Most couples usually spend a lot of time during pregnancy worrying if both mom and baby are fine and that the baby should arrive healthy and happy in the world. They would pester their gynecologist with a multitude of questions and even in cases when she says there is nothing to worry, couples still run to google search. In that frenzy, most people forget to prepare themselves on what needs to be done once the baby arrives. They would have maybe stocked up on all possible baby supplies but probably not prepared themselves mentally. Here are some pointers for the same:
1. Ask for Help
The first feeling every parent would have is that they want to do everything for the baby themselves. This is great but do not tax yourself unnecessarily. As they say “it takes a village to raise a child”. Tap your support system and request for help from whoever you can- parents, in-laws, friends, neighbors, doctors, and maids. This help is not necessarily for changing baby’s diapers but even small stuff such as sharing a cup of tea or buying grocery or understanding how to make the baby latch properly. Some people prefer to be maid-free but draw a line when it is getting too much for you and delegate.
2. Learn to Ignore
Many people will come and visit you after the baby is born or you may have your parents/in-laws staying with you. You may also have maid/cook for regular household work, a post-natal massage lady or a nanny. At this stage, every one of them is an expert in child-rearing while you are a novice. They will have opinions on every possible aspect of you and your baby. Right from what you eat, how you sit or lie down, what color clothes you are wearing, baby’s sex, weight, color, features. Every time baby cries even neighbors will feel it is their sacred duty to come and tell you that the baby is hungry. As irritating it may be for you to hear these, please do not waste energy in arguing or countering these. The only strategy that works best is to ignore. In fact, go ahead and ignore it royally.
3. You have to decide
With a newborn, you will have to take numerous decisions all through the day, however, small they may be. “Should I put the baby in diaper or cloth nappy or leave him/her free for some time”, “Baby is crying but he/she just fed, could it be colic, could it be tiredness” and the most common and also scary “is this normal for a newborn, do I need to see a doctor”. You will be at the receiving end of unsolicited advice on these matters also. Do not get swayed by those and do what your rational mind and instinct tells you to do. You are responsible for your baby’s well-being and it should always be your final call.
4. Over communication is better than none
Won’t we all just love it if everyone could read our mind and do as we want, especially spouses? But technology like that is yet to evolve. The root cause of most misunderstandings and heartbreak is less or no communication. With a new arrival, entire focus shifts to him/her and there is no time or energy left for husband and wife to talk. It is very common for either of the spouses to feel left out. Though it may feel like a stretch but do push yourself to make time for this as well. Do not cease to be husband and wife after becoming parents.
5. Rest as soon as you get time
After spending time on all the above, it is also important to be well rested. For parents to keep operating at high efficiency for a long period of time (at least up to 1 year) resting is very important. Take turns to get good sleep for 2-3 hours at a stretch. Sleep during daytime or on weekends if possible. Very importantly, disconnect from the virtual world totally for that period- switch off your phone, Gmail, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. at that time.
My advice to all expecting parents and especially moms is that, however, difficult your pregnancy phase may be, it is an excellent period to enjoy and pamper yourself so that you are fully energized and prepared once the baby arrives.