Being pregnant is usually a time of great excitement and wonder. It is also a time to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle with regular exercise – walking and swimming are especially good for pregnant women.
Start to identify a support network in your local community. For example:
- Where is the early childhood health centre child and family health nurse located?
- Do you have a general practitioner?
- Do you have someone you can confide in if you find being a parent is difficult or if you are feeling anxious?
- What services does your local council provide for parents e.g. family day care, toy library?
- Is there an Occasional Care service you can use, or a friend or relative who will help with babysitting?
- Do you have the telephone number of the Tresillian Parent’s Help Line?
- Will you need to use public transport? If so, it can be helpful to practice using public transport before having to do it with a pram and new baby.
If this is your first baby you may need to think about:
- Your feelings about breastfeeding.
- What to do if the baby is unsettled and how you will respond (responsive settling).
- Setting up the nursery and other equipment; second-hand, clean, safe equipment is fine.
- Avoiding excessive bending or lifting that may cause injury to your back e.g. ensuring the babies cot or change table is not too low.
- Moving the cot away from windows and window cords as they can be a hazard to your baby
- Avoid buying too many small clothes or baby toys, as babies grow quickly out of them. Remember your baby’s most important toy is you. Babies need one on one time with their parents. Your touch, eye contact, voice and smell are what babies need for their brain growth and development.
- Attending antenatal classes in preparation for childbirth and parenting. Talking to other new parents and more experienced parents.
- Offering to babysit a friend’s new baby. This may encourage them to offer to babysit your baby occasionally.
- Watching other parents care for their babies, e.g. how they calm their baby.
- Learning basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Conflicts can occur when parents have not discussed:
- Parenting style expectations –e.g. types of discipline.
- Types of household support that will be needed, e.g. sharing housework and/or cooking.
- Level of involvement by other people e.g. grandparents, aunties, uncles, and friends.
- Whether the older child can go to a friend, family member or child care centre to help you have time for yourself.
- Financial and budget considerations, e.g. living on one wage, returning to work, cuts to spending.
- Expectations about returning to work or remaining at home.
- How you will manage time as a couple.
- Importantly if things go wrong don’t be too hard on yourself – ask for help.
- Talk to your partner about the way you and they were parented. What things were positive that you would like to repeat with your children? What things were negative that you don’t want to repeat with your children? It can help to write these things down.
- Now is the time to make your home safe.