6 Things to Do Before Baby
We all know life is never going to be the same after the baby arrives. There are plenty of online lists telling you to travel more or sleep in as much as you can before you have kids, but the truth is, if you love traveling or sleeping in, you are going to miss those things regardless. And if you are just not the traveling type, you won’t much care. Instead, this list is going to focus on the things that are going to help you make life with your new baby a little easier.
1. Declutter and learn the art of discarding
Most of us own far more things than we need or want to own. At times, it gets so bad that the things we own end up owning our life, demanding time and attention just to be re-organized and moved around. It only gets worse when you have a baby: all those bottles that the baby didn’t take to, hats and socks the baby refused to wear, all the teethers, nipple cream samples, toys and clothes that the little one outgrew before you could even unpack them are going to multiply with an astronomical speed and attempt to completely take over your living space. Therefore, the skill of only keeping what you love and letting go of the rest (as opposed to keeping it for a rainy day, another baby, friend’s baby shower, etc) is imperative. While the KonMari way of talking to your stockings and handbags may not be for everyone, it’s the result that matters. Find a method that works for you and put it to practice while you are only managing your own possessions.
2. Learn to cook real food
When you have a baby, who wakes up every 15 minutes demanding food, diaper changes and attention all at once, it’s easier than ever to resort to take-out or ready-made frozen dinners. But, this is also the period where you need your proper nutrition the most. And when your baby starts eating solids and joins you at the family table, your food habits are going to be passed on to them. So, learning simple cooking skills and practicing some easy meals, which do not require following a complicated recipe or going to the grocery store for fancy ingredients, is going to pay off in the long run. Try spending a week making simple dishes like roasted vegetables, pan seared chicken breasts, slow cooker stews, etc. Once you get a feel for the basic building blocks of recipes,you will be able to use the items you already have in your fridge to get nutritious meals on the table with minimal prep time.
3. Take care of your microbiome
Many recent studies show that the mother’s bacterial flora, which is passed on to the newborn during the birth process and the first weeks of life, plays a crucial role in the normal development of baby’s gut and immune system. A few things you could do to make sure your microbiome is in top shape for arrival of your little one include: eliminating antibacterial soaps and antibiotic ointments from your routine, eating prebiotic foods such as root vegetables and probiotics such as yogurt, kombucha and kimchi. Another important step is to limit your use of prescription antibiotics, and take them only in the situations where your doctor strongly feels they are needed.
4. Develop a self-care routine and stick to it
When you have a new baby around keeping your sanity may prove difficult at times. That’s why it’s so important to remember small self-care gestures that are going to help you feel like a normal human being.
But, guess what, if you were never a bubble bath person, deciding to give it a try while your baby and your partner are out on their own for the first time is not a good idea either. So well before your little one is here, do yourself a favor and try to find things you really enjoy and incorporate those into your routine. It does not have to be a 4-hour spa treatment every week, maybe just a facial moisturizer that feels luxurious on your skin after a long hard day. And remember that self-care doesn’t have to be limited to physical things at all; meditation, mindfulness and gratitude practices would also fall into this category and are great ways to stay grounded.
5. Improve time management and organization skills
When you only need to remember to pay one credit card bill a month and go for one doctor’s appointment a year, it’s easy to just commit everything to memory. But, with a new baby on board, the number of things you will have to remember will grow exponentially. With all the pediatrician appointments, lactation support groups, library classes, play dates and museum membership renewals, trying to remember it all is bound to fail at some point. So, it’s a good idea to get some practice in advance by trying out which planning methods, tools or apps work for you, and which don’t.
6. Get in the best possible shape
Pregnancy is taxing on your body. So is caring for a new human being. Before you embark on this journey, make sure you are in the best physical shape you can be. Start going to the gym, sign up for a workout class, or just pick up a home exercise routine. Making sure to pay extra attention to strengthening your core and back muscles will get you ready for baby. The stronger your core the less likely you are to develop diastasis, and having strong back muscles helps with the lower back pain of pregnancy. Making correct posture a habit is also very important, because this is what determines how engaged your core muscles are throughout the day. Oh, and you will definitely need that arm strength for lifting the baby!
Thank you for such great advice. I didn’t think about few points but they totally make sense! Will go start un cluttering :)