Becoming a first-time parent is exciting and surreal, but it can also be a little scary. There’s just so much to do before your little bundle of joy arrives! There is shopping to do, classes to take, and expenses to consider—it’s no wonder parents feel overwhelmed. Whether you have a partner at your side or you’re going at this alone, here are some ways to quell that new-mom anxiety and get ready for a life of parenthood.
Shop for Often-Forgotten Supplies
While it may seem obvious to buy a crib, car seat, and stroller, there are several smaller items you may not think to pick up until you really need them. By purchasing these things ahead of time, you’ll feel much more prepared. Baby wipes, a white noise machine, baby-friendly laundry detergent, a swaddling blanket, and nursing pads are frequently forgotten. Be sure to grab these items now to avoid scrambling for them when you bring your baby home. Check out Ergobaby for a list of other useful items many moms forget.
While you’re at it, shop around for some special items that will make your life easier, like a breast pump and a hands-free pumping bra. Having a couple quality all-in-one nursing bras, like these from Kindred Bravely, will save you from awkwardly changing bras on the go. With access for both hands-free pumping and nursing, you can wear the same bra all day. This is especially handy when you go back to work!
Start a Budget
Making all these new purchases will force you to confront your financial health. Having a baby creates an additional ongoing expense in your life, so it’s important to make room in your budget. This article from Money Under 30 can help you calculate your expected expenses for your newborn’s first year. Start tracking your household spending a couple of months before the baby arrives. Take a look at your budget and try to find expenses to cut, like subscriptions, memberships, or takeout orders. It’s a good idea to make these budget cuts before your baby arrives so you can use the extra money for paying off debt or building up an emergency savings fund.
While you’re making baby preparations, remember to take care of yourself. During pregnancy and early parenthood, you’ll need all the mental and physical energy you can get! The best way to avoid new-mom burnout is to nurture yourself on a regular basis.
Build up a support network of friends and family members to call on when you need a couple of minutes to yourself. This is especially important for single moms. Simply having someone sit with your baby for 20 minutes while you take a power nap or a relaxing bath can give you the rejuvenating boost you need. Caring for a baby is work, and no one works a full-time job without a break. If you feel guilty about this, remember that taking care of yourself will benefit your child.
Be Mindful of Your Emotions
It’s perfectly normal to feel sad or frustrated when you’re adjusting to life with a new baby. Don’t feel bad about this! During your pregnancy, get in the habit of practicing mindfulness throughout your day. Notice your emotions, acknowledge them without judgment, and dismiss them. Try not to ruminate on negative thoughts. It can help to sit still for a couple of minutes and focus on your breath as you practice gently dismissing negative self-talk.
Go Easy on Yourself
Many parents—especially first-time parents and single moms—feel like they aren’t doing it right. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t figured it out yet. The perfect parent doesn’t exist! Children just need parents who are loving, supportive, and committed. You'll learn more during your experience as a parent than you ever would from a bunch of books. That said, you may ease some of your anxieties by taking parenting classes.
No one can deny that having a baby is a life-changing experience. Although soon-to-be moms want everything to be perfect for their new little one, it’s impossible to be completely prepared for such an event. Tackle any preparations that will reduce your stress, and then focus on your own needs and schedule in plenty of time for self-care.
Guest post by Daisy Jones of Safestbaby.org
Photo Credit: Pexels