Becoming a parent is up there with the most exciting yet scariest of life’s events. It’s also the most natural, so be reassured that your body is doing something it was designed to do. Most new moms-to-be have a plethora of worries, so you are not alone. Giving life to another person is a privilege and a responsibility. What are some essential things you should know before the big day?
1. When things go wrong
Thousands of babies are born into this world every day, and thankfully most of them without problems. However, giving birth is still a risky business, and you should prepare your mind and know what to do in the event of a birth-related problem. Most caregivers are superb at their job, and you can expect a first-rate service. If you need assistance during delivery, such as forceps, it is essential that those helping you are skilled; bruising, broken bones, or even brain damage are common birth injuries if assistance is needed. Contacting a professional who specializes in injuries incurred through the birth process may be necessary in the case of negligence.
2. You don’t need everything
When you start on the parenting journey, it’s easy to think you have to buy every gadget and gizmo available. Companies that produce baby products will try to make you feel that their items are essential for the health and happiness of your baby. The joy of advertising! The fact is, when your baby is tiny, you only need the essentials: a safe place to sleep, a small selection of clothes, nappies, and a few luxuries for yourself. Your baby will grow at an alarming speed, so wasting money on clothes, or a selection of expensive buggies will only hurt your bank balance. A baby needs food, a clean bottom, and lots of love. Spending too much money on fancy nurseries, designer baby clothes, or specialized furniture will create an unnecessary financial burden for a temporary solution.
3. Look after ‘you’
After giving birth, your body will feel fragile, and it may well take a while to heal. If you’ve had a cesarean, you need to take extra special care of yourself. Ensuring you take care of your health will be challenging with a new baby human to look after. But it’s essential for being a good mum to stay healthy and happy.
Ask for help if you need it. Most partners or family members are happy to lend a helping hand. Your hormones will be all over the place, so expect to feel a little more emotional than usual, which may be exacerbated by lack of sleep, so try to sleep when the baby sleeps if you can. The great advantage of breastfeeding is your breasts are right there when needed for hungry little ones; important to consider when deciding how to feed your baby.
Eating properly is crucial to maintain energy levels and keeping hydrated is important especially if you’re breastfeeding your baby as nutrients are absorbed through breast milk. It may be a good idea before the baby comes to cook some nutritious meals and freeze them, so you have something readily available when you return home. Labor is intensive, and it’s critical to replace lost energy, but I’m sure you won’t feel like cooking after labor. So unless you have a super cool partner that’s willing to muster up some awesome food fit for a queen, you may want to get your apron on and cook up some wonders beforehand. Concentrate on good protein sources and healthy carbs. Stock up foods that are healthy but easy to grab or cook. It’s not uncommon for new moms to be anaemic, so pick foods that can quickly build up your blood and help you regain your strength.
4. Gentle exercise
It’s likely that you won’t feel inclined to venture far from home with your baby in the first few weeks. Bodily changes and the new tasks required to care for your child will take a while to get used to, but you will eventually develop a routine. It’s good to get out for some fresh air by having a gentle stroll. It will also build your confidence and help you feel empowered. Getting out of the house at least once a day will help your mental health, and the change of scene will have a mutual benefit to you and your baby. If you’re nervous about heading into the big wide world, what can you do to feel more secure? Planning a route, identifying places to stop to change or feed little ones will help you feel better. Make sure you pack anything you may need, wrap the baby up and get walking; you’ll feel better for it.
5. Don’t isolate
During non-covid times, it is still very easy to fall into the trap of isolating yourself when you have a newborn. But you must get out and meet up with other moms to maintain a feeling of connection. The first few months of being a mum can feel overwhelming, so spending time with others facing the same challenges will help create a sense of community where you can exchange ideas, support, and even build new friendships. Many new moms who attend baby drop-ins or community-led support groups build connections that continue for a lifetime.
If you are struggling to get out or feeling very low in mood, be sure to reach out to your midwife, GP, or person assigned to your post-natal care as they are trained to help you through the turbulent first few months. They can also point you in the direction of professionals that can talk to you and provide advice for the way you’re feeling.
Remembering the above tips will help you feel happy and ensure you enjoy every moment of life with your new son or daughter. They will grow so fast, and each stage should be precious to you. Despite the enormous challenge involved, becoming a parent is the best gift and experience you can ever have in your life.