So, how many self-help books and articles have you read so far, parent-to-be? It’s a daunting idea that your entire life is going to change somewhere in the next few months. Also, everyone is probably giving you advice. Still many parents feel overwhelmed with the reality once that little bundle of joy arrives. You don’t always realise to what extent the birth of a baby transforms life.
Despite the availability of information and people’s advice, there are things no one ever thinks of telling new parents. Have you ever heard talk about garage door installation Melbourne moms should consider before the birth? Do you hear post-natal depression or self-help coffee stations as discussion topics at baby showers?
Below you’ll find subject you should be thinking of before your due date.
Do a Safety Audit at Home
You may have thought about removing the glass coffee table or adding some rubber padding to sharp corners on furniture, but there are more ways kids can get hurt—especially once they start crawling and walking.
Do a walk-through of your home and be honest about potential dangers. It may help if you ask someone who has a toddler at home to do it with you. Have you considered the following?
- Removing any dangling cord or rope, such as the cord of blinds. Kids will pull on it and there’s the risk of them getting it around their necks.
- How old is your garage door and when last did you have it serviced? Outdated doors don’t have the necessary safety features that will prevent it from crushing a child or a pet. Also, without proper maintenance a garage door can fall and hurt anyone standing in its way. Rather install a new one or at least have yours seen to by a pro.
- Change the setup of rooms to ensure there’s no furniture that small children can get onto easily that are positioned close to windows.
Ready the Home for Minimal Effort During First 6 Weeks
With your home ready to welcome new life, make sure you can maximise the joy during those first few weeks. You’re going to be tired from getting up and tending to a sleeping baby, so automate and simplify any task you can. A few creative ideas:
- Have frozen meals in the freezer, so no one has to cook.
- Create a coffee and tea station in the kitchen, so guests can help themselves. Leave a note and kindly ask them to clean up and leave everything as they found it. You’re looking after a new baby—you shouldn’t be doing other people’s dishes!
Prepare Mentally—It’s Going to be Harder Than You Think
Not everyone has good friends who are blatantly honest about how difficult parenting can be, especially if you’re going to be parents for the first time. When one is naïve about the realities of this new adventure, it’s difficult to prepare effectively. We suggest you research or talk about the following topics with friends who have kids:
- What it feels like not sleeping enough for months on end
- How a baby’s screams can affect your mood
- Feeling like you’re the only parent who is struggling
- Differences between how men and women feel during the first few months
Choose Compassion—Both Parents are Allowed to Feel Overwhelmed
With little sleep comes bad moods and even the arrival of your long-awaited baby isn’t always enough to keep mom and dad cheerful. For moms there’s also the possibility of hormone imbalances creating havoc with your emotions. So, be prepared that you won’t feel like smiling every moment of every day. But guess what! Dads also feel the strain!
Be fair to both of you and allow yourselves to voice how you feel. If feelings of frustration and depression persist, both mothers and fathers should feel comfortable seeking professional help, so it doesn’t get out of hand. You want to create fond memories of those first few months, so rather seek help sooner than later.
Accept—NO 2 Babies are the Same
The books you’re reading will give you timelines about when to expect which development stage, such as teething, eating and crawling. While you should consider those milestones to ensure your baby develops and ask for help if you suspect there’s something wrong, don’t let the timelines make you paranoid.
Each baby is unique and while they should eventually reach all those milestones, reaching them later than most is still considered ‘normal’. For example, some babies crawl at 9 months while others already start walking at this age. Respect your baby enough and allow him or her to develop at their own pace. And DON’T compare them to your friends’ babies or the ones on Instagram.
Last Tip: You’re Wasting Money on Shoes, Bedding and Many Other Items
Lastly, let’s help you manage your budget more effectively. While you see a lot of cute things in the baby store, research what is really necessary.
For example, baby shoes are adorable, but most babies don’t wear them until the second year. You’ll have unused pairs of shoes in the cupboard, bought with money that could have gone to diapers. And for safety reasons you shouldn’t have much bedding in a baby’s cot, so rather splurge once he or she transitions to a normal sized bed.
Our suggestion: create a list of priority items and keep to it when out shopping.
By no means are we trying to take away from the wonder of becoming a new parent. But the more realistic you can be about this new chapter, the better it would be.
And if you have tips for other parents, please share below.