First, women find out whether they're expecting or not. The news is so Earth shattering and life changing that we can’t think about anything else for the next nine months but that baby. We spend every waking moment going over the details of midwife appointments and ultrasounds, gender theories and nursery layettes. We want everything to be perfect.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the fantasy of becoming parents and having this sweet tiny baby to prepare for, that we forget about everything else around us. We lose sight of the fact that life with a newborn will bring a few bumps in the road along with all that joy.
Just pause, and think for a moment about taking a step back. The nine long months of pregnancy are surely enjoyable ones that should be fraught with excitement and anticipation of the new arrival, but they are also a time to prepare ourselves for what we are about to take on. This means we must also prepare our relationships — with one another and our friends.
While pregnancy might put what seems like a temporary hold on our social lives, nothing will impact our free time and our energy to do anything outside of the house like a new baby will. Taking time to invest in our relationships now helps to make sure that they remain fruitful and intact during the journey that lies ahead.
We must also invest that same kind of nurturing and care into our own selves. A little pampering and preparation can go a long way in terms of making sure we are ready for the new arrival when he or she gets here. Start now.
14 Update Contacts In The Cell And On Facebook
Labor is unpredictable. Some women will experience prodromal labor where they contract for weeks on end before really progressing into active labor and getting the show on the road. Others will jump from a closed cervix to pushing in a matter of a few hours. It's best if every woman is prepared for the latter.
Since you have no idea what to expect, you’ll need to be prepared to lean on your support partner . This means relying on them to get the word out to important family members ahead of time when you’ve gone into labor. Making a list of names with phone numbers to keep handy is the best way to go about this, and maybe even updating your Facebook contacts so they can send out messages for you on Facebook..
Then, your partner can make phone calls while you’re getting settled in at the birthing facility so you don’t need to worry about whether or not anyone called your favorite aunt or your grandmother.
13 Get A Cover For Mom And Dad's Mattress
You may have thought to get a waterproof mattress and protective pads for the crib and bassinet, but did you think about your own bed? Whether you’re going to be bed-sharing or not is irrelevant. Moms who have had their water break in their beds — like me — will insist that the ten bucks you’ll spend on a waterproof pad for your bed is more than worth having to replace the whole thing.
Besides, who wants to go mattress shopping right after they’ve just had a baby? Having a mattress professionally cleaned when you first come home with your newborn isn’t ideal, either, though it may be a cost saver. Instead, protect your bank account and your bed at the same time by investing in a waterproof pad that you can sleep on for the last month or so of your pregnancy.
12 Learn How To Install The Car Seat
This is pretty important. In fact, most hospitals have policies in place that prevent them from even allowing you to take the baby home until they’ve verified you have a car seat installed the proper way in your vehicle.
If you’ve never installed a car seat before, prepare yourself. Make sure you eat a good lunch and are well hydrated, because this could take a while. Give yourself some time. Don’t wait until you’re in labor and packing your last-minute bag to have your hubby go shove the car seat into the back seat. It comes with an instruction manual, and you’re going to need it.
By the time your baby is snug in their car seat and traveling home with you for the first time, you’ll forget all about the curse words and the headache you had while you installed it. Likewise, by the time they’re outgrowing it, you’ll be grateful because those infant carriers all seem to weight about 300 lbs.
11 Go On A Date, Like Right Now!
It’s going to be a long time before the next date night rolls around. Seriously, even those couples who are fortunate enough to have Grandma and Grandpa right down the street to babysit any time are in for a few surprises. What will they do if the baby doesn’t want to be separated from Mom and Dad?
Nursing in those first three or four months can occur as often as every 90 minutes. That’s not exactly long enough to go enjoy dinner and a movie.
Nevermind escaping the constraints of parenthood to find free time, most couples will have a difficult time even enjoying it. The truth is, when there’s a new baby at home everyone just wants to be there, at home, with the new baby. The last thing moms and dads are worrying about at that point is getting alone time. But that doesn’t mean the relationship doesn’t need it. So, make time for it now.
10 Get To Budgeting
For most couples, there could never be enough money. Whether you’re a household with two working parents or one, money troubles come and go. They won’t exactly decrease when you add another person to the mix. You’ll need new health insurance for that little person, and you might find that the deductible and hospital bills all add up a lot faster and to much more than you thought they would.
Even if you’re already saving, set aside extra for surprises. Nothing can ruin that maternity leave like a surprise hospital bill you weren’t expecting. Set aside whatever you can without completely bankrupting yourself. Sometimes, it might mean depriving yourself of that extra pair of earrings you’ve been eyeing or the concert tickets your husband was hoping to score.
Consider it an early parenting lesson, the baby’s needs will have to come first, now.
9 Get Busy!
If you thought getting out of the house would be the only trouble you’d have with a new baby at home, think again. You’ll have trouble finding time inside the house, too. It's almost as if we evolved biologically to make sure another pregnancy wouldn’t be likely soon after having a baby.
For most women, they're still bleeding for several weeks after having their little one. Then, by the time they’re cleared for intimacy again, the newborn that used to sleep all the time is no longer sleeping as much. The naps become shorter and fewer. The nights still remain long. Many parents are avid co-sleepers now, too, which undoubtedly leaves a little less room for play time sans baby.
While it might seem like intimacy is the last thing on Earth you want to do when you’re nine months along, but you might find yourself regretting it after the baby comes and you’re feeling back to your old self again. In a Parenting poll, 30 percent of couples with kids admitted to getting it on just once or twice a month, 10 percent did so less than once per month, and 15 percent no longer considered doing the deed to be part of their lifestyle.
Experiment with positions, have some fun with it. The next time you want to do it, you’ll probably have to squeeze it in between feedings and diapers.
8 Make Some Dang Pinterest Freezer Meals
When couples have a new baby, a few things are usually guaranteed to happen. The housework will fall to the wayside, lots of people will start showing up to meet the little one, and the takeout menus will start piling up in the kitchen junk drawer.
Sure, no one feels like jumping right back into reality after having a baby. We don’t go back to work right away. Why would we want to go back to household chores right away, either? But, we have to eat. If you have other kids, this is explicitly important. So, do yourself a favor and make whatever meals ahead of time that you can.
Websites like Pinterest are a treasure trove for these sorts of things. You can find recipes that suit nearly any dietary demands that can be made ahead and frozen. Then, when baby is here, the only thing you have to do is pop them in the oven. Take things a step further and buy some disposable aluminum pans and plastic storage bags to make everything in, and label them with cooking directions.
Devoting a weekend during your ninth month to this effort can greatly reduce the stress on your plate and your wallet postpartum.
7 Pack And Re-Pack For The Hospital
While this might have been on your mental to do list for months now, many women still inevitably end up waiting until the last minute to throw things together and get packed up for the hospital or birthing center.
There is nothing more stressful than labor that is progressing more quickly than expected and a woman who is trying to remember what she wants to pack between contractions. Ladies, pack well in advance.
Make a list of the essential items you’ll need that you can’t pack until the last minute and go ahead and pack everything else up beforehand. This doesn’t just mean packing for yourself and the time you’ll spend in labor, either. If you’re planning to make padsicles, get on it.
If Dad is going to be staying the night with you at the hospital, pack his pajamas, slippers and so forth, too. Of course, no one can forget the baby. You’ll want to bring a few options in different sizes when it comes to going home outfits.
6 Take A Stroller For A Test Drive
Most of the time, the infant car seat you purchase will come in tow with a stroller that pairs perfectly with it. Word to the wise: just because the car seat checks out for the optimal level of safety you desire does not mean the stroller is going to be all that and more. Go to the store and check it out for yourself. Ask to take it for a spin.
Sit a few shopping bags in it for weight and see how it curves around corners and handles bumps in the road. There is nothing more annoying that trying to get around a busy shopping mall or retail store with a baby and having a stroller that won’t push when you push or turn when you turn.
Sometimes, it might be such a crappy stroller that you decide to change car seats altogether. In other cases, you may want to look for a separate stroller piece and forego using the infant carrier with it. There are options. The wisest decision is to test drive them all.
5 Get Out The Credit Card And Go Shopping
As if shopping for the baby’s needs and all those maternity clothes weren’t enough, the end is not in sight. You’re going to need a few essentials in the clothing department after you have this baby, and it’s definitely best to be prepared with them on hand before the new bundle of joy arrives.
You’re going to want some sweatpants, momma. Whether fleece sweats are your thing, or yoga pants and leggings do it for ya, you’ll need a few pairs of reliable and stretchy pants that are comfortable and have some give. Don’t buy them too big because you’ll be shedding some pounds after you have that baby, but don’t buy them in your pre-pregnancy size, either.
Consider them 'transition pants' and buy them purely for comfort purposes.
While you’re shopping for pants, swing by the lingerie section, too. Skip the negligees for now and grab some granny panties for your postpartum recovery. You’ll want to size up a bit because you’ll be sporting diaper-sized pads for a bit. You’ll also need to pick up some nursing bras. Consider these transitional, too. Don’t spend too much on them because you’ll likely adjust in size again and need more down the line.
4 Swing By The Salon
If you’ve got the time and money to book yourself a full day of pampering, this is the time to do it. It’s going to be a long while before you probably see your stylist again. Get those roots touched up in time for labor. Have your nails painted however you hope for them to look in all those close-ups of the itty-bitty baby in your arms.
Your very pregnant feet will most certainly thank you for a pedicure at this stage in the game, too. Take time to indulge in a scalp massage. Relish how it feels to have someone else wash your hair for you, because soon you’ll be struggling to find time to even wash it yourself.
Opt for a facial to bring out that glow of pregnancy one last time. If pregnancy hasn’t been so kind to your skin, an extraction facial can go a long way at keeping your skin clear during those first few weeks postpartum when your hormones are on the fritz.
3 Hire Some Help
Speaking of professional cleaners, now is the best time ever to hire a cleaning crew. Have them do a thorough once-over throughout the whole house. Make sure things like air conditioning and heating vents are tended to. Also, confirm that the tops of surfaces — like ceiling fans — are tended to.
This is also the perfect time to bring in the carpet cleaners. It’s probably not terribly wise to rent a commercial scrubber and try to clean your own carpets while nine months pregnant, but it could be a fine way for Dad to spend one of his last weekends without a baby.
While it might not seem important to have clean carpets for a new baby, that baby will be crawling all over those floors in no time. There won’t be a good time once the baby is here to have professionals come in and steam clean your carpets, so use the time you have now.
2 And More Cleaning, Wash The Baby’s Clothes
Not everyone takes this precautionary step before their babies are born, and that’s fine. Still, for those who are concerned about the chemicals and dyes that are often left over from the manufacturing process, you’ll want to pre-launder everything. When I say everything, I mean everything.
Clothes are obvious, but you’ll also want to wash crib linens, rugs that will be used in their room, blankets, buntings, car seat covers, and even those adorable cloth diapers. All of these products go through a manufacturing process that could leave them full of chemical residues that you don’t want all over your brand-new baby. A quick wash and dry is all that’s required.
Parents who are concerned about detergents now have multiple options, too. While mainstream fabric detergents are just as safe for babies as baby clothing detergents, many have harsh fragrances and other chemicals — which is what parents are trying to avoid in the first place by pre-washing.
There are more natural detergents, and alternatives, too, like making your own laundry detergent from washing soda and bar soap.
1 Have A Girls’ Night In
Or, interchangeably, boys’ night out. This is it. The last hoorah. When the baby is here, there won’t be much time for poker nights with the guys or wine Wednesday with the girls. While your liver might be out of commission for now as a pregnant momma, Dad can still enjoy a few beers with the boys before it’s time for him to step into fatherhood full time.
For mom, a night out with the girls can still be loads of fun without the wine. If you’re super pregnant and really not feeling like stepping out for dinner and a tall glass of water, opt for a girls’ night in complete with all your favorite pregnancy snacks and chick flicks. Your girlfriends just want a little time with you before your world is swallowed up by that sweet little baby.
Let them come over and check out the nursery and share in your excitement before their friend becomes a mommy.