Congratulations! You have a baby on the way! Your emotions are probably running rampant as you process the news that you’re about to become a parent. Don’t worry, it’s normal. You can help yourself remain calm by preparing your life and home for your baby’s arrival. Our tips will show you how.
Find Resources & Support
The one thing you can’t put on your baby registry is an instruction manual for becoming a parent. But, you can find helpful, authoritative resources and support to guide you from pre-baby to post-baby. One of the first decisions you will make is deciding who you will work with throughout the pregnancy and into the postpartum period.
In Ontario, families can choose between the care of an Obstetrician or a Midwife (both covered under OHIP) for the medical side of their pregnancy and delivery. They can also choose to have a doula for emotional support and education.
The key is to find practitioners and professionals who have experience, come highly recommended, and align with your perspective on pain relief. For tips on choosing an OB-GYN or midwife, check out Judy Koutsky’s article in Parents Magazine.
Doulas also play a critical role in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum parenting. Well-trained, experienced doulas know how to support families and various birth and parenting philosophies. They offer prenatal classes in addition to birth and postnatal support for parents. Certified doulas also assist in infant care, infant sleep education, and in-home support.
When you hire a doula, you get continuous labor support, including emotional support, physical support, and informational support.
According to Evidence Based Birth, women who work with doulas and receive continuous labor support are “more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuums or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans.”. These women also have shorter labor times, and their infants are less likely to have low Apgar scores. Furthermore, women who work with doulas are less likely to develop postpartum depression.
Address Financial Issues
It is not cheap to raise a child today; in fact, CNBC reports that middle-income couples spend more than $245,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, not including college tuition, and high-income families in urban areas can spend close to $455,000. It’s a good idea to identify your financial goals so that you don’t feel torn between saving for college and retiring. That’s why it’s important for parents-to-be and new parents to set realistic budgets and track spending.
Do your best to set up an emergency cash reserve and as many automatic savings or debt payments as possible. Finally, consider life insurance and ensure your coverage equals ten times your yearly income or more to help cover future expenses.
Babyproof Your Home
It’s helpful to babyproof before the baby arrives. New parents are sleep deprived, and may forget to tackle some babyproofing projects because of it. Babyproofing your home should include securing heavy items like televisions, bookshelves, and dressers to walls, eliminating wobbly furniture that poses hazards to a crawling baby, and securing throw rugs with carpet tape.
Crawl on your hands and knees to get a baby’s perspective on your home. Be sure to remove sharp materials that are not in their proper location. Store medication in a high medicine cabinet and lock cleaners, detergents, and other toxic substances in a cabinet that your baby cannot access.
Schedule Help Ahead of Time
The early weeks of parenthood are among the toughest. When you are exhausted, it’s nice to know that you have help scheduled. Help can come in the form of the new grandmas or close friends. They will help to take care of your home and yourself so you can take better care of your baby. Another option is hiring a cleaning service. These helpers will make your household run more smoothly and give you more time to focus on your new role of parent instead of focusing on your home.
You have a lot to do when you’re expecting. Begin by finding resources and support, including medical practitioners and a doula. Then, address your financial issues and babyproof your home. Savvy new parents schedule help ahead of time, too.
Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.