So there is an episode of the show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (I’m obsessed with that show and will probably end up referencing it multiple times), where Rachel is pregnant and realizing that the baby is almost due and she read everything about being pregnant, but nothing about what to do when the baby comes. This happened to me. You would think after having seen that episode 17 times that I would make sure to not make the same mistake, but I did! It’s hard not to. So Jacob was born, and what did I do? Panic? A little. Feel secure in my maternal instincts? Mmmm Kinda. Google everything? YUP!
Now I know there is wayyyyy more than 7 things I wish I knew before I had Jacob, but I tried to think of a few things that really effected my day to day with him and could hopefully help those soon to be mama’s!
1. YOU CAN’T HAVE TOO MANY BURP CLOTHS!
Get them. Get lotssssss of them. Feeding a baby can be very messy business. Maybe not for everyone (I envy you if you have a clean eater), but for many! Especially if you are like me and have an oversupply of milk and forceful letdown. That milk will go everywhere. Be prepared! When my milk came in I definitely did not have enough burp cloths. Jacob is three months old as I write this post and he still pulls off my breast when the milk comes down. I always have burp cloths everywhere. And they can soak up fast, so having a few around for each feeding can sometimes be necessary. I was naive to think every baby will simply latch and stay put. Even if your baby isn’t a messy eater, there will be spit up! So do yourself a favour and stock up before the baby comes.
2. DON’T JUST BUY A CARSEAT. LEARN HOW IT WORKS!
Okay. Everyone will most likely have a carseat before the baby comes, because they don’t let you leave the hospital without one. But my advice to you is to really learn your carseat before the baby comes. My husband and I installed the base into the car and left it at that. Big mistake. The day we were leaving the hospital and getting Jacob ready to go I realized I barely knew how the carseat functioned. This is one of those things you don’t want to take lightly because your baby’s safety is so important! Read over the manual and have a good understanding of the components. You will be glad you did!
3. ZIPPER ONESIE PYJAMAS ARE BETTER THAN BUTTON UPS.
To be honest, I didn’t really think of this until my husband mentioned it. He was totally right! When you’re half a sleep and changing a diaper (or 5) in the middle of the night, you’ll be happy to zip up a onesie rather than button it up, and save yourself the extra bit of time, even if it is only a minute or so (every second matters when you’re not sleeping!)
4. YOUR MAMA BEAR INSTINCTS MAY KICK IN
THIS I did not see coming. I in no way prepared for how to handle this. Some women become mothers and have absolutely no problem with others helping take care of the baby or even holding the baby. I was not one of these women. This is a hard thing to deal with, because you know that your family just wants to help (especially when it is your first). I can now say that I am better at dealing with sharing the love for my baby, but I had a very hard time at first. If anyone other than my husband wanted to hold the baby I had anxiety about it. I was a new mom and trying to build a bond with my baby and I didn’t want to share him. This may or may not happen to you as a new mom, but be prepared that it could, and start to think of ways you can cope with these emotions, as well as how you can communicate them with your partner, family and friends.
5. HOW TO PROPERLY PACK A DIAPER BAG
Packing a diaper bag doesn’t seem like something you would concern yourself with before the baby came, but I wish I had. It’s not as simple as packing some wipes and diapers and an extra change of clothes. I still to this day find myself packing and repacking and reorganizing my diaper bag every single day. It’s a skill you develop as a new mom, but it doesn’t hurt to have a good running start at it before baby comes. I found Pinterest super helpful for ideas on how to pack a perfect diaper bag. I even wrote a post about How to Pack the Perfect Diaper Bag for a Newborn.
6. EVERYTHING YOU CAN POSSIBLY KNOW ABOUT PUMPING
This one will only apply to you if you are breastfeeding and plan on pumping either occasionally or having a regular pumping schedule. I had purchased the Medela Swing Pump before Jacob was born with the intent to pump for the occasional bottle and maybe build a bit of a freezer stash, but I did absolutely no homework on pumping at all! When the time came to pump, I not only had to learn the basics, but I was desperately googling and texting a fellow mom friend to find out everything I needed to know. If you plan on pumping at all, do your homework ahead of time, while you have the time!
7. THINGS PROBABLY WON’T GO HOW YOU PLANNED AND THAT’S OKAY
You may decide you will breastfeed, and it may not work out. You may plan to have the baby sleeping in a bassinet and you may end up co-sleeping. You may say that you will not give the baby a pacifier but then you do. You may think you will be ready for visitors within the first week or two after you bring home the baby and then decide you are not at all prepared for that. At the end of the day you know what is best for you, your baby and your family. Trust yourself and trust that you are doing a good job. A GREAT job. You will sometimes beat yourself up for doing something you maybe said you wouldn’t, but try to remember that raising and caring for a new baby is hard and there is no set standard for how to do it. Give you baby lots of love, everything else will follow. I Promise!
So for you soon to be mamas, hopefully some of these tips will help you better prepare for baby! As for those of you who have already welcomed your baby (or have been mamas for quite some time), what would you add to this list? Comment below!