You’ve taken parenting classes, you have a plan in place for going to the hospital, you’ve even taught yourself how to change a diaper. But are you really ready for your baby to arrive? What about your family? You might think you’re ready — you’re carrying your child, after all — but both you and your family members need a fair amount of preparation in order to be ready for a newborn infant. Whether you’ve read all the books or not, use these tips to make sure you’re ready when your baby comes into the world.
Prepare to have your sleep schedule disrupted
When your baby comes home for the first time, where are they going to sleep? If they’re sleeping in your room, be ready to be awake almost constantly. Babies typically start crying between two and three weeks old, but they won’t stop for a long time after that. It feels like the stop-and-go sleep schedule will never end. How are you going to prepare for your baby to keep you up all night? Rest assured that nobody’s going to blame you if you want a room separate from your baby.
If you do decide on a separate nursery, make sure the furniture is built for safety. So if you’re all about the look of wooden cribs, make sure the one you buy is high-quality. The last thing you want from your baby’s crib is splinters. Not only will a high-quality wood crib last through the duration of your baby’s crib years, but it will be a good investment if you plan on having more children down the line.
Educate your extended family
You might have taken all the right parenting classes, but what about your family? How will they prepare for your baby? It can be nice to have volunteers to babysit. But when 10 different people want to touch your baby without knowing to wash their hands first, you’re going to run into some problems. Not all relatives will have the same experience with childcare, even if you plan on them spending a lot of time with your new child. Up to 10% of grandparents in the U.S. live with a grandchild, so it’s important to educate family members who will be spending the most time with your baby on how they should act and what they should expect. It might seem strange educating your parents or grandparents, but remember: this is your baby! At the end of the day, not even your in-laws or your parents can tell you how to parent, as much as they might try.
Be ready for questions
Speaking of telling you how to parent, it doesn’t end with your in-laws. Relatives are often eager to offer their input on how to prepare for your baby and raise your baby, even if you didn’t ask for it. It’s especially common from relatives who already have children. Expect plenty of questions about the classic issues from breastfeeding to education. Relatives who seem a bit nosy might just be trying to help, but they’re not your baby’s parents. If you need to tell your sister or your mother to back off, it’s okay! Setting and enforcing boundaries with relatives, even the ones you love the most, is going to be best for your mental health and for your child.
Try to relax
Whether you think you’re ready for your baby or not, parenting is never an easy task, and neither is managing relationships with your family or keeping a home. However, a new baby in the family immediately demands that you tackle all of these and more. As much as possible, try to relax. You’ve been doing plenty of preparation leading up to having your new baby in your life, and even if you don’t have perfect, fool-proof plans in place for every situation, you’re going to do just fine. Plenty of other parents have made it work before you, and you’re going to be okay.
However you prepare for your baby, remember that you’re not alone. There are so many moms out there who want to help you with your first parenting journey. If you’re a parenting veteran, what do you suggest for new moms getting ready for their first baby?