During pregnancy, I got very focused on the process of birth. I planned (and had) a drug-free water birth and put my all into soaking up every bit of information I could about natural birth and devoured every book on the topic that I could find. I quickly became an “expert” (at least in theory) on birth. One thing I failed to think much about during my pregnancy? All the logistics of actually caring for a baby…an ever-so-minor oversight. Yes, all that reading helped, as I was able to have the drug-free birth that I had hoped for, but labor only lasts a day (perhaps longer for some) and caring for a child lasts for far longer. There are many things I would do differently if I could, but here are five things I really wish I’d done before bringing my baby home:
1. Read up on breastfeeding
Breastfeeding was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my entire life (even more challenging than labor!). I had a very difficult time with nursing and I wish I’d sought out more information on the topic beforehand. Things did get better though, and at 6 months we are still at it, but knowledge is power.
2. Chosen a pediatrician
I remember getting those pregnancy e-mails with the checklists that would remind me to “find a pediatrician before the baby arrives,” but I thought that was way too “over-achiever” for my liking. Fast forward to Fern’s first little cold and I was wishing I had a doctor I knew on speed dial.
3. Bought some nursing-friendly clothing
After spending 9 months in maternity clothes, I was anxious to get back into “real clothes”. I failed to consider the fact that nothing would fit quite the same and I would now have to take into consideration clothes that would allow me easy access for nursing. I didn’t need an entire closet full of clothes to come home to, but I had next to nothing that was practical for my new daily tasks. Buying a few nursing-friendly tops would have saved me from a few closet-induced meltdowns.
4. Made some frozen meals
It’s lucky for me that my husband is a good cook, so he did almost all of the dinner cooking for the first three months post partum, but having some frozen meals on hand would have been great for those afternoons when I was home alone with a baby while he was at work. There were many days when I skipped meals, so a bit of preparation beforehand would have been really helpful.
5. Bought some newborn clothes
Everyone told me I wouldn’t need any newborn clothes, but they were wrong. I didn’t have a small baby – she was 8 pounds 7 ounces – and she was still completely swimming in all of the 0-3 month clothes I had for her for the first month. I understand not wanting to waste money on things that a baby will only wear for a short time, but having a few simple clothing items in small sizes would be nice.
Are there any things you wish you would’ve done before bringing home your baby? I’d love to read your experiences in the comments!