Being a parent is a dizzying experience. The emotional highs are indescribable, and when things aren’t going well, it can sometimes feel like the loneliest job in the world. All in all, though, having a child is magical, and if you’re lucky enough to be expecting your first baby, then first, please accept our congratulations. You’re about to embark on a wonderful adventure! Of course, there’s lots that you can do in the meantime to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your little wonder. Here’s how to prepare for your first child.
Get your finances in order
Having a child can be a serious drain on your finances, especially if you’re not prepared for just how much you’re going to need to buy. That’s why it’s important to get your finances in order as much as possible before the birth. You can always look to personal loans if you need cash in a pinch after the baby is born, but beforehand, think about what savings you have on hand, what your partner can contribute (if you have one, of course), and how your friends and family could help. Speaking of which…
Talk to your friends and family
One of the biggest drains on mental health when you have a child is the loneliness you can sometimes feel. Your friends and family may or may not have kids of their own, but their experiences can feel wildly different to yours. During these times, it’s important to reach out and communicate with those you love so that you can bridge the gap and feel your support network gathering around you. Social media is great for this; try talking to your loved ones via WhatsApp or Facebook, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Prepare the child’s room
While it’s true that very young children don’t necessarily need their own room, if you’re planning to stay in your house throughout your child’s development, then you’re going to need to prepare a room for them. It’s best to do this before the baby is born, if possible; that way, your child can stay in the same room as they grow up. Designing a kid’s room is a very personal experience, so only you can truly know what you want to put in it, but in general, you’re going to need a cot, some toys, and neutral colours.
Learn as much as you can about childbirth
Obviously, the actual process of childbirth is practically impossible to prepare for, but you can start learning as soon as you know you’re pregnant. You may not want to be intimately familiar with the medical details of what’s going to happen, but it will help you if you’re prepared for any complications or problems that might occur. The less you panic during birth, the smoother the process will go, so try not to get blindsided by anything you didn’t expect to happen.
Keep communication channels with your partner open
We understand that not every first-time parent has a partner to help them with the baby. However, if you’re lucky enough to live with someone, make sure that you’re constantly keeping communication channels open. No matter how shameful or embarrassing an emotion or bodily phenomenon might be, talk to your partner about it. If they really love you, they’ll be willing and happy to discuss whatever is going on in an open-minded and accepting way. This communication will be doubly important after the birth.
Give in to cravings, but do it sparingly
When you’re pregnant, you might experience cravings that are overpowering and strange. You may notice that you’re desperate to eat a certain food or a certain combination of foods. It’s safe to give in to these cravings as long as they’re relatively healthy and don’t disrupt a balanced diet too much. Don’t, for example, eat only chocolate until the baby is born; you might do damage to your health this way. If, however, you find yourself craving peanut butter on celery, for instance, make sure you’re not denying your body what it wants.
Rejig your wardrobe
Pregnancy is going to bring a lot of changes in your body. Not only will most of your old clothes not fit you throughout each trimester, but you may also find that after the baby is born, your body changes. That’s why it’s important to shop for a new wardrobe once you learn you’re pregnant. You don’t have to give up on fashion completely; you can still buy attractive, fashionable clothes for pregnant women. However, you should take into account that those tight jeans you loved wearing might not fit you both before and after the birth. Cut yourself some slack; pregnancy is a seriously life-altering process!
Try not to work too much
Naturally, while you’re pregnant, you may wish to continue working. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t overwork yourself, and that you stop when you’re far along enough that you can’t adequately complete your work tasks anymore. You may also find that there are personal circumstances that prevent you from working efficiently, in which case you should talk to your employer and try to reach a compromise. It’s also important to discuss maternity leave for after the baby is born.
Think about names
Names might be hard for you, but it’s important to at least start to think about what name you might want to give your baby before it’s born. You won’t know what sex the baby is going to be at first, of course, and gender identity is something you’ll need to bear in mind as the child ages, but you can start thinking about names as soon as you learn you’re pregnant. Try to assemble a list of names you like, and remember to talk through that list with your partner as well.