- Women's Health
How to Prepare For a New Baby
Read up on Newborn Care
Although being a parent is the most difficult job in the world, it's also very simple. There's not much you can do to prepare. All those shower gifts are wonderful, but remember that babies don't do much besides eat, sleep, and poop. Read all the best pregnancy books, then cover the basics.
The biggest decision you've got to make is how you're going to feed your baby. You may find that this changes once your baby actually arrives, but most people have an idea about whether they want to breastfeed or use formula. If you plan to breastfeed it's a good idea to study up.
Check with your hospital or childbirth center to see if they offer a post-natal breastfeeding instruction. Read about different ways to cope with breastfeeding challenges and care for your breasts. It can make a world of difference to have an experience nurse or lactation specialist help you get your technique down before you take your baby home.
It's important to have a plan before baby arrives because things like pacifiers and formula at the hospital can impact your success at breastfeeding.
If you're going to spend money on anything, let it be the crib. A lot of people are buying into the whole family bed idea, but most of us at some point will reclaim a bit of our pre-baby independence. Especially if you are going back to work right away, you'll want to get baby into a routine that probably includes sleeping in his or her own bed. Your baby will spend a lot of time there and having something safe and attractive will be a comfort.
If you decide to co-sleep, make sure both parents are in agreement. Having baby in the parent's bed for and extended time can put a stress on the adult relationship. Many people love it and are very successful, but you have to make sure it's something both parents want. Otherwise you're adding unnecessary tension to the family.
Ah... diapers! The joy, the decisions, the odors! You may think diapering is the least of your concerns, but believe it or not you've got some decisions to make. First off is the cloth vs. disposable question. What is really best for the environment? Who knows? Disposables use up oil and trees and rot in a landfill for ages. Cloth diapers are cleaned with nasty detergents carted all over town. (Unless of course you are some kind of insane saint who washes your own!) If you feel passionate about the environment, do your homework and make your decision.
As for potty training, cloth is thought to work better because a wet diaper is more uncomfortable than a dry one! But for a busy mom, it's nice to know that you can slack off on diaper changing without risking a major rash on baby's bottom.
Warning: If you happen to have your son circumcised, they will strongly suggest you use disposable diapers until that heals. You risk becoming spoiled. Among everyone I know it's the same - once you go disposable you never go back!
The thing to remember about babies is that as soon as you've got it figured out, they change! So don't stress all the little stuff. Yes, your baby needs clothes and toys and matchy-matchy crib linens - but not really. Most of all your baby needs you to be sane! So when you begin to feel overwhelmed, just remember what they do - eat, sleep, and poop.
More things to consider before Baby comes:Choose a NameBiblical Baby NamesCelebrity Baby NamesConsider a PlaygroupWrite a BirthplanCare For Your BreastsBuy Nice Music