Plan ahead for your new addition

Welcoming a baby into the world can be a magical time for both you and your partner. Whether it’s your very first baby or your little one is getting a sibling, each pregnancy is different. Therefore My Smart Kid expert, Jason Marcus, advises parents to stay calm during this exciting time and plan ahead for your new addition.

“Trust that your instincts are well developed by the time baby arrives. We sometimes give ourselves very little credit for possessing the ‘gut’ feeling, go with it,” says Jason Marcus, Specialist Midwifery Practitioner. You will feel a little more reassured about the process if you plan ahead and get everything in order before giving birth.

Work out a birth plan and ensure that your care provider is aware of it. Ask yourself important questions for example, “What do you want to happen when labour starts? What do you want your care provider/s to do and not to do? Who do you want with you when you’re in labour? How you would like to give birth in terms of position? Consider the benefits of delayed cord clamping and skin to skin contact as soon as baby is born.”

The next step would be to decide how you’re planning to feed your baby. It’s well-known that exclusive breastfeeding confers developmental, emotional and immunological benefits to baby. Feeding baby breast milk can be a team activity. If mom needs a break, dad can always cup feed baby with expressed breast milk. If there is a specific reason you can’t breastfeed, plan ahead by buying and sterilising bottles.

Babies do very well when they are kept skin to skin after they are born. It is known as Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), but both mom and dad can provide this.

Tell your friends and family exactly what you need for your bundle of joy. If you have a tradition of stork parties, have a wish list of what gifts you would like to receive, the organiser can ensure that people are aware of the items you would need. Ideally plan ahead for the toiletries baby would need; you could build up a supply that would last you up to, if not longer than, six months.

What about preparing a sibling for a baby sister or brother? If there are older siblings, get them involved from the beginning.

Here are a few tips on how you can get them to interact with the baby:

*         Have them attend antenatal visits with you. You can be the judge whether they are ready for these visits.
*         Get their opinions around names for the baby and start using the name when referring to baby if you know the sex of the baby.
*         Get them to help with preparing baby’s room or sleeping area.
*         Depending on age, have them make little crafts, cards or write letters to the new baby.
*         Start discussing rules around when baby arrives at home, e.g. that they may hold the baby only with permission.

It’s also very important to focus on yourself and your relationship. Spend as much time together as a couple, as the months following the birth can be very straining to the relationship.

Prepare and freeze meals for the family. Get extended family involved with this; grandparents, aunts, friends and uncles can be approached to make meals and freeze them for the new family or newly added to family.

It is a good idea to wash baby’s clothes and bedding before baby arrives, this too can be a family affair with the help of the partner and siblings.

Consider what needs to be done with childproofing the home. Have this done sooner than later, so that you are familiar with any changes to your home before baby arrives, e.g. if you need to gate stairs you won’t be tripping over them in the middle of the night when you need to get something from elsewhere in the home.

Be prepared when it comes to other people’s advice and your baby. “You will face a barrage of unsolicited advice from well-meaning family, friends and even strangers,” says. Decide beforehand how you will deal with this as it can cause you as mother/father/couple to feel less than adequate as parents. “However, do not be too proud to ask for advice or assistance should you feel you need it,” Jason adds.

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