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Whether you are pregnant or growing your family through adoption, expecting a child definitely takes it’s toll – I realize you are already drained. And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this is nothing compared to the exhaustion that’s on it’s way. With two of my best friends joining me in this new life of motherhood, (one welcomed a baby boy in November, and the other is expecting her baby girl in June), I’ve been thinking back on what I would do in advance to prepare for a baby if I were a first time mom again. So here’s my list of suggestions that will ultimately make the newborn twilight zone a tiny bit more sane and manageable, which in turn allows you to enjoy that short phase more. Only take on the ones that speak to you and forget the rest. Well, actually, I lied. There is one must-do that I included for everyone…it’s super important so don’t skip it. The purpose here is to simplify and prep now so your life is easier later. I promise you’ll thank me.
Decide now which mom friend you’re gonna call or text when (not if) you have a strange mommy or baby question, need a good cry, or just a pep talk. Let them know they’re your “person” – maybe with a coffee and donut in hand as a bribe? – and make sure they’ll be pleasant when (again, not if) a need arises at 3 am.
Download a baby care app on your phone. It’s convenient for tracking diapers (wet vs. dirty), frequency of feedings, which side you nursed on, baths, naps, etc. since your brain will be on hiatus especially the first few weeks. This is also helpful for pediatrician visits. Instead of a blank stare when they ask “how many times a day is she pooping?” you can just refer to your app. I used the Total Baby app. Also – we STILL use a great lullaby and noise app called Sleepy Sounds. It’s nice to have it with me whenever I might need it – in the car, at a hotel, etc.
Do something to pamper yourself. Mani/pedi, hair trim/color, massage, facial, shopping in Target alone (this would be my pick!) – or all of the above! 🙂 Because lets face it – becoming a mom means you will often be putting yourself at the bottom of the list.
Read a non-baby book. Or at the very least read a book about what to do after the baby gets here. There’s so much focus on the baby’s actual arrival, which is obviously important, but that’s just the beginning! Because then you have a kid to raise, ya know? I would also suggest downloading the She Reads Truth app on your phone or ipad for daily bible devotionals. They are written by women for women. Super convenient during a marathon rocking-your-baby session or while breastfeeding.
Brunch/coffee/dinner/Target shopping trip with girlfriends….just something. Whatever you can make happen – make it happen. This one is for sanity purposes only -you can talk to them about all your crazy thoughts and irrational fears, and they’ll listen without judgement. After the baby comes these outings will be a bit more tricky to plan, but girl time is crucial for mommies and mommies to be.
While you’re at it…..plan a last supper with your man. Sure, it’s to enjoy one last date with no time constraints, but the real purpose is of the date is to go ahead and put another outing on the calendar 3-4 weeks out from the baby’s expected arrival and set up a babysitter. I’m not kidding – bring your calendars to dinner with you! If you don’t make it a priority starting now, you will honestly be surprised at how quickly 6 months can pass with no date night.
Get bills and other paperwork up to date and organized. Set up automatic online bill pay if possible. This is just one of those things that you could easily get behind on, because snuggling your baby will win out over nearly all tedious tasks.
Pick out a birth announcement (or at least a couple favorites) and have a photographer on deck for newborn photos. While you’re choosing the announcement, go ahead and type the name(s) you’ve chosen into the template as one last check to make sure you really love it!
Grow anextra arm. I know I needed still need one. Kidding.
Clear out the storage on your phone. I’m not kidding on this one. My phone consistently tells me “Cannot take photo. Not enough storage” which is beyond frustrating when I’m trying to capture something in the moment. On this same note, go ahead and have your “real camera” battery charged for baby’s arrival. Take a million and one photos, and also video some of those newborn moments. You will be so happy you did.
Make one or two baby essentials baskets for around the house. Pack some diapers, wipes, large burp cloths, diaper cream, and hand sanitizer into a basket so everything you need is easy to reach quickly and portable. I also had a couple of roll up changing mats so I didn’t have to take her to the nursery for every diaper change. Kindly ask guests to use the hand sanitizer before snuggling your baby.
Purchase some Shout Color Catcher sheets for the laundry. This allows you to chunk all your laundry in the same load together without risking running colors. That = less loads, which = less work! I love these things. You may also want to consider signing up for Amazon Mom Prime membership; you can read about it here.
Ask a girlfriend to set up a Meal Train for you right after the baby’s arrival. This is truly the most genius idea ever. Family and friends can sign up to bring you meals and easily view which dates are available. You can warn them of any food allergies or aversions, and select the best time for drop off. See? Genius.
Here it is, the must-do for everyone. Looowwweerr your expectations on back down to reality. For your baby, your spouse, YOURSELF. Despite how excited you are now, there WILL come a moment when you think what have we done?! It’s normal. There is a giant learning curve to parenting that never ends. Give yourself some grace. Please don’t expect your baby to be superbaby – they will cry inconsolably at times. Your husband will not always be superdad – he’s tired too. And no one expects you to be supermom. You’ll feel inadequate and have way more questions than answers, but you CAN do this. Perfection is not a pre-requisite for becoming a parent. (Praise Jesus!)
Tackle some of these now so you can have less to worry about later! Also, I’d love to hear other helpful suggestions from any moms who have ideas to share.