Over 3 million babies are born in the United States every year, which means new parents are being created every single day!
If you’re preparing to be among this group of parents – congratulations! Being a new parent is a magical time, full of joyful new experiences. That being said, to say that parenthood doesn’t come with difficult changes as well would simply be untrue.
And despite your bundle of joy making each of these changes and challenges well worth the stress, it’s wise to gather as much advice for new parents as you can in preparation for the arrival of your little one.
To help you along in this journey, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best tips for preparing yourselves to become new parents. Some of them are more difficult than others, but all are extremely beneficial.
Keep reading to learn more!
- Start Improving Your Health Now
Having a new baby is going to take more energy than you might expect. To help your body prepare for this challenge, you should start making strides toward better health well in advance.
The stress of a newborn baby will make it more tempting to indulge in bad habits. Breaking those habits now will prevent you from making bad decisions that make it more difficult to care for your infant.
This means quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption, improving your diet, getting more exercise, and making sleep a priority. Yes, it’s a long list, but each item is just as important as the next if you want to reach optimal health.
If this sounds too difficult, consider that making improvements to your own health will translate to the health of your child.
Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
Let’s dive a little deeper into what it means to practice a healthy lifestyle. We’ll skip the obvious, smoking and alcohol, and get straight to diet.
Being at a healthy weight will drastically reduce the chances of you having a high-risk birth. Not to mention, a nutrient-dense diet during pregnancy means that your baby will be getting all of that nutrition as well.
Eliminate junk and processed foods high in sugar, sodium, and chemicals. Do your best to eat primarily fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy carbs and fats. Your body will thank you!
On top of your diet, you should aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity every week. This is only 30 minutes a day and can be completed with something as simple as an evening walk or bike ride.
Last, it’s no secret that one of the biggest struggles new parents face is a lack of sleep. Getting your mind and body in peak condition before the baby comes will make the sleepless nights easier to handle. This means getting adequate sleep – between 7 and 9 hours of quality rest every night.
- Take Parenting Classes
What better way to prepare than by learning from the experts? Through taking a parenting class, you’ll learn essential skills such as how to change a diaper, how to breastfeed, and how to administer infant CPR in case of an emergency.
You should be able to find these classes at your local community college or hospital for little to no cost.
While you’re in these parenting classes, practice being assertive. There are going to be plenty of times when you have to look the person you would move mountains for in the eye and say no. Building your confidence with parenting can help you do this.
- Build a Strong Support System
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and there’s some truth in that statement. There will be times when you need a break, a shoulder to cry on or a person who knows what you’re going through to give you advice.
Having a strong support system will provide all of this! Even if your baby will have supportive and helpful grandparents, it’s important to have parent friends your own age who are going through the same things at the same time you are.
Parenting classes are a great way to meet such people! There are also online support groups and chatrooms where you can find tons of advice and support from peers and professionals. As long as you’re practicing good online safety, there’s no harm in finding your support system on the internet.
Your baby is going to be your whole world, but at the very least, it’s nice to have another adult to talk to now and then.
- Save as Much as You Can
Even if you’re the king or queen of hand-me-downs and thrift shopping, there’s no way around it – kids are expensive! From hospital bills to baby supplies to clothes to everything in between, your baby is going to be one of the largest expenses of your life.
Because it can be difficult to save as efficiently once you have the baby, it’s smart to start saving beforehand. Don’t feel like you need millions in the bank to raise a happy child, but having a nest egg to fall back on can make a world of difference in terms of your stress levels.
- Practice with Baby Necessities
Think about your daily routine. There are no doubt people who count on you for one thing or another in your life, but nowhere near what a baby will require. Before your baby arrives, practice with all of your baby essentials.
Get comfortable putting your baby carrier on and taking it off, even if it’s with a baby doll. Pack a small suitcase and carry it with you to simulate a diaper bag. Practice folding and unfolding your stroller and removing and installing your car seat.
The more confident you are with everything your baby will need, the better.
- Baby-Proof Your Home
As an adult, you probably don’t think twice about the items in your home. But even the most commonplace objects, such as a coffee table or a glass knickknack, can be dangerous for babies.
To keep your child safe at home, you need to baby-proof before they arrive. You can learn more details with this ultimate guide to baby-proofing, but here are some common techniques:
- Install outlet covers
- Block rooms and stairs with gates
- Hide electrical cords
- Put bumpers on doors
- Install locks on cabinets, garbage cans, and toilets
- Secure large furniture to walls
- Place non-slip liners under rugs
- Put safety guards on windows
- Change Your Bathroom Habits
Right now, you can use the bathroom in privacy, shower as long as you want, and relax in the bathtub without interruption. When the baby comes, this will all become a thing of the past.
Practice showering as quickly as you can, because your baby will need your attention when they’re awake, leaving you to juggle a million things during naptime, including personal hygiene.
Also, get used to leaving the bathroom door open. Yes, you can bring your infant into the bathroom and shut the door when they’re small enough to sit in a carrier, but this will only be an option for so long.
- Practice Mindfulness
Your mental health is one of the most important things you have and sometimes, being a parent can test it. When this happens, you need to have strong mindfulness habits to lean on.
Take up meditation or yoga, make an effort to write a gratitude list every morning, even just learning how to focus on your breath in times of stress can work wonders. In those inevitable times when you feel overwhelmed, it’s good to have the ability to step outside of the situation and focus on the positives in your life and what you love about being a parent.
- Let Go of Perfectionism
Perfectionism is an unhealthy mindset to have, but as a single person or couple, it’s easier to get away with it. When you add children to the mix, however, it’s time to let that go.
There are going to be stains on your clothes and sometimes you simply won’t have time to clean your house the way you might want to. Do your best to take it all in stride, remembering that your baby is only this little for a little while. Soak it all in!
Follow This Advice for New Parents to Make Parenthood a Breeze
There’s no doubt about it, parenthood is going to throw things at you every now and then that you can’t possibly prepare for. But by doing your research and collecting as much advice for new parents as you can, making the transition to parenthood will be far easier.
Try not to stress too much, the most important thing is that you’re going to love your baby more than anything else in the world. You’re going to do great!
For more information about preparing for a newborn and other parenting advice, be sure to take a look at our blog!