You’re probably reading this post because you’re pregnant, so, let’s start with a huge congratulations!
Hopefully, you’re not suffering too much with the various symptoms that can be part and parcel of growing a little human being; just know that all those emotions, any concerns, and physical struggles are totally normal, and you’re already doing a great job.
Sadly, babies don’t tend to be born with their own personal handbook or instruction manual; they’re a very much “learn as you go” situation. But, that’s what makes it so much fun (and somewhat challenging).
However, there are plenty of little things that you can do beforehand, to ensure you feel as confident as possible when little one arrives.
Therefore, for better peace of mind, it can be valuable to pregnant women and their partners, to start writing a list of things they can do and get ready together, for that life-changing first year with their new bundle of joy.
Whether you do a little here and there to feel more prepared, or you’re running a military operation; doing whatever works for you, and makes you feel most at ease, is enough!
This is not to add pressure or stress at all, it’s simply so that you can feel that bit more ready for your new baby and family member.
The following are some thoughts, ideas, and inspiration for expectant moms, who want to prepare as much as they can for the first year with their new little one.
Basic Needs Are Key
It can often be easy to get carried away with how strangers on Instagram are decorating their nursery, or are wearing matching outfits to their kids.
While these can be inspiration for you and your family; it’s important to focus on what’s important, first.
It’s worth remembering that you child won’t care that you haven’t ordered the most fashionable bassinet, or that their nursery isn’t finished when they arrive (and beyond); they just want their parents’ love and presence and their basic needs to be fulfilled.
Whether you have a newborn, 1 year old baby, or a lively toddler; invest you time and energy into their care and wellbeing above all else (and, it won’t all be Instagram-perfect).
It’s worth considering how you’ll ideally want to feed your baby throughout their first year; whether you choose formula, breastfeeding, or a combination of the two; having thoughts around what you’d prefer can help after their birth.
A fed baby is often a happy baby, so it doesn’t matter what you choose to feed them.
However, if you’re considering breastfeeding, and you’ve not done so before; it’s always worth doing a little reading and research around how best to do so. There are plenty of tips and techniques that you may not know, so going into motherhood with this knowledge in your mind could give you an extra helping hand.
The same goes for formula; look into the various types, and what’s recommended. You can begin to stock-up as it’s not cheap, so that you’ll have plenty waiting for your baby when you get home from the hospital.
As long as they’re fed, warm, (mostly) clean, and above all, loved; your baby will thrive through their first year and beyond, so don’t feel pressured to build a jungle gym 4 weeks after they’ve been born (or ever for that matter)!
You might want to consider where they’ll be sleeping too; babies will grow pretty fast in their first year, so having an idea of their bassinets or cots, or both, will help you find your flow and routine over the months.
Find a space, or spaces, in your home where they’ll be able to nap, and don’t feel any guilt if those naps are often on you! They will never be this little again, so, enjoy the snuggles when you can.
Consider Their Siblings
If this is your second, or third (or more) baby; you’ll already have an idea of what to expect, even though you’ll be a novice at wrangling the new amount of beautiful kids in your home.
However, you children will have no idea what to expect when a new sibling is brought home. Therefore, it’s important for them, and the family unit as a whole, to really bond and find what works, especially during the first year together.
There are also a few things you can do to help prepare you little ones for the new arrival.
Start by keeping an open line of communication about the baby, throughout your pregnancy. It’s worth explaining what babies are often likely to do in regards to the crying, and how they are still very delicate, so won’t be able to play in the same way they do, during that first year.
It’s worth letting them know that they will need some of mom’s time, but that doesn’t mean you love them any less. Get them excited about being a big brother or sister; often little gifts can be given from the baby, to their siblings, before arrival so that they have positive associations with them from the get-go.
Perhaps you can begin adjusting their routine a little so that the first year with the new baby is less of a shock. If you know that you’re going to be able to do less bath times and bedtime stories, and dad will need to take over more, or vice-versa; start doing those things slowly but surely before you give birth.
This will help to ensure that the changes aren’t all at once and distressing to the baby’s sibling(s).
A Soothing Environment
Whether your baby has older siblings, or they are your first born; it’s worth creating an area that is as soothing as possible for baby and mom. A mother’s wellbeing is crucial to the happiness of their little one, so don’t feel selfish if you need a specific area and time to relax and calm down, either alone, or with your baby.
You may want to have somewhere comfortable to sit and feed your little one; you could invest in a rocking chair, or a squishy armchair, or you could utilize something you already own (but make it clear that it’s for you and baby now).
Add a cozy throw and some cushions so that you can sink into it, put your feet up, and be as relaxed as possible. This will filter down into the mood of your little one, so that they can get the hang of being a fresh new person during their first year on earth.
If you and your partner do have the time and energy to do a little DIY (or to make plans with a decorator); think about the colors and shapes that will appeal to you and your little one throughout the first year and for the years ahead.
Neutral backdrops are great for adding bolder colored items, toys, and prints on soft furnishings and bedding. They can also add to a calming environment for nap times and sleep.
It can be the little refreshes in an interior space that can make a big difference and impact you all positively, so have a think about getting the paint brushes out, or getting someone else to!
A Place to Learn And Grow
As previously mentioned; a newborn will just want their basic needs met, and comfort from their mom.
However, the first year goes incredibly quickly and you won’t believe just how much they’ve grown by the time they reach their first birthday. You don’t want to spend that first year constantly buying new things and adjusting your interior space every two weeks.
Therefore, it’s worth investing in the items they’ll utilize as they begin to gain awareness, then start rolling and playing in their own way, then start crawling and walking!
Things like soft playmats are a great investment that will last throughout that first year together. Consider some storage solutions so that there’s a place for their ever-expanding collection of “stuff”, even if the items don’t end-up in there very often.
It’s the little things like having a towel that will be big enough for when they get out of the bath when they’re a toddler, rather than purchasing a new one for every growth spurt (of which there’ll be many).
These are great things to pop on your baby shower gift list, if you choose to have one; practical and long lasting gifts tend to work out as the most valuable to parents, so be honest about what you’d prefer.
Stay In The Present Moment
When you’re doing your best to keep the baby happy and soothe them, and start getting into a routine, and all the other things that are part and parcel of parenthood; it can be a challenge to really take joy in the present moment. You’ll often be thinking about their wellbeing and when the next feed or nap should be.
However, if you can, ensure that you regularly take time to be mindful of what’s happening then and there. This is for your benefit as a parent, over theirs (they’re unlikely to remember every 3 am feed).
They’ll only be that small for so long, so enjoy those peaceful midnight cuddles together, take all those photos, and enjoy as much as you can in between all the craziness that will be in their first year. You’ll do great!