5 Ways to Feel  Better Prepared for Baby’s Arrival

Do you feel like a squirrel in the middle of the road getting ready for this kid like I did? Here's a great guest post from Abby to help unravel the frazzle.

I’m 28 weeks pregnant this week which means I’m officially in the third trimester. This means I kind of need to know what I’m doing and be prepared to do it…And, pretty soon.

There's my 28 week belly. Yes, that is a pinata that was stuffed with baby supplies at our shower last weekend. Our friends are awesome. There’s my 28 week belly. Yes, that is a pinata that was stuffed with baby supplies at our shower last weekend. Our friends are awesome.

But I digress. Back to the moment of panic:

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Justin & I had a conversation last night that went something like this:

Justin: Did you register for bottles?

Me: Yes, I registered for EVERYTHING.

Justin: Did you get the good ones? That Dr. something brand?

Me: Um, I don’t think so. I mean I registered for playtex I think. I was trying to keep it basic. Oh, but I didn’t register for a bottle warmer. Should I do that? I mean, don’t you just use the microwave?

Justin: If you want to give our baby cancer…

So, yea, I have no idea what I’m doing.

So this morning I found myself googling how to heat a bottle. (I know. How sad is this?)

And googling how to heat a bottle somehow turned into googling “what happens during birth.”

 Holy. Mother. Of. Pearl.

This resulted in a few things:

But, I do feel a little better. I don’t feel prepared, but I feel a little better.

I attribute a lot of this to the need to just “feel prepared.”

I’m often told how intuitive this all is when the baby is born, but, for me, I need information.

So,  here is my list of things that helped me feel a little more prepared for all of this.

5 Ways to Feel  Better Prepared for Baby’s Arrival:

1. Ask other Moms.

Ask your friends who recently had babies. Join a facebook group just for moms. I do both, and it has helped tremendously. Other moms love to give advice, so when you feel unprepared, solicit some. It’s much better to solicit the advice now then to wait for the unsolicited advice to come when baby is here and the hormones are raging.

2. Google ONE question at a time.

Be careful with google because it will lead you down the rabbit trail I went on today, but google IS great for a basic question that requires a basic answer. (I would not suggest googling birth. Too much. Too scary.)

3. Read a pregnancy blog designed to make you feel NORMAL.

Pregnancy blogs can make you feel more prepared with tips and tricks without making you feel like you have to be supermom and have this all figured out right now. Books written by doctors seem very rigid and  provide overly “safe” answers, and and all their chart tracking makes the inner perfectionist in me go a little nuts. I’m a fan of scary mommy for a good laugh and a jolt of reality.

[Editor’s note: I hear that Pregnant Chicken is pretty good too *cough*]

4. Buy some books that don’t make you feel like a failure before you start.

I have Baby 411 and What to Expect, but they both make me feel overwhelmed. I feel like I should be taking notes on everything. They tell you EVERYTHING, but you really don’t need to KNOW everything. I suggest buying topical books once you feel like you have a baseline of information. I just bought a book on breastfeeding and a book on labor. I don’t know enough about either of these two topics, and these other doctor books will still be there when I have a question about scaly skin or weird rashes. But, for now, I need to take one topic at a time.

 5. Get stuff done so you can de-stress.

We all have a lingering to do list while pregnant. And, it only exacerbates the feeling of not being prepared. I like lists, but then I often just stare at them. Make that dang list right now and start crossing items off. Some items on my list include 1. organize baby shower gifts  2. wash baby clothes and organize closet 3. put up curtains in nursery etc. etc. Once some of these items are accomplished, I think I can relax just a bit more.

Hopefully, this little list helps coax you out of your minor panic attack as it did me.

But, for now, I leave you with a picture of me kicking the crap out of this pinata.

Because, again, our friends are awesome.

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5 Ways to Feel  Better Prepared for Baby’s Arrival

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  • Taking classes has helped me and my husband since we are first time parents. Don’t get me wrong, we still feel like we don’t know enough, but it helped us her the basics of childbirth and newborn care. We took them through the hospital that I’m delivering at, but there are so many out there. And it’s not too late at 30 weeks!

  • I’d also say hire help early. Figure out whatever tasks you don’t like to do or will stress you out and then line up the support you want, need and deserve!! New Parent Coach, cleaning lady, food delivery service, overnight doula, dog walker, etc. If outside help isn’t in the budget (hey, babies are expensive haha), while you’re pregnant start a list of weekly to-do’s and tasks (laundry, cook dinner, walk dog, cuddle baby so you can shower, swing by the pharmacy, bring up your mail, chauffeur you to appointments, etc) that you can dish out whenever someone says "what can I do to help?" or "do you need anything?"

  • I think if you really feel uneasy/unprepared, the very best thing you can do is hire a doula. She will get to the heart of what you need/want and help you streamline your preparation. Also, a great doula will help you feel like a kickass rockstar at your birth (instead of a deer in the headlights).

  • I agree with Laura L – we’ve taken 3 classes: Lamaze, Newborn Parenting 101 and I took a Breastfeeding class while my husband is taking a Daddy Bootcamp class. I have a lot of books too and they are great to refer to but what we’ve learned in classes has helped the most.

  • I felt terrified about birth and while I was pregnant I searched for something to help quell the anxiety. I found Hypnobirthing which is basically just meditation. On the course I learnt about the way the human body works in labour and understood that if we let go of fear our bodies are able to give birth like other mammals – calmly. I’m an information junkie like you and this revelation totally changed my view of labour and birth. Knowledge definitely does = empowerment. Learning about my body and also the medicalisation of birth, I felt much more prepared and I would be much better able to make positive decisions during labour. Later in pregnancy I found SpinningBabies.com and it was so effective at transforming both my labours from potential csections to calm natural births that I have recently started the #MakeBirthEasierCampaignUK and written several blogs including my birth stories and reasons behind the campaign. https://makebirtheasier.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/makebirtheasier-campaignuk/
    You can find me on twitter @MakeBirthEasier and also at https://Facebook.com/makebirtheasier
    I hope this helps you not only to feel better prepared, but to be better prepared and help you have an easier birth. Good luck Abby, and I look forward to more of your blogs :0)

  • Please don’t assume that you need a bottle… many women choose to breastfeed and that’s plastic free! Also, Google gentle births and you’ll find that it’s a state of mind. Labor is amazing and empowering and when you’re mentally prepared you can rock it without trauma

    • I’ll be using bottles because I’ll be pumping and going back to work. 🙂 the boob is great but I want to have a back up. Thanks for the recommendation on gentle birth! I’ll check it out.

  • If the whole a baby comes out of where?! thing scares the poop out of you try reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. As with any book you take what you need and leave the rest but she makes it so so so much less scary.

    • I have since read her book, and, yes scary is an understatement. The pictures alone were enough to totally freak me out BUT, yes, you take the good and leave the bad. I have a whole new understanding of birth and labor. I also used to think those who cried natural childbirth were insane, but I understand and respect that choice far more now than I used to. (Though I will be going epidural all the way :))

  • I’m expecting #2 in 6 weeks, and I feel unprepared, too! Thankfully I sucked it up and bought a bunch of stuff online this week (ohmygosh the ease of shopping online!!!) and feel much better now. Funny how having about 300 diapers in the spare room makes you more confident. 😉

    • Yes!!! Shortly after I wrote this, my husbands co workers filled his office with diapers. I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off me!

  • If you are scared about labour and giving birth, take a good prenatal education class like the 10 week Bradley Course for Natural Childbirth. If you know what to expect, it makes it so much better, regardless of the outcome. Education=Power. Pregnant mommas seem to spend more time researching strollers and decorating nurseries then actually learning about and preparing for labour.

  • So weird – my name is abby and my husband’s name is justin. What are the chances?

    (Good post too, BTW!)

  • I’m 30 weeks along with my first, and the best thing I’ve done to feel more prepared is to take a class. I’m taking a six week class (1 class per week) on preparing for labor & delivery, breastfeeding and newborn care and it’s been great so far. I’m mentally so much better prepared to do this thing.

    • That’s awesome! The support and information is always there if you go looking for it! Congratulations on your baby to be!

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