4 Must Do's When Preparing for Baby

Loretta Jane

Welcoming a baby and becoming a mother is an amazing part of life. It's a time of transformation and when you'll truly understand unconditional love. It's also a time that requires a good amount of preparation to ensure a smoother transition. Chances are at some point you'll become overwhelmed by advice, information and deciding what you'll actually need. To help with that, here are four essential things to get your baby (and you) started off on the right foot.

A Safe Place To Sleep
If there's one thing to keep in mind when it comes to sleep, it's that safety should come first. While there's nothing quite as wonderful as holding your little one until you both drift off, it doesn't come without risks. That's not to say that you can't enjoy those snuggles together (while you're still awake and alert), but make sure to have a safe place to put your baby down when it's time for both of you to get some rest. A crib with a firm mattress or a co-sleeper that you can put right next to your bed are both wonderful options. For those after nap or feeding cuddle sessions, getting cozy together with a special fleece fabric blanket you made yourself will make that time together even sweeter. Remember; understanding safe sleep practices ahead of time will help prevent accidents later. Knowing you're doing the right thing will also give you peace of mind, which is worth its weight in gold.

When it comes to feeding your baby, you have options. It will be invaluable for you to think about feeding as a whole before your baby arrives because while it might seem simple, it's not always that way. If you plan on breastfeeding, working with a lactation consultant, taking a class and stocking up on personal care items to get you started will serve you well. If you plan on going straight to formula, be an advocate for yourself and your baby by communicating with your doctor and nurses at the hospital. It's also important to discuss this decision with your spouse, partner or anyone who will be helping to feed your baby. Most of all, keep this in mind. Your baby needs to be fed, and the "How" doesn't matter nearly as much as the "Why".

Safety and Comfort On the Go
Even though the newborn days can seem long and blend together, they're also busy with appointments, visitors and getting into a groove. Since both you and your baby will have checkups shortly after the birth, you'll need to get everyone packed up and on the road. Give yourself plenty of time to research carseats and strollers so whatever you end up choosing suits your needs and meets safety standards. Before your baby arrives, consider having a professional install the seat into your car. It will be one less thing for you to worry about, and you'll be confident that it's done correctly for the baby's first ride home.

A Healthy and Well-Rested Mom
All too often, the focus quickly shifts from the health and well-being of the mom over to the baby once he or she is born. While it's only natural, it also leads to a slippery slope. This is why being proactive and taking care of yourself is so important. Ask for help. Don't feel guilty for resting. Learn to let some things go. Get comfortable with saying "No". Be your own advocate. Eat healthy food. Pay attention to how you're feeling mentally and physically. Many women might think of this as selfish, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. A healthy mom is a great mom.

Motherhood is a unique journey and the newborn times are fleeting. Make it a priority to prepare, but don't forget to prioritize slowing down and soaking it all in.