Getting ready for a new baby is not just buying things, setting up the nursery and packing your hospital bag. Here are some things you are encouraged to do to get ready for the Big Day:
1. Read up and Research
Know what to expect, learn about pregnancy, labour, new baby, etc. In fact, what happened was that Richard was the one who did most of the research, and he told me what he learned. I find that this is a good way to get the husband involved. You have to read widely, not only about the pregnancy and labour process, but also on parenting techniques and practices. The key is to read widely. Do not just go for what your friends recommend, or what is popular or ‘in vogue’ at the moment. It might not work for you or your baby. As I said, every baby is different. Every family is different. There are basically two camps of parenting philosophies, so it is best that you read on both camps and then decide on what you want to adapt and adopt.
Reading up and arming yourself with information is one of the ways that you can protect yourself from post-natal blues. You will have more realistic expectations and hopefully, will be armed with some knowledge on what to do. At least you will not be completely helpless and you will not be at the complete mercy of supposedly more experienced people who give you contradictory advice.
I am very surprised by the fact that there are so many intelligent, well-educated women that I have met, who are contented to be in complete ignorance when it comes to things pertaining to babies and breastfeeding and motherhood. They rely almost completely on what their mothers tell them, what their mothers-in-law tell them, what their confinement nannies tell them, or what their doctors tell them. Yes, these people are more experienced or more knowledgeable and their experience can come in real useful, but you have to be responsible for you own actions. No point, e.g. blame other people for giving you pressure to wean, when you give in to persuasions to feed formula. They don’t know better, but you could have known better if only you do the necessary research beforehand.
2. Birth Plan
Do you know that you do not have to have an episiotomy, or pain relieve, or having yourself strapped down by all the monitoring gadgets, have housemen examine you, or have male doctors examine you, etc? I didn’t know that. Wish I found out about it before I gave birth.
Doing a birth plan ‘forces’ you to think through the entire labour process and decide how you want it to be. You should not be left the the mercy of circumstances (or the hospital). To learn a bit more about birth plans, check out my article, Birth Plan.
3. Discuss with your spouse beforehand regarding the practices you are going to adopt
It’s like having a battle plan before the battle. When the ‘battle’ comes, you won’t have the time to sit down and rationally decide on what best to do and this may lead to disagreements and unhappiness, on top of all the stress that comes with caring for a new baby. Whatever parenting practice you wish to adopt, both have to agree on it, no matter how good or ‘in vogue’ it is. ‘Good’ practice that causes strife in the family is not ‘good’. If you feel strongly about certain issues, you can try to convince your spouse with facts and information. However, don’t leave issues unresolved. Both of you need to agree on these issues before facing them in reality.
4. Go for Childbirth Education classes
To be honest, for my first pregnancy, I did not go for ante-natal classes. I signed up but back out at the last minute. It’s a long story. For my second pregnancy, I went for childbirth classes that focus on active labour, or natural labour, instead of the conventional ante-natal class.
Some of my friends who have gone for ante-natal classes have commented that it is not very useful for The Day. This is probably because a typical ante-natal class gives you information based on standard hospital procedures instead of giving you information for you to make your own decision regarding your labour process. For example, they teach you about breathing but do not tell you about moving around and different labour position because in the hospital, you are expected to be strapped down the whole time.
My recommendation is this : You should really go for good childbirth education classes that gives you a better idea of what you are going to face on that day, and what kind of options you have. Here are you can explore going to :
The Mother and Child Centre @ Tanglin Mall Level 3. Tel : 68360063
They also have doula service, in case you are interested.
5. Do all the contingency plans for THE Day
Think through and plan ahead what you will do under different circumstances e.g. :
1. your waterbag burst at home
2. your waterbag burst at work
3. you have labour pain but no show and water bag not burst, etc.
Discuss with your hubby and have all your things ready on stand by, including small change for taxi (if needed)!
6. Announcement Arrangements, etc
Have a list of phone numbers of the people you need to inform by phone of the new arrival ready. List down all the people you need to inform and categorise them properly (by phone, by email, when to inform, etc). You won’t have time to think about this when your baby comes. Plan ahead also your first month cake list – who to get what. Or the invite list of the first month celebration, if you are going to have one.
7. Arrangement for Help
Get somebody to agree to help you during the first month or two, which is your confinement, way before you give birth. Discuss ahead what is your expectation, what are the do’s and don’ts, etc. Don’t leave to the last minute. Ensure that your help is in agreement with you regarding the care of the baby, your diet, etc. E.g if you are breastfeeding, do make sure your help is pro-breastfeeding and will not introduce a bottle of formula unless you agree to it. (Uh, sometimes mothers and mothers-in-law have a tendency to do things against your will behind your back because they might think that they know better than you do.)
If you are engaging the service of an employment agency to get you a confinement help, you may have to book the nanny 6 months before delivery.
8. Moving to the Confinement Home
Some people move to their parents’ place or parents-in-law’s place for their confinement. If you need to move, please do so a couple of weeks before your EDD. Moving usually takes a day or two for you to move all the necessary baby stuff and your own stuff over. This will also give you time to move things that you may have forgotten earlier. You don’t want to start running to and fro for stuff when the baby comes.
You may even wish to move in just before you give birth, so that you can ‘settle down’.
9. Talk to People
Talk to people who have experience, e.g. other mommies and mommies who have successfully breastfed. Learn from their experience. Be cautious about who you talk to, though. You do not want to be filled with negative stories. Avoid people who have traumatic birth experience. Talk to people who will strengthen your faith. You also want to make sure that the people you talk to know what they are talking about. E.g. don’t rely on people who are sold on formula milk to give you accurate information on breastfeeding.
When you talk to people, make sure that you also do your own reading up and research so that you can double-check, cross-reference, and sift out the wrong information and retain valuable advice.
9. Gift Registry
If you intend to have people give you gifts instead of monetary gifts (i.e. the ever popular Ang Pow), you might want to set up an online gift registry. Some department stores and Mothercare do have gift registry services but I don’t think they are online.
Here are some online gift registries you can try.