At the 30 week pregnancy visit, I set aside extra time to review the patient’s birth plan and especially for my first time moms, confirm that they are on the right course to prepare for delivery.
We will go through the list:
– birthing classes
– breast feeding supplies
Over the years I’ve come to add another suggestion to this visit: Don’t forget that you are actually HAVING A BABY. Not all women, but a significant majority of first time moms spend more time preparing for delivery than motherhood. They can spend hours pouring over nursery plans and preparing for childbirth, but don’t pick up a single baby book until they are in their desperate sleep deprived postpartum state. Most women have ‘been around babies’ their entire life: babysitting, siblings, working in the church nursery. Most feel comfortable changing diapers and holding cuddly newborns. Alternately, other than watching the Baby Story, most have no idea what to expect from the labor/birth experience. However, rarely do I see a mom at her postpartum visit that says things are going exactly as planned and expected.
The truth is that labor is for ONE day but motherhood is for the rest of your life. Obviously, labor is important and you want to prepare, but you want to equally prepare for the trials of the newborn period.
I recommend that my patients attempt to have all their major projects done and their nursery set up by 32 weeks. This gives them a chance to relax the last couple of months of pregnancy when fatigue and swollen feet make their appearance. Reading through the first few chapters of several baby books at around 30-32 weeks is ideal. Study breast feeding strategies, schedules and what normal development is the first few months. You will not remember everything, but you can at least have a frame of reference when you are having a rough postpartum night.
“What baby book do you recommend? ” is a common question I get asked. I usually recommend the “What to Expect Series” but now I’m thrilled to have our book, The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey through Baby’s First Year to suggest. I have gotten such great feedback from my patients who have enjoyed The Pregnancy Companion, I and now I’m excited to get the follow up book out there.
For all our pregnant ladies, do prepare for delivery and set up your adorable nursery, but don’t forget to prepare for motherhood as well. Get out the baby books, grab your highlighters and sticky notes, and dig in!
What do you think is the most helpful advice you received for preparing to be a new mom?