If you were to ask each one of your friends who are parents the question: is it possible to prepare for a baby? The answer you will get nine times out of ten is; not really. But, that’s no reason to feel reluctant. Although it’s impossible to know exactly what to expect from your first days, weeks, and months with a new baby, there are some things you and your partner can do to make the transition easier.
Knowing this, I sought out to determine how much effective preparation is possible prior to the arrival of a child. With the help of Aaron and Tori Sobkowicz, my good friends and the proud parents of a 17 month old baby boy, Payton, I’ve compiled a selection of their best preparation tools and tips.
Baby-proof your home
One of the most important steps in baby preparation is to physically get your home ready for its new inhabitant. “Prior to the birth of Payton the majority of our preparation focused on the physical needs of our future family member. We made sure to have his bedroom all set up with a crib, change table, diapers, clothing, etc.,” Tori and Aaron explain. Getting things set-up ahead of time allows for you and your partner to be able to spend more quality bonding time with the baby once he or she has arrived home.
Welcome others’ advice
Whether it’s from a professional, friends and family, or a baby book, getting some advice from those who have been there before can be helpful. Aaron and Tori sought information from their midwife, “Our midwife was very helpful in the amount of education she gave us. She met with us regularly during the pregnancy, and was more than happy to spend a full hour or more chatting with us about any random question we came up with.”
Discuss, discuss, discuss
Sitting down and talking about how a new baby is going to change your life as a couple is important in order for you and your partner to be on the same page about what the daily drill will be once baby arrives. “We thought about how our lifestyle would change,” Tori and Aaron claim, “like how different it would be driving with a baby in the backseat of the car, and how we’ll have to find a good sitter if we want to go on dates.” Make a list of all the things you can think of that may be different after you add to your family, and decide how you will deal with those situations ahead of time.
(Don’t) Plan for those first few days
If you’re expecting those first few days with a new baby to go a certain way, don’t! Anything can happen, and it’s most often not what you planned for. While some new parents dream of immediately feeling an overwhelming connection to their new baby, and believe that any sense of apprehension will completely disappear, don’t fret if that isn’t the case. Aaron reflects, “One expectation that Tori had before the birth was that she would have an immediate positive and loving emotional connection. In reality, it took a little time to really develop that deep affection and love that we both now feel for Payton. It did not take long to form a very strong connection, but it wasn’t quite as immediate as we had predicted.”
Aaron and Tori agree that although it’s unrealistic to be able to plan and prepare for every aspect of your life with a new baby, these are some steps you can take to ensure that you and your partner don’t feel like you are transitioning into parenthood blindly. After all, all the planning in the world won’t equip you for the deep loving bond you will make with your child. Tori and Aaron can perhaps describe it most accurately, “Amidst all of the trials, we have also experienced some of our greatest happiness and joy. The love we both feel for Payton is completely different (from other types of love) and like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.” And that’s worth preparing for.
Cara Hykawy is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia with a degree in Psychology. She works in the Communications Department at the BC Council for Families, where she enthusiastically advocates for families and family serving professionals. Cara is passionate about utilizing social media to help get the message out that healthy families equal healthy communities.