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Nervous about bringing home a new baby? Anxious about the adjustment, wondering how siblings will react, or if you will ever sleep again?
Take a deep breath, momma, and take a look at these tips.
1. Lower Your Expectations
My friends know that this is my personal mantra for many things, but it holds especially true when you’re bringing home a tiny new bundle. During the months leading up to your due date, take a look at your calendar and start slashing. This is not the time to volunteer to lead VBS or sign your children up for extra service projects.
2. Prepare as Much as Possible
Before your baby arrives, take a look at your home and figure out what you can do NOW to make the days at home with a newborn a little easier.
Stock up on supplies you need for your home, schedule hair appointments and doctor visits before the baby arrives, and start filling your freezer with easy meals.
One of my sanity savers? The Amazon Mom program. I have diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and more delivered to my door. It saves me the hassle of loading up all the kids or sending my husband to pick up the essentials.
3. Get the Camera Ready
Take pictures of days leading up to the birth — a picture of your bags packed, one last belly picture, a family photo minus the new baby. These pictures will be a vivid reminder of your anticipation and later, a visual representation of how your family has grown.
4. Say No
In the past few years, I’ve learned the fine art of saying ‘No’. I’d love to be more involved in church and other volunteer activities, but my family is my top priority.
Before taking on anything, run it by your partner and sleep on it before responding. Knee jerk reactions may not be the best for you.
5. But Also Say YES
If you have family or friends who offer to come by and help, say YES. Bringing meals is always a blessing, and offers to help clean are welcome, too.
Tip: keep a small white board with a few chores with which you’d love to have help. When you have a friend stop by to visit you and the baby, ask them if they’d mind throwing in a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher.
6. Be Prepared for Anything
When we’ve brought our youngest children home, it couldn’t have been more idyllic. The older siblings all adored the baby.
I count myself lucky — keep in mind that your children at home may love their new sibling, or be consumed with jealousy. It’s all normal.
7. Take Care of Yourself
Your health and well being often gets shifted to the back burner when a new baby comes. Make it a priority to eat well (fill your house with healthy snacks), get out of the house a bit for a walk, and get as much rest as you can.
8. Do What Works for You
You’ll find a bazillion opinions about parenting out there. Co-sleeping pros and cons, decisions about vaccines, breastfeeding …. it’s enough to make your head spin.
Follow your heart.
Some folks think we’re nuts for some of our parenting decisions. My answer?
“We do what works best for our family.”
9. Don’t Forget Your Husband
I’m blessed with a rock star husband, who makes life with many small children run pretty smoothly. (as smoothly as a circus can be, right?)
As a mother, you bore the lion’s share of work — carrying the baby, nursing, watching your body go through a myriad of changes.
Fathers have a different set of stressors during a pregnancy. He’s worried about you, the baby, the rest of the children, and how in the world he’ll ever pay for this! Cut him some slack.
Take the time to say thank you when he changes a diaper or reads to the older children while you nurse the baby. Encourage him to be hands on, and be sure to have plenty of kisses, hugs and kind words for him in between all the chaos.
10. Take Your Time
It’s often been said that “the days are long, but the years are short.”
As I grow older, words like this pull at my heart. My oldest daughter is now 21 — her baby years seem lightyears away. Laundry will wait, deadlines will come and go, but your children are only tiny once.
Soak it up.
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