As much as we like to think we can be prepared for motherhood, there are just some aspects of pregnancy, labor, and life with a baby that may come as a complete surprise! Having said that, there’s no harm in preparing for motherhood as much as you can, while accepting a certain amount of uncertainty.
So what can we do as first-time moms, single moms, or moms with three kids already at home?
Preparing for motherhood comes in many forms, be it practically, emotionally, financially, or physically.
Let’s dive in with some tips and tricks, and answers to commonly asked questions about how to prepare for motherhood.
In this article 📝
- What first-time moms should know?
- How do I know I’m ready to be a mom?
- Preparing for single motherhood
- How do I survive the first year of motherhood?
- How can I prepare for motherhood?
What first-time moms should know?
As a first-time mom, your list of questions from what newborn essentials you need to buy to how to deal with labor pains is probably pretty long.
And that’s fine. It’s never too early to start researching, and in many cases, knowledge is power.
We have some great guides to help.
How do I know I’m ready to be a mom?
A question you’ll probably never find an exact answer to.
For many of us, being a mom is an instinct.
Even if you feel absolutely ridiculous holding someone else’s baby, when it’s time for you to swaddle your own precious bundle, it’ll probably come naturally (after some practice)!
Preparing for single motherhood
There’s no doubt that it takes a village to raise a baby and a mother.
If you’re heading into parenthood single-handedly, it’s a good idea to find support where you can.
Family members, neighborhood moms groups, or your fellow Peanut community can all provide help and encouragement. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
How do I survive the first year of motherhood?
The first year of motherhood will probably pass in a whirlwind.
And while we’re not saying parenting a toddler suddenly becomes easier after their first birthday, there’s confidence to be had in making it a full trip around the sun with a baby.
But there’s no denying that at some points, it might seem as though you are simply trying to “survive” this motherhood gig, and mom-burnout is a real thing.
Whether it’s the sleepless nights, feeding troubles, or getting back into work, there are challenges ahead.
But remember the joy too.
Becoming a mom is like nothing else in the world, so try to relish the good times, and remember that the bad times will pass. You got this!
How can I prepare for motherhood?
Whether you’re TTC or already pregnant, preparing for motherhood can help take some of the uncertainties and fears away from this major life change.
So how exactly can you prepare for motherhood? Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:
Attend a childbirth class so you can feel confident knowing the options available to you during labor. While writing a birth plan is recommended by many midwives, accepting that labor is a changeable situation is also helpful.
Discuss household responsibilities with your partner or family — whoever you’ll be living with when the baby arrives. In the first few days and weeks, you might not be able to help out with chores, so setting expectations might help avoid conflict later on.
In the few weeks leading up to your due date, do some batch cooking to fill your freezer with ready-to-heat home-cooked dinners. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks and arrange a meal train from your friends and family, or schedule online grocery deliveries.
Look up newborn care classes to learn some basics like how and when to change a diaper, feeding and sleeping schedules, burping methods, and how to bathe and dress your baby.
Make time for you and your partner, if you have one, before the baby arrives. Have some fun, and also talk about how your relationship might change after the baby comes. It’s a massive learning curve for both of you.
Ignoring well-meant but unhelpful advice is fine. You’ll find your own ways of doing things.
Emotionally preparing for motherhood
Becoming a mom is like nothing else you’ll experience. It’s normal to feel a whole heap of emotions, sometimes all at once, but it’s always a good idea to be open with your loved ones about how you’re feeling. There’s no shame in seeking help if you think you need it.
Flexibility is key. This can be especially challenging if you’re a person who loved a strict schedule pre-baby, but you’ll learn pretty quickly with a newborn around that they are the boss. And they have no idea about time.
Try to have faith in yourself. This one is easier said than done, and yes, you’ll make mistakes, but you are the best mom for your baby, so believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
Remember that nothing lasts forever. This kind of helps if you’re trying to establish a routine or sleep schedule and things are particularly tricky, but it’s true. Keep going, and before you know it, you’ll be out the other side.
On the flip side, this also means that one day you’ll feel like you’re nailing this mama business, then the next, your baby will decide it’s time to switch things up. Remember our previous point. Have faith in yourself!
It’s OK if you don’t feel an instant connection to your newborn. For some mamas, it takes a while to feel that overwhelming motherly love.
Think about outsourcing help where you can. This may be hiring a cleaner, dog walker, or doula to help in the post-partum period.
Consider your maternity leave plans, taking into account any employer policies you have access to and how your family will manage financially.
Childcare costs can vary hugely depending on whether you’re considering center-based care or a nanny, full-time or part-time. It’s never too early to start budgeting.
Raising a family can be an expensive time, so is it time to start a savings account? What about writing a will? There are big decisions to be made.
Prepare your body
Try to stay as healthy and active as possible throughout your pregnancy. This will help you to be strong and fit throughout your labor and can help with a quicker postpartum recovery.
Learn about breastfeeding while you’re still pregnant, so you don’t have to learn on the job. It can help to know about different feeding positions and what to do if breastfeeding is painful to troubleshoot any early problems.
Perineal massage during the last few weeks of pregnancy can help reduce tears and the need for episiotomies during vaginal birth, which will help your postpartum recovery. You can ask your midwife for more information, or it might be covered in your prenatal class.
Sleep! Whenever you can, for as long as you can! While being told to “sleep when the baby sleeps” can be pretty annoying when the baby won’t sleep anywhere but on you, take advantage of any snippets of time for rest. It’s essential to your physical and mental wellbeing.
💡 More from The 411
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Baby Sleep as a First-Time Mama
What to Know About Your First Prenatal Visit
First Trimester Ultrasound: What to Expect
First-Time Mom: 17 Things to Know