Being pregnant with your first baby is usually a time of great excitement and wonder. It is also a time to make preparations for your baby's arrival.
Important points to remember
Caring for Yourself
Learning to care for yourself is essential for surviving as a new parent
- 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 located?
- Do you have a local doctor?
- Do you have someone you can confide in if you find being a parent stressful or become anxious?
- What services does your local council provide for parents? (family day care, toy library)
- Is there an occasional care service you can use, or a friend or relative who will help with baby sitting?
- Do you have the telephone number of the Tresillian Parent's Help Line and other emergency services?
- 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.
Parenting Style and Family Issues
Conflicts can occur when parents have not discussed issues such as:
- What to do if the baby is unsettled
- Feelings about breastfeeding
- Types of household support that will be needed eg sharing housework and cooking
- Level of involvement by other people eg grandparents, aunties, uncles, and friends
- Financial and budget considerations eg living on one wage, returning to work, cuts to spending
- Parenting style expectations – family rules and behaviour eg use of discipline
- Expectations about returning to work or remaining at home.
- Use of child care
- Time out as an individual and a couple.
Baby Equipment and Nursery Set-up
- Babies don't know or care if their equipment is second-hand or if they don't have the latest trend in baby equipment. Remember the majority of baby equipment has a very limited life span.
- The important thing is that any equipment is safe and clean. Baby equipment should conform to Australian Standards.
- Babies grow very quickly so avoid buying too many small clothes or baby toys
- Remember your baby's most important toy is you. Babies love attention from their parents
- When setting up the nursery, if possible, ensure that equipment is placed to avoid excessive bending or lifting that may cause injury to your back.
- Make sure bedding conforms to the latest guidelines to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Move cots or bassinettes away from windows and window cords that will be a hazard to your baby
Reducing the Amount of Housework and Making a Child Safe Home
Now is the time to check your home to make it easier to tidy and keep safe for your child:
- Discuss your expectations with your partner about their help with the housework
- Identify housework short cuts eg keep bench tops clear, put away ornaments that gather dust
- Store or throw out any unwanted household equipment.
- Install fire detectors
- Get an electrician to install an electrical circuit breaker
- Think about the safety of your home as your baby grows. An uncluttered house is easier to keep safe.
- Check heavy potentially unstable pieces of furniture are securely fastened to the wall.
- Make sure poisons and household cleaning products are kept in a secure cupboard.
- Change the location of heavy food items and other kitchen equipment that would injure a young child if they pulled it on top of themselves.
- Secure cupboards with childproof locks.
- Remove, isolate or cover any water hazard such as bird baths, swimming pools
- Put up safety gates on stairs
- Make extra meals to freeze when cooking
- If you have a dog, if necessary start to make changes to the dog's routine and/or behaviour prior to the birth of your baby.
Learn about Parenting
Being able to parent is a learnt skill that requires lots of practice and patience.
- Attend the session in the Childbirth Classes on Parenting or attend a basic parenting program
- Read some practical parenting books or watch a parenting video – your local library will have a range of parenting resources you can borrow
- Talk to other new parents and more experienced parents
- Baby-sit a friend's new baby. This may encourage them to offer to baby-sit your baby occasionally.
- Watch other parents care for their babies eg how do they calm their baby
- Importantly when things go wrong don't be too hard on yourself - ask for assistance
- 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
- Learn basic first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
If this is your second child see the fact sheet on Sibling Rivalry.