Anticipating and preparing for the day when your new bundle of joy arrives is super exciting! Soon you will be a mom, and your life changed forever. Most likely your current focus is on getting ready for the baby. (For more on getting ready for a baby check out my Ultimate Baby Planning Guide – a 30 item checklist to preparing for a baby here. It includes a printable list!) You probably haven’t thought much about what YOUR life will be like with a baby. Read on for how to prepare yourself for life with a baby.
Accept That Your Life Is Changing
Having a baby is amazing and absolutely positively life changing. Your life changes because you are no longer only responsible for yourself. You are responsible for another human and a tiny human for that matter. It is something how such a tiny human can take over your life. A helpless little baby is relying on you and putting his/her life in your hands. It is a huge responsibility and one that you as a mom will not take lightly.
Priorities Will Change In Life With a Baby
What you deem as most important in life will change when you have a baby. The priority will shift from focusing on yourself, to your baby. Getting your hair and nails done, shopping, watching tv, scrolling through facebook, cooking/baking, exercising, cleaning, and putzing around the house will be difficult to fit in with a newborn. Time spent doing things for yourself will now be spent with and for your baby.
Moreover, most likely your social life will change. There will be less going out and attending social gatherings. Instead, there will be more hanging out at home and/or at baby friendly places or homes with friends who have babies or family. Between the lack of sleep, feedings, and taking care of your baby there isn’t time to keep up with everyone. This is not a bad thing, but just will be different.
Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff
If you are like me, you like things done a certain way. Everything needs to be scheduled, planned out and organized. And I need to control everything. Life with a baby will change all of that. A baby teaches you how to let go of control and be ok with letting things go.
It is ok if you do not have a clean house. **For more on how to prepare your home for a baby click here.** Wearing makeup and having your hair and nails done might not always happen. Eating fast food or microwave dinners is ok sometimes instead of a gourmet cooked meal. It is ok to not have your entire life together. Lastly, it is ok to ask for help. The main thing to be concerned about is that your baby is safe and healthy. Enjoy the time with your baby as it goes so fast.
Babies Eat A lot
If you breastfeed…..your baby is going to relatively run your schedule. You are the baby’s food source and especially at the beginning, a baby needs to eat a lot. Formula fed babies eat a lot at the beginning too.
In addition, breastfeeding will be unpredictable. You can’t fully prepare for when a baby will want to eat. You may think you have enough time to do something, but then the baby is hungry and you have to stop what you are doing to feed them. Another example is the baby may fall asleep, so it eats later than you thought.
Also, you can’t fully predict how long the baby will eat each time. Sometimes baby will want to eat for an hour straight. I can recall feeding my babies and having to use the restroom so bad I had to take the baby with me while feeding. Note: a benefit to breastfeeding is if you are out and about you are the food source so you never have to worry about forgetting a bottle.
Tiredness and Getting Less Sleep
Unfortunately life with a baby means you will be more tired and get less sleep. They are not on the same eating and sleeping schedule as adults and need to eat more often; therefore, they will be up in the night to eat.
Some say to sleep when the baby is sleeping. As a new mom you have to do what is best for you. I did a combo of sleeping when the baby was sleeping if I really needed it, but more often that was a good opportunity for me to get some other things done. With my 2nd baby, that was a time for me to tend to my oldest child.
Furthermore, you never know how long a baby will sleep. It could be 10 minutes or it could be 2 hours. For me it was hard to immediately fall asleep when the baby was sleeping during the day. I did what my mind and body needed, which most of the time was getting things done I needed to. I am not talking about cleaning (which for me was the last thing I was worried about with a new baby), but filling my water, getting some food, going to the bathroom, tossing in a load of laundry, emptying the garbage, basic things I needed to do just to survive.
Stay Nourished In Your New Life With Baby
It may sound funny, but finding time to eat with a newborn can be challenging. There surely isn’t time to cook an elaborate meal, much less heat something up in the microwave for 2 minutes. It is important to keep your body nourished and fed well during these sleepless nights and energy sucking days.
Here are some tips for how to eat healthy and stay well nourished with a newborn:
- Keep a large mug of water or water bottle full and by you at all times
- Keep a little basket of snacks handy
- Make freezer meals in advance that you can just toss in oven or microwave. Do things that are easy but healthy. Click here for 10 Great Freezer Meals to Make Before Baby Comes.
- Don’t buy fruit that requires a lot of preparation or that goes bad quickly. For example, a huge watermelon needs to be cut up, can get messy, and takes a lot of space. Instead, buy fruits like bananas, apples, and blueberries that require no prep and are easy to eat.
- Do the same with vegetables. Get vegetables that are ready to eat and last. It is important to eat lots of vegetables and fruits to stay healthy for you and your baby.
Life With a Baby Means Closet and Wardrobe Changes
As a new mom you may see your closet change from delicate dresses and hot going out outfits to comfortable, breathable, easy to clean and less stain fabric clothing. Not only will the baby poop, pee, throw up on his/her own clothes, but some of it will land on your clothes. The baby will sneeze, wipe its nose, burp and put its mouth on your shoulder and chest. You may leave the house thinking your outfit is clean and stain free only to find a milk stain on your shoulder or down your sleeve at work. For example, I suggest if you are going to be around your baby do not wear a $150 dress that stains easy.
Furthermore, babies find jewelry and accessories very intriguing. The baby will pull on your earrings, necklaces, watches and bracelets and try to put them in their mouth. Because a baby puts everything in its mouth! So either don’t wear them or only wear jewelry that is safe for them to put them in their mouth. They actually make necklaces that look like normal jewelry but are made for baby to chew on. Click here to see an example. To avoid having an earring pulled out of your ear wear small or stud earrings so the baby can’t grab it.
Lastly make sure to have enough undergarments to support your needs. If you are breastfeeding you will need plenty of nursing bras and sleeping bras. Remember that these get spit up on too. Extra comfortable underwear is helpful too while you are healing.
Baby Temperament Is Uncontrollable
All babies are different. If you have more than one baby you will notice differences between the two as you go through the baby stages. Certain things a baby does and the way he/she acts is totally out of your control.
Babies Will Cry
For instance, all babies will cry, but some do more than others. Your baby is going to cry and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. It can get frustrating and aggravating when you can’t get your baby to stop crying. When you are at a boiling point, set your baby down on the floor, crib, or in a safe place and walk away for a few seconds. Take some deep breaths, think about something calming, and remind yourself it is ok your baby is crying. There will be an end to this. Never shake your baby or do anything out of frustration to your baby.
Actually the physical crying does not hurt your baby. There could be many reasons they are crying. It may take some time to get a baby to stop crying. Before you know it you may spend 30 minutes standing, rocking, and walking around trying to get your baby to stop crying.
As a new mom it can really eat at you why your baby is crying and what else to try. All babies are different and it takes time to figure out a new baby. Of course as time goes on you learn things your baby likes and doesn’t like. You will try things that work and things that will not. In the end, a baby is going to cry and that is ok.
Night Time Crying
One of the worst times a baby can cry is during the night. The baby has been fed, changed, burped, and rocked to sleep. However, as soon as you put the baby down in their bed they immediately wake up and begin to cry. So you pick her up again, rock her, she falls asleep and 20 min later you put her down again and the eyes open wide and crying begins. This can be frustrating and how parents are tempted to have their baby sleep with them. Again, this stage will pass, but it is so hard while you are in it.
Keep Trying to Find Solutions
Keep trying things until you find something that works for your baby to stop crying. It might be a strange thing, but that is ok. At some point you have to do whatever it takes to stop a crying baby.
One thing that took a little time to figure out, but that worked for my babies to stop crying was finding a song that calmed them down. We found a song my son liked when he was a month old. We were in the car coming back from my niece and nephew’s birthday party and were stuck in horrible traffic. My baby boy was just screaming at the top of his lungs. We were trying everything we could think of to get him to stop crying, but couldn’t pick him up since he was in the car seat.
After about 30 minutes of miserable crying, Hold Back the River by James Bay came on the radio and he was instantly quiet. I immediately found the song on youtube on my phone so I could play it on repeat the rest of the ride home. After that point, whenever he was having a crying spell we would put that song on and it was instant relief. It took us a little bit longer to find the right song for my daughter, but we found the tv show The Office theme song was what worked for her.
Life With a Baby Requires Adjusting Your Schedule
Almost everything you do is going to take longer with a baby. Leaving the house in the morning is one of the biggest adjustments. Getting ready in the morning will take longer unless your baby is sleeping. Getting the baby ready, fed, in its car seat, ready for the appropriate weather, and baby bags packed for the day all takes time. Basic household chores take longer like preparing a meal and laundry (more of it now) because interruptions are continuous as babies always need something. Then there are the unexpected timing of things like the baby throwing up in a car seat, pooping in the bath, spitting up all over your furniture, etc.
Plan time when you are getting ready for something or have to be somewhere at a specific time. Allow for an extra 5-10 minutes before you have to leave for emergencies and for unexpected incidents as many days something will happen.
If you did not have many visitors to your house before, that will change with a baby. People are going to want to see your baby, hold your baby, and tell you about your baby. Click here to check out the best new mom advice I ever received. It can be helpful and enjoyable to have people come visit. It is even better if they give you a hand with the baby, do a couple of household chores, or bring you something to eat.
If you are anxious about people coming over, visiting you, and wanting to hold your baby set clear parameters and expectations. Have visitors when you feel comfortable and when it works best for you.
Final Thoughts On Preparing Yourself For Life With a Baby
Having a baby is one of the greatest gifts in the world. Although, be prepared that your life with a baby will change. And that is ok! Over time you will adjust to your new lifestyle and it will become the new normal.