come adapted for breast pumps, so consider purchasing a pumping bra to free up your hands. It should be noted that breast pumps typically cannot be returned once opened and used so it may be best to wait until well after you are comfortable nursing before buying one.
Look for classes
Even if you’ve read every parenting book there is, there are still some classes you can take that will help you be better prepared for being a parent. Whether you want to learn more about the birthing process or simply take a tour of the hospital and find out their policies, it’s a good idea to seek out ways to make the process easier.
Try to stick to a routine
Sticking to a routine will help everyone in the family once the new baby comes, and although it can be tricky to do, it might just help your newborn feel at home more easily as well. Remember that you don’t have to keep everything completely silent for him to get good sleep; the womb is a noisy place, so babies are used to having a lot going on around them.
Rest when you can
Since newborns usually only sleep for two or three hours at a time, it’s really important that you rest when you can. You can help this along by preparing as much as possible before your little one comes home, such as making meals to freeze, delegating cleaning tasks and other chores to family members, and setting up diaper or food delivery services.
Preparing for parenthood is a big job, and it’s not one that can be done in a few weeks or even months. However, knowing a little bit about what to expect will go a long way toward helping you reduce stress and anxiety before your little one comes, allowing you to enjoy the experience even more.