If you’re expecting your first child, then times are going to be pretty nerve wracking. You’ll have a million and one thoughts going through your head about whether you’re actually ready for it all, whether you’re going to make a good parent etc.
But the beauty of becoming a parent is that it is just such a magical time! Before you know it you’ll have your own little baby who is going to rely on you for absolutely everything. Yes, that might get annoying when they’re a teenager, but when they’re first born all you can think about is caring for them and making sure they’re ok.
No doubt you’ll be wondering how this whole parenting thing works. You might not have even held a baby before. This is where we’re here to help.
There’s so many things you need to consider when bringing a child into the world, we definitely won’t be able to cover it all in this article. But what we can do is outline the main points, and create a comforting guide for you to read before your child comes into the world.
First is the fun stuff: the baby shower!
This is where you gather with your friends and family and play games and do fun stuff to “prepare” you for the birth of your baby (in mine, we had diaper changing races!). It’s also a great time to develop a registry and ask for the things that you might need and/or want.
Definitely take advantage of this!
The birth naturally follows the baby shower and the expectant period. The birth of the baby is one of the most scariest parts for most women. The thought of the unknown and the horror stories you will have heard will just be too much for some people. But the birth at the same time is one of the most exciting times. It is the time where your journey, and your baby’s, begins. You’ll feel a mixed amount of emotions throughout the whole of the birth. We’re going to put it to you straight: the main feeling is going to be anger, because boy, does it ever hurt!
You’ll be admitted to a birthing ward when your contractions are around two minutes apart, or you’re three to four centimeters dilated. You’ll be hooked up to various different monitors and assigned your midwife. Don’t worry about all the sounds and the wires coming off you, it’s just to monitor how you and the baby are doing. Anything that they notice out of place at this point will be monitored closely. The baby’s heart rate might be too fast or too slow for example. But they’re really nothing to get stressed about.
As the pain intensifies you’ll be offered different types of pain relief. Going through a birth naturally without any pain relief is hard. Most women opt for just gas and air to take the edge off, whereas others find the pain so intense they have to have an epidural. And epidural will definitely make the whole birth a lot more comfortable. Some people are against them due to fear of harming the baby, but there has never been any solid and consistent evidence found to suggest this.
Once all the pushing is over you’ll have your beautiful newborn in your arms. If there are any complications that might harm you or the baby, you will have to have a C-section whether you like it or not. With that you’ll be in hospital a bit longer. With a perfectly fine natural birth you should be able to go home later that day, if not the next day.
This is going to hit you like a slap in the face.
When you first give birth and you’re in the hospital, a baby will be relatively quiet. Just like it was for you, what they’ve had to go through was really hard work and they’ll need to sleep that off. But once they’ve got their rest is when you’ll truly find out what it is like to have a newborn.
Screaming and crying will become your new lullaby, and your attention will almost always have to be on them. You’re either going to get lucky, or unlucky. Some people are blessed with baby’s who only wake up once in the night for a feed, and other than that you won’t hear a peep.
Some have to become accustomed to do that. They’ll wake up screaming and crying four or more times a night, and sleep just becomes a thing of the past.
But once they get into a routine, usually at around a month old, you should start getting some hours in again. It is important to let them rest rather than keep picking them up or waking them up. They’re sleeping because their body needs it to recharge and grow. Not enough sleep can actually really damage a baby’s health.
Make sure you looking out for any signs of intolerances to milk from a young age. A cow’s milk intolerance can be so painful for newborns, but it is often gone undetected for months. Symptoms include and wind, screaming and crying after a bottle, and not drinking all of the bottle. If they do have it, you’ll soon notice the difference when you go to a replacement milk. T
hey also need a lot of interaction. They’re picking up so many sounds and sights, they’ll know your voice perfectly and respond to it within weeks.
Even though they might not know how to do anything just yet, they will still be learning.
As we’ve said already, their health will always be your main priority from the minute they’re born. You’ll be trying to protect them from absolutely everything you possibly can, but this isn’t always healthy at the same time.
Some mom’s go pretty OCD after giving birth. Everything will have to be steralised, and steralised again before a baby can go near it. But in the future it’ll put them at more risk of getting ill frequently. As bad as this may sound, they need to be exposed to bugs to build up an immunity. Make sure everywhere is clean, but don’t go overboard with it.
One really common health condition that a lot of you will have never heard of is baby acne.
Yes, that’s right, babies can get acne just like adults can. It is uncomfortable for them, and can be for you if people start asking questions. There’s no reason why it happens to some and doesn’t to others, but it can be treat. How to treat & prevent baby acne is pretty simple. First you need to make sure the skin is being kept as clean as possible. Don’t overwash the skin, but make sure that any food or dirt is wiped away pretty quickly, just like you would with adults. Another thing you really need to make sure you’re not doing is putting oily moisturiser on the skin. This should be a given as it is, but if you’re using the oily moisturiser it is quickly going to clog up the pores. Use an oily and fragrance free light moisturiser and see how it works for you.
Another common issue for babies to get, starting from nearly any age, is chicken pox. You will never see distress on your child’s face until they get chicken pox. It is painful, extremely itchy, and because they don’t fully understand what is going on it is distressing. As soon as you see the start of it begin treating the skin. Your doctor can prescribe you medication to soothe the skin, but over the counter remedies will usually do the trick. If you have other children, make sure they’re not touching the skin and contracting the condition themselves, you truly will have a nightmare on your hands if this happens!
This is going to be the most eye watering paragraph of them all. Babies cost a hell of a lot.
Right from the very beginning you’ll start to feel the pinch. For one, you just won’t realise how quick they go through nappies, and how expensive they are to buy. The best thing you can do to try and help yourself out with money is to grab a bargain whilst you can. You might have made fun of people who live by coupons before, but it’ll become your new way of getting through life. If you see something on offer, get a few of them to stock up.
Shopping on the internet could also save you a bit of money. There’s always more deals online rather than in the store. Clothes are another thing that’s going to become horribly expensive. As soon as you buy something it seems like they’re never going to fit in it again. The best thing you can do is ask for plenty of clothes in the beginning when people are buying you gifts. Don’t just ask for newborn clothes, ask for a few months to a year old as well.
Every little truly will help like this. Then you’ve got the cost of toys and general living bills that will rise. Living bills you should have already accommodated for and worked out before they are born into the world.
But try and be as savvy as possible. Turn off plugs when they’re not needed etc.
Breast milk is of course the best way to feed your baby – it’s free, but most importantly, it has the exact nutrients that your baby needs. Sometimes there are issues though. There certainly were for me, and I was grateful for the existence of formula to supplement my breast milk. Which formula to buy? That’s a big question, but there are plenty of great reviews out there to help you decide.
You will want to make sure your baby is safe in their crib, and again, there are many places to review the best types of cribs or co-sleeping apparatus. Keep your eye on the future too, and start investing in safety gates! Honestly, I spent over $300 in gates when my kids were little, and a big reason why it was so expensive was because I wait till the last minute to buy them. Don’t be like me: shop early, and suss out the discounts.