“Preparing for the newborn” is a small series of blog posts for all the expecting couples out there.
Preparing for the baby is first about the prepared adult and then the prepared sibling, the rest falls in line thereafter. This is what I personally consider as one of the most important part during the journey of “preparing for the baby”. Hence the first blog I wanted to share under this series is “Preparation of the Adult” and “Preparation of the sibling” if there is an older sibling.
Fact : Only while I was drafting this post, I realized that husband and I never got to click a single picture together with the baby No.2 bump. Being almost full term now, we finally clicked a picture. And look who decides to click a picture for us.
Preparation of the Adult
One of the significant part of preparing for the baby is preparing ourselves. We need to be prepared both physically and mentally/emotionally. Our own needs have to be met, we need to take care of ourselves before we are ready to take care of the little human.
Note: Adult here refers to the mom-to-be, the dad-to-be as well as the primary caretakers if any.
Physical Preparation :
Our physical needs have to be met, otherwise it becomes difficult to focus on other work. While for some of us the initial few weeks of pregnancy may be tiring due morning sickness, nausea and so on. But, as they gradually subside we start enjoying the journey. Again towards the end sleepless nights take over, but with excitement of being ready and waiting for the little human. The more vivid baby moves in the 3rd trimester is sure to make the mom-to-be happier along with the partner. Staying hydrated, exercise, good nutrition and rest has a major role of importance both before and after the baby. And this is not just for the mom-to-be, it is for the partner, the primary caretakers who are going to be there with the baby.
Intellectual Preparation :
Being knowledgeable about the process of pregnancy, labor and the newborn – the need, the development, facts from myths is important. This can be achieved through attending workshops related to pregnancy like labour management, infant care, lactating and other sources like podcasts, books. Especially for the first time mom, sometimes we blindly happen to follow what our elders say, later realizing what we could have done instead. Not that I am saying everything said by our adults is not right, but there are a few myths that we need to be aware of. On that note, do remember to be selective on your learning and be sure of your source of learning for our own peace of mind
Emotional/Mental Preparation :
Another crucial part of preparing for the baby. We often tend to overlook our emotional needs. Ask for help when needed, talk to your partner, talk your friends, talk to people who pass in positivity. Talk to your gynecologist if required, discuss about your health, your birth plan, your concerns with her. Get your me-time, find what keeps you calm, what keeps your soul happy, take breaks from work or daily routine or anything at all if required. Be mentally prepared for the changes that will happen when the baby is out, we can’t be 100% ready, but we can always to an extent. Having certain things planned out earlier helps in being stress free later, and focus on baby later.
Remember not to force yourself and stress out. While in the process of preparing for the baby don’t forget to enjoy the journey of pregnancy. It is a beautiful phase of life.
Preparation of the Sibling
Having a new member in the family is an entirely different feeling for the older sibling who has so far been the only major focus of the parents. It is important for us to make them understand that the love and care they have been receiving from the parents is never going to change. It is important to acknowledge their feelings and spend quality time with them before and after the baby.
Answer their questions honestly, never bluff, you can always explain to them in a way they will understand. Especially when they are curious to know about the pregnancy , the on going process and labor.
Few things that you can do with the older sibling while being pregnant and waiting for the baby:
- Involving the older sibling and keeping that as an important part of your pregnancy. Like you share about your pregnancy – the journey with friends and family, share with your older child.
- Give responsibilities and taking support : Get the child responsible for certain tasks. For us one of it has be giving me my medicines on time. Helps me with simple other things like getting me a glass of water, pick things up from the floor when dropped down, tries giving me a leg massage with those little fingers.
- Follow a routine together like going for a walk together, meal times (at least a meal) together.
- Hospital visit or sharing your scan images : Take the child along with you when you have your scan scheduled (if possible). Otherwise once you are back, show your scan report – scan images of the baby, discuss with them. Trust me the conversation gets so beautiful, you will start noticing what an amazing sibling your older child is going to be.
- Let them sing to the baby, talk to the baby, feel the baby move, prepare the home for the baby along with you.
- Let them shop along with you for the baby : Give them opportunity to select clothing and other essentials. Kids generally take over, they happen to be more excited.
- Also, take time to sit together and see old pictures of the older child growing from a baby to a toddler to a preschooler.
- Narrate their birth story, narrate some of the memories , their milestones achieved just about everything. Also, how wonderful a sibling they can be for the baby and how they can help the baby achieve milestones just like they did. How they could play and grow up together, much more can be discussed.