So I’m having another baby…. does it sound like I’m terrified? No… well I am. It’s not that I’m not happy or excited, because I’m over the moon. A couple weeks before my son was born I felt absolutely ready, that I was unstoppable and I just wanted him to be here. Then a week before he was born I had some concerns because my Braxton Hicks contractions became really intense and I was unable to feel my usually extremely active little boy. So when I was in the hospital and got sick and my midwife said I might be in labour, I started to panic. As ready as I thought I was, I wasn’t. I don’t think it’s possible to really be fully prepared before the baby arrives.
That being said, there’s still a lot of things you can do to make it a little easier once they do make their grand arrival.
Preparing the Home
– Get the baby’s room ready. This part can be the most fun, picking a theme and decorating your child’s future bedroom. The big staple pieces can really make a difference in the look and feel of the nursery, so even though everything baby related is crazy over priced, remember you have 9 months to save up and buy good quality items. On top of the nursery I also put together a little baby station in the corner of the living room. I have the playpen set up with the bassinet attachment and organizer hanging on the side. This will be used for day time naps and diaper changes so that I don’t have to constantly leave the room and leave Clark by himself, then he can be included more. In the organizer I put a bunch of diapers, wipes, diaper change essentials (Vaseline, baby powder, lotions), receiving blankets, and sleepers.
– Baby proof. This won’t be a huge issue until baby is mobile, but it doesn’t hurt to get those outlets covered ahead of time so you don’t have to rush around once baby is on the move and more curious.
– Keep the house warm. This more applies for winter babies. Babies are accustomed to a certain way of living being tucked in all nice and warm in mommy, so coming out to a cool house can be a shock. Yes they spend a lot of time in warm jammies, but for those naked times like bath time and diaper changes. For some it’s just simply bumping up the thermostat some, but for others (like me) we have to make sure our oil tank is full so we don’t run out in the middle of winter and get stuck in the cold.
– Laundry! Give baby’s clothes a nice run through the wash as close to due date as you can. Going through, organizing and folding little ones clothes will keep you busy for a bit, and seeing it all will really help it hit home that you’re about to become a parent. This usually gets lumped in with the nesting feeling moms-to-be get within a week or two of baby showing up. Also, put on a big load of moms clothes, the less she has to worry about (like running out of shirts, pants, or worse, underwear) the better. She has enough on her mind.
– Pre-cook! Just like getting moms clothes nice and clean, think about preparing some meals ahead of time. There are plenty of things that you can prepare, even cook, and then freeze to save for later. A few things that I plan on making are a couple pasta dishes, stew, even a meatloaf. All of those can be put together, frozen, and just have to be thrown in the oven, or even better the crock pot, and you’ve got a meal all done with no preparation that day, which also means less dishes!
This part can be a bit more difficult and time consuming, and can completely get thrown out the window once baby arrives, but at least working on it might help avoid some jealousy once the younger sibling arrives. I have a few things that I’m trying with Clark, and also have been given some advice from friends that I’ll share as well.
– Bring them to appointments. My son has come to pretty much every baby appointment we’ve had. His favourite part is when we listen to the heart beat, he’ll climb up on the bed beside me and cuddle up to me, then lifts his shirt and wants it done to him.
– Let them help decorate. When it comes to the baby’s room let them help set up, obviously not putting furniture together or stuff like that. But decorate. I’m going to get Clark to colour or paint a picture specifically for his little sister, he’s also picked out a special stuffy that will sit in her crib till she arrives and he can give it to her.
– Pick out some clothes. I took Clark out Christmas shopping for his new baby cousin. While we were looking through the baby girl clothes for her, he picked out a nice warm sleeper and said “For sister?” So of course we bought it. That sleeper that he picked out will be the first piece of clothing she will wear, which will help connect them a bit since he picked it out himself just for her.
– Buy a baby. My friend bought her son a baby doll, and told him that it was his baby, and showed him how to swaddle the baby, and take care of it. He took that baby EVERY where and looked after it so well. Changed diapers, fed the baby, everything. So when his sister arrived he was so ready. When mommy needed a diaper he ran off to get it. He was a huge help, and absolutely adores his little sister.
– Include them in pictures. This one is optional. For us since we were so excited about being pregnant the first time around we blabbed the news as soon as we found out. So this time we decided we’d have some fun with it. Our families didn’t find out until I was about 11 weeks pregnant, and the way we announced it was we had a special photo session and included some props to announce baby. So when we told my in-laws we gave them a picture of Clark holding a sign that I made up that said “Every superhero deserves a side kick. Arriving February 2015.” Once my mother-in-law realized what it meant she instantly started bawling, it was fantastic reaction. This time around we also did maternity pictures with lots of shots of Clark giving my tummy hugs and kisses, adorable! And once she arrives we’ll be getting newborn pictures done, and I have a few pictures ideas for him with his new sister.
Preparing your pets
This one is really hard. All I know is I did it a little wrong when I was pregnant with Clark. The last month of my pregnancy I did a lot of cuddling with my dog, he would lay in bed with me, sit on the couch with me, he was attached to me and I loved it, he loved it. I felt like it was the right thing to do, give him a bunch of extra attention before my attention would be taken else where. It didn’t work so well. Not like our dog did anything to Clark when he was a baby, he LOVES Clark more than anything. If Clark started crying for whatever reason Thor would start circling or be right up on me trying to give him kisses to make him feel better. During diaper changes Thor would put his front paws on the edge of the change table and stand beside me watching ever move I made. Bath time, Thor would lay on the floor beside the tub, you know after he tried to jump in with Clark. There was never a problem between Clark and Thor, it became a problem between Thor and me. He was mad because he had become so accustomed to the one on one attention he was getting from me, so when that went away he let me know how mad he was by chewing on my shoes. Honestly, he would go out of his way to find a spare pair of my shoes and chew off the heels, then just look at me when I found them with a “yeah well that’s what you get” look on his face. For the first few months I co-slept with Clark so Thor was not allowed on the bed at night, so once we switched Clark to his crib and Thor was back up on the bed, he stopped chewing on my stuff.
Now I’m not saying neglect your pets before baby comes, but I’m saying to go out of the way to give them extra attention and try to over compensate for the time you’ll miss with them.
If you have a hospital birth and stay for a night, or a few nights, however long, one thing you can do once baby does arrive. Send one of the blankets baby was wrapped up in for the day home and let your animals get used to the smell of their new sibling.
While going through these things, getting everyone else and everything else ready for baby, you’ll start to feel more comfortable and confident as the big day arrives. But like I said, you’ll never be 100% ready. My son is almost 3 and a half and I can honestly say I’m still not ready for him. You can’t prepare yourself for when you kids hit the milestones. Every single one will hit you like a ton of bricks and you won’t know what to do with yourself.
My last piece of advice is simple. Moms-to-be listen to your body. The day before I went in to labour I was exhausted. I ended up sleeping most of the day, I had tried my hardest to get up and do things, but I would usually just stop after 20 minutes and go back to bed. At the time I had no idea my body was just stocking up on sleep and preparing me for what I was going to go through the next day. So sleep when you’re tired, and if something feels off, don’t be shy, call your doctor, or go to the ER if you’re really worried. Growing a person is a very complicated thing to do. The last couple weeks before Clark was born I swear I paged a midwife every other day over small things because I was so confused by what I was going through, I didn’t know if it was bad, normal, or a sign for something bigger.
If anyone reading this is going through what I’m going through, then all the best to you, you’ll be amazing. Be confident, even when you think you can’t do it anymore, you can. Trust me, the last thing I said before the final push when Clark was born was “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Then I was told to give one last push, and he was here. It was amazing, and I can’t wait to do it again.