Getting ready for your new baby’s arrival can feel overwhelming. Between navigating the complicated world of baby registries to bringing home a new little one from the hospital—and everything in between—it’s a lot.
There’s no question that having a baby changes your world in a number of ways—some of which you can prepare for and others which you really can’t. We’re big fans of focusing our energy on the things we can control, which is why we’re sharing some of the more practical ways you and your partner can prepare for a new baby.
From having difficult conversations in advance to stocking up on freezer meals to taking newborn care classes, read on for five ways to get prepared for your little one’s arrival together.
While there’s no manual that comes with parenting, there are definitely tools out there to help. Tinyhood’s parenting education courses are some of them. Taught by leading experts, all of Tinyhood’s online classes are fully flexible so you can watch them from home at your own pace.
The Infant CPR and Choking for Babies 0-12 Months class is at the top of our list for must-take classes. No one ever expects to find themselves in an emergency situation, but it certainly feels more empowering as a parent or caregiver to be prepared. And for just $20, this class is a no-brainer.
One of the best aspects of Tinyhood’s classes is that you have access to them for two years, so you can refer back at any time (bonus: all courses come with downloadable guides and checklists, and access to office hours with experts). We especially love this for the safety classes because we can all use a refresher as our children grow. Plus, this class is great for grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers, too.
Use code THEEVERYMOM20 for 20% off a Tinyhood parenting class through 9/7!
2. Make or Stock Up on Freezer Meals
Feeding a newborn is basically a full-time job (and then some). Getting anyone else fed during the first few months is a challenge to say the least, so you won’t regret stocking your freezer in advance.
If you’re the cooking type, we have a few ideas for freezer meals to make before welcoming a new baby. And if you’re more of the pre-made meal type, we have you covered there, too, with some of our favorite frozen meals from Trader Joe’s.
3. Discuss Boundaries for Visitors and Helpers
When baby arrives, everyone will want to come meet them, and you’ll likely receive lots of offers for help from friends and family. Everyone has a different comfort level with visitors during the newborn stage, and while you may not know exactly how you feel until baby actually arrives, it’s a good idea to talk about it with your partner in advance to see where you both stand.
Do you want visitors while you’re in the hospital (if your hospital is allowing them)? If so, who are you comfortable with coming to see you? Who will you allow to hold the baby early on—close family, others, just you/your partner? When you arrive home, do you want a few days to settle in or are you comfortable having family or friends stop by right away? If people offer to bring a meal, would you prefer they leave it at the door or do you want to greet them? If anyone is coming in from out of town to help, will they stay at your home or somewhere else?
4. Learn the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Make a Plan
An estimated 10-20 percent of new moms experience postpartum depression, so it’s a good idea for you and your partner to know what to look out for in advance—and discuss a plan of action. Some common signs of potential postpartum depression include insomnia, severe mood swings, loss of appetite, withdrawal from people and activities, panic attacks, low concentration, fatigue, and anger.
Postpartum depression may look like the baby blues at first, but unlike the baby blues—which typically last a few days or weeks after the baby is born—postpartum depression symptoms will be more intense and last longer. These feelings and symptoms can range in severity, and it can be difficult to recognize it yourself when you’re in the middle of it. Talk with your partner about how you want them to bring up any potential concerns or red flags and outline a plan for seeking help, like talking to your doctor.
5. Determine Overnight Roles and Responsibilities
There is truly nothing quite like the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn. Talking with your partner in advance about how you plan to handle overnight feedings, diaper changes, and other wake-up calls before you’re in the throes of exhaustion is a good idea.
Do you plan to have the baby sleep in the same room as you? Or will the baby sleep in their nursery? Will one of you feed the baby and the other one handle other middle-of-the-night needs like diaper changes, rocking, and soothing them back to sleep? Will you trade off nights so that one person sleeps while the other cares for the baby?
In addition to their Infant CPR and Choking class, Tinyhood’s online Baby 101 course is a great place for you and your partner to start learning everything you’ll need to know about being new parents and can help jumpstart important discussions about who will handle what once the baby arrives. Of course, you may realize that things need to change once your little one comes, but taking a class and setting some ground rules in advance can help.
This post was in partnership with Tinyhood but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.