Baby Bootcamp: How to Prepare and Train for Your Coming Baby
Baby Bootcamp: How to Prepare and Train for Your Coming Baby
Your baby is coming and there is much to do.
Your body is changing, life is growing more hectic, and you know your life is going to be forever different after your baby arrives. It can almost feel like preparing for battle.
You don’t want to go into parenthood unprepared. You need a baby bootcamp.
In this post, we will walk you through the essentials so you can feel like a seasoned veteran when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time.
Before you are ready to wrap your head around the more complex aspects of parenthood, you need a firm grasp of the basics.
Below are some steps to take during the early stages of your pregnancy.
Learn from a veteran mom.
There’s no better way to learn than by talking to someone who has faced the challenges that lay in your future. The women in your family (mother, sisters, aunts, cousins) can be a good start, but they may be inclined to tell you what you want to hear (or the opposite!). After you’ve talked with those close to you, branch out to more neutral sources (acquaintances, coworkers, mothers of friends). They will be more likely to tell you the truth without sugar-coating it.
Prepare your body with vitamins and nutrients.
The best time to start taking vitamin supplements is right when you learn you are pregnant. Ask your doctor what supplements you should be taking as they will be able to best advise you based on your genetics and body type. Building a baby is a tough task and you will need all the vitamins and nutrients you can get. If your body has all the building blocks it needs, your pregnancy will take less energy.
Plan your birth announcement.
This is one of the more fun parts of early pregnancy. You won't need to send the invitation out for a while, but you should know what you are going to say, and what pictures you are going to include. This is a good time to get pregnancy photos if that is your style. Don't send out your announcement too soon, wait until you are about mid-way through your pregnancy and your doctor says the baby is healthy. Sending out a postcard is the most efficient way to make your announcement without having to call everyone you know individually.
Once you have laid the groundwork for your pregnancy (i.e., the easier stuff) it’s time to tackle the reality of oncoming parenthood. These steps are essential and should be taken before your reach the midpoint of your pregnancy.
Line up a support team for after you deliver.
You want your support team ready to mobilize as soon as possible. You will be exhausted after giving birth and will need help cooking, cleaning, and watching the baby. First, identify a team of women (and men too!) who you feel can assist you with rearing your baby. Mothers, sisters, extended family, close friends, these are the types of people you should be thinking of. Reach out to some of the people on your list and ask them if they would be able to lend a hand once every week or two. Once you have a group of six or more, you should feel confident that you will have enough support if (when) the diaper hits the fan.
Baby proof your home.
Make sure your home is ready for your baby for years to come. Cover outlets, soften sharp corners. Remove any dangers that could harm a rolling or wandering baby. If you wait to babyproof until your tot is already walking, it will be too late. Baby proof now and thank us later.
Set up health care for your baby.
Make sure you have a pediatrician set up. If your baby gets sick within the first few months of their life, you will want a doctor lined up immediately. This is a good time to start searching around and asking for advice from other parents. Make sure you have a reputable pediatrician lined up and one that is covered by your insurance. This is also a good time to make sure you are educated in first aid and child health. Take a class, internet research won't cut it here.
Start diaper training.
This may seem premature, but you will want to be a diapering pro when your baby arrives. And trust us, it won’t be any fun practicing with an eight-month-pregnant belly. Learn how to diaper a baby as soon as possible and you won’t have to worry about it when your baby comes.
These are the final steps before your baby arrives. By now, you should have a fairly strong grasp on what it will take to care for your baby. These final steps are more about making sure you have a plan to put your newly learned skills in place.
Buy all baby gear and complete your nursery.
Babies need a lot of stuff. More than that, they need a place to grow and thrive. Make a detailed list of all the items you will need for your baby and have it ready well in advance of your baby shower. The items you aren't gifted at your baby shower need to be purchased before your baby arrives. Also, make sure you have a space lined up for a nursery. Some parents opt to have their baby sleep in their bedroom for the first few months. However, as your baby grows older, it will need a separate room to grow into.
Create a plan for getting to the hospital.
Which hospital will you give birth at? How far is it from your house? How long will it take to get there? What if labor starts in the middle of the night? What if it starts during rush hour? You will need a plan to get to the hospital regardless of when the baby decides to come. Prepare for several different eventualities as giving birth is often unpredictable. Just make sure you are prepared regardless of when you begin labor.
Stock up on essentials and prepare food.
When your baby arrives the last thing you will want to do is go to the store and cook meals. Make sure you have several weeks’ worth of essentials (toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies) as well as at least a dozen frozen meals (for yourself) and frozen baby food (babies do not start eating food until six months, but you’ll want to be stocked up anyway). Your support group can help you by cooking meals but that will only go so far. You will want enough food for those nights that you’re too exhausted to even think about starting the stove.
The Big Day
If you follow all the tips above, then you will be ready for the day your baby comes. The more skills you have in advance of giving birth, the less stressful the early months of parenthood will be. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Your friends and family want to help you. Remember: it takes a village to raise a child.
If you are feeling nervous or struggling to complete some of the more complicated steps above, reach out to Tamara. At Stork Helpers, we offer classes to teach you the essentials of parenthood so you can feel ready to be a mama to your beautiful baby.