Impending parenthood can be just as anxiety producing as it is joyous. There’s so much to consider, so much to plan for, and so many questions. Fortunately, you are not alone because there are a ton of great resources out there to help you with almost any and all aspects of becoming a new parent. Not too long ago, I was new parent and here’s advice I dug up from Web MD that proved invaluable.
1. Take Care of Your Health: Don’t neglect your own physical well-being. Start with eating right. Focus on nutrition rather than weight-loss. After all, it took a new mother 40 weeks to gain 40 pounds, so there’s nothing wrong with taking that long to lose it.
2. Tag-Team to Get Some Sleep: Not getting enough sleep is almost always unavoidable for new parents. To make things easier, divide the night into shifts. If you’re a single parent, that’s not possible, so whenever baby closes its eyes, so should you. No email, no phone, nothing but sleep.
3. Take Personal Time: This can be working out, walking, or reading a book – anything that relaxes you, and takes you away from the immediacy of your baby’s near constant needs.
4. Accept Help: Don’t be shy about leaning on family or friends. Also, consider getting some paid help to reduce your daily chore time.
5. Maintain a Social Life: Spend time with other adults, especially other new parents who know what you are going through. This can help prevent feelings of isolation and give you an emotional support system.
6. Spend Time With Your Partner: Do whatever it takes to get an occasional evening out together. If you’re single, it’s particularly important to let the people close to you know that you’ll be needing to spend some “alone” time with them.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help keep your life and mental state in order. Now let’s look at getting your baby’s life in order. Here are a few things to keep in mind when putting together your baby's nursery:
Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before your due date. This will ensure any potentially harmful fumes have had time to disperse.
Don’t put a crib in direct sunlight, or where it will be under a streetlight at night.
Check that none of the crib slats are more than two and 3/8 inches apart, and that all the bolts and screws are tight.
Keep comforters and pillows out of the crib -- they could suffocate the baby.
Make sure there’s room to replace the crib with a bed once your baby is ready for the move.
Use wood or cork floor or area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet.
Secure rugs to the floor with double-side tape.
Figure out how much storage space you’ll need.
Create a comfortable place for you to sit.
Keep all diaper supplies close to the changing table, so you don’t have to move far from baby to reach anything.
Place furniture away from the windows, use window guards, and cut off any blind or curtain cords.
Anchor all heavy furniture to the wall so it won’t fall over if bumped.
We’ve gone over some general parenting tips and some nursery safety and practical tips, so let’s move on to something a little more fun – actually creating that nursery. What’s your nursery going to look like? It’s time to design and outfit an aesthetically pleasing environment, as well as a safe and nurturing one. Consider these suggestions before you get started:
Find a fun wallpaper pattern.
Go bold with geometric patterns.
Throw in an oversize stuffed animal to set a playful tone.
Pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the room.
Create an accent wall. Highlighting one wall is fun and practical when you're being careful about costs.
Go with a big baby-inspired pattern on the curtains and leave the rest of the room neutral.
Consider horizontal stripes, which expand even the smallest of spaces.
Dress up the ceiling as well as the room. Babies spend a lot of time on their backs looking up.
Include art pieces that have letters and words as well as images.
After doing a little Googling, I found those tips on Houzz.com (a decorating and remodeling website) and the other nursery tips at The Bump. Remember Web MD’s Tip #4?: “Accept Help.” A little more searching led me to Giggle.com where I could actually get the stuff to create that nursery.
I wanted to go with their “Craftsman Cool” motif, but my wife wanted to use their “Modern Magic” one. So, we settled on their “Contemporary Classic” instead. Marriage is compromise, right? We ended up buying a bunch of stuff from Giggle with a discount (and entered a contest to win a $1,000 Gift Card) and so far, the baby seems very happy with our purchases...and with us. Let the countdown to the teen years begin.