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Congratulations on your bundle of joy! However, though exciting, preparing for a baby can be such an overwhelming time for expecting parents. As if pregnancy symptoms weren’t enough, right?!
Just know, it’s ok to take a second to breathe. Gather your thoughts and remember — even though you may not feel 100% ready, everything will be ok.
Plus, I’m about to share some pretty AMAZING tips to help you make sure you’re feeling confident about bringing this baby into the world, you ready?!
How to prepare for baby for the first time checklist:
1) Take a breastfeeding class, seriously, just do it.
If you’re not comfortable with an in-person breastfeeding class like me, Milkology is a FANTASTIC online (& affordable) breastfeeding course online for moms!
In fact, I actually did a FULL REVIEW of the Milkology Online Breastfeeding Course, to help break out everything this course entails just for you!
I will add, that Stacey Stewart (the owner and founder of Milkology) does an AMAZING job of covering literally everything you’d need to know about the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby!
She even has a totally separate course for exclusive pumping moms (if you don’t plan to nurse your baby)!
If you plan to breastfeed or even if you’re on the fence right now during your pregnancy, I’d highly suggest taking the Milkology Breastfeeding Class!
I mean it’s so affordable there’s no reason not to be extra prepared, right? (you can also click the photo below for a full breakdown of the different classes)!
2) Develop a plan on how much to save for a baby!
First off – if finances are one of your biggest concerns, you need to read my post on “How to financially prepare for a baby” – this post not only goes into great detail on how to get your finances prepared, but it also features an EXPERT Financial Planner’s Top 3 Tips!
Finances are something my husband and I have always been very on top of, which I can’t be more thankful to have a partner who values our money and spending habits the same way I do.
Learning how to track your spending, create a budget and plan to spend smarter will be GOLD to helping you create financial stability before baby arrives.!
How the heck can you ‘spend smarter‘? Well for one, Target saves you 5% off ANY purchase when you use their Target RedCard (debit or credit)!
Not to mention every couple of months they typically have baby sales where if you spend a certain amount, you get a gift card in return.
Another great place to stock up on, not just baby items (diapers, wipes, necessities), but also household goods are on Amazon Family!
On Amazon Family, you can get up to 20% off diapers, baby food and more! Not to mention, the awesome Baby Registry perks they have!
That’s just a tiny snippet of ways you could be spending your money smarter.
You may also like this post –> What to do before the baby’s arrival, a third-trimester to-do list!
3) Prepare a Postpartum Care Kit (well before your due date).
So I had NO idea about Postpartum Care Kits and that they were even a thing.
Instead, I kept sending my husband to Target to get me new adult diapers and more witch hazel pads LOL.
Luckily, you can learn from my horrendous mistake and make your own (or if you have an amazing BFF, ask them to put together a Postpartum Care Kit for you)!
If you’re not sure what to put into your care kit, I wrote a FULL blog all about Making your own Postpartum Care Kit (full of all the essentials for mom after birth).
4) Understand the lack of sleep side effects (of being a new parent)
Now, I know we’re focused on the whole ‘how to prepare for baby’… BUT you need to hear this because I think it’s important to hear: Your sleep habits after baby will suck. Flat out suck!
If you’re one of the very few lucky parents to manage to get a full night’s rest and never feel exhausted, please contact me. I need IN on your secrets!!
Seriously though, The lack of sleep we got for the first month really hit hard for me mentally.
What’s even worse, is towards the tail end of your pregnancy, you’re already having sleepless nights! Maybe you got up to pee 800 times or your legs are so swollen and uncomfortable. Oh, this one got me a lot, the HORRIBLE SI Joint pain. I’d literally lay up in pain unable to sleep my entire third trimester. FUN, right?!
In all honesty, being a new mom who just gave birth, while you’re physically recovering from childbirth, averaging 2-3 hour stretches of sleep at a time and if you’re nursing you’re connected to a little human often (especially when they’re cluster feeding) — you are going to feel like a MOMBIE.
Yup, you will officially understand what that fancy, when mom meets zombie term, means now!
Don’t get me wrong, becoming a mother changed my life in such a special way I could never imagine.
HOWEVER, becoming a mother also changed my sleep schedule. And I would give anything to have a straight 12 hours of sleep these days! I basically live off caffeine and dream about sleep LOL.
I promise, I’m not trying to make this sound horrible, but I had NO idea what to expect as a new parent going into the sleep zone during those first few weeks.
So if you can just mentally prepare for it, maybe get someone to stay with you to help out, it can definitely take that edge off a bit!
If you’re the daddy-to-be reading this, know that you won’t be off the hook either. If mom is getting up to nurse the baby every 2-3 hours, you should lend a hand and throw in some diaper changes during those nights too.
Parenting on the same page and showing support for one another during this huge life-changing event that comes after pregnancy will either make or break your relationship during such a fragile time.
RELATED POST on how New Moms can Get Some SLEEP!
5) Stock up on GOOD diapers!
I knew newborns eat, sleep and poop. But holy moly they can poop A TON! Between my husband and I switching turns, we’d go through so many diapers a day.
Make sure you use a reliable diaper – one that can handle an atomic newborn poop blowout.
6) Be ready for raging HORMONES after pregnancy
Alright, mamas, this one is MAJOR IMPORTANT!!!
Hormones after pregnancy can be pretty wild. From my own personal experience, things that should have been happy and exciting sometimes felt dark and lonely.
You could be experiencing minor emotional waves in the form of ‘The Baby Blues‘ or they could progress into something more serious like Postpartum Depression.
Establishing a plan of action in case things get rough along with a solid support team (family, your partner, therapists/doctors, etc…) is going to be key during this time.
RECOMMENDED POST >> What mom needs to know about Postpartum Mood Disorders!
Abby Burd’s Preventing Postpartum Depression Online Course:
A great way to BE FULLY prepared for these changes is to take Abby Burd’s ‘Preventing Postpartum Depression‘ online class. Abby is a licensed psychotherapist and has been a maternal health professional for over 20 years – she’s truly incredible and I am so thankful to have crossed paths with her for her support.
I personally took Abby’s course as a beta-tester, meaning I took this course before it was released and was able to provide her feedback about where I thought the course helped and where it didn’t.
Truth be told, this course covers EVERYTHING and beyond Postpartum Depression. If you even have to WONDER if you’re suffering from any kind of postpartum emotional distress, this course is 100% for you.
What I loved most about this course is that it sheds light on those dark times encompassing various Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders, leaving you feeling prepared and confident during the fourth trimester!
This would be an incredible course to take as you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy to help prepare you for what’s to come and give you the tools to cope with the changes.
In comparison to going to an in-person therapist, you can save a couple of hundred bucks with this course too, AND you’ll always have access to the program at ANY time of the day you feel you need it.
7) Be ready for your relationship after baby to feel different for a bit
I don’t think there was a point where my husband and I weren’t on the same page. But having open discussions about everything above is something we didn’t do as much as we should have.
As fun as pregnancy and the leading up to baby part is always super fun, the fourth trimester can sometimes just, mess things up a bit.
After baby, things get weird. Your partner may feel isolated. And as much as it’s all normal, you don’t feel like it’s normal.
Establishing these new changes and knowing that they will happen, understanding things won’t feel the same for some time so you can try to support one another throughout these changes is so important.
My husband had never even heard of the ‘baby blues’ before I mentioned it after birth. Things like that are excellent topics to discuss when preparing for baby! If you’re not sure where to start, this book is an excellent read for expecting parents!
8) It can take a LONG time before you fully recover from giving birth and breastfeeding.
Did you know, if you breastfeed, relaxin (a hormone that helps loosen the joints for labor) can stay in the body until you fully stop breastfeeding?
Did you also know, after birth, it can take up to 4 weeks (sometimes longer) before your uterus fully shrinks back down to its normal size? This means you could still be looking very pregnant after having your baby.
I knew bits and pieces, but never to that extent. It bothered me for so long that I looked the way I did after birth.
I think to prepare and understand the true changes your body goes through during pregnancy through birth will help you to have a smoother recovery.
Honestly, your physique or physical appearance is the last thing you need to stress about having a baby.
If you feel like you’re ready to get your pre-baby body back, I’d highly suggest using a program like the Mutu System – a program for moms to feel confident in how their body looks and feels after baby.
9) Don’t forget to decide and discuss your birth plan with your partner
As we mentioned earlier, one of the most challenging parts about having a baby is also finding the time to focus on your relationship with your partner.
Communicating with each other from the beginning by having your partner involved with helping create your birth plan together can be a great way to stay connected during pregnancy!
You can decide on the following things together:
- What will our roles during labor and delivery be?
- What are our thoughts on visitors and family in the delivery room?
- Will we want newborn or birth photos taken at the hospital?
- Do we agree on having a natural birth vs a medicated birth?
Plus, it can be a really fun time to just open up and talk about all your expectations together about this new and exciting journey you’re on!