Make sure all the baby’s items are conveniently placed in the baby room around your 37th week of pregnancy. Diapers and wet wipes should be within reach. All those cute baby clothes should be freshly laundered and kept near the changing table. In the early weeks, your baby will require many changes throughout the day due to spit up, diaper leakage and even spurting of milk from your newly upsized breasts.
The last thing you would wish for is to panic in the event of an “accident” (where your baby pees or poops suddenly during a diaper change) and your hands are covered in offending waste and there is nothing within reach to clean it up! (Trust me, this happens more often than you’d like it to.)
Sitting down with your partner during your late pregnancy to discuss “parenting strategies” is also a very good way to avoid being overwhelmed by sudden arrival of your baby. Most parents – particularly those who have no extra help during the first weeks – go into a slight state of shock with all the needs of a newborn that everyone becomes easily irritable and cannot think straight. Setting ground rules before the baby is born means that there will be a plan to stick to should things spiral out of control.
The plan should include:
• An emergency contact should both parents be unable to cope. This would usually be a close friend who is also a parent, or your own parent.
• A method of “time out” when both parents feel overwhelmed by the new duties.
• A roster for both parents. For example: Daddy can do the laundry until Mummy recovers.
• Methods to let Mummy rest and recuperate. For example: Daddy can take a week off work immediately after the birth to help out, or Daddy can watch the baby over the weekends while Mummy sleeps in.
• Coping methods when the baby refuses to sleep and/or cries constantly.
• If applicable, who should help take care of the older children in the family.
It would also be wise to make arrangements for the baby’s first month party during your late pregnancy by calling different companies to ask for quotes and to clarify terms and conditions. It will be difficult to even stay awake once the baby is born, so having all the necessary information on hand would mean the amount of preparation time would be greatly reduced.