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Oct 30 / Caro

Getting Ready For Baby

In amongst all of the deliberation and worry about exactly how the baby will be arriving and whether they will be OK, I think I might sort have lost sight of the fact that a baby is indeed coming. I still have an awful lot of unanswered questions about what exactly we need to do with him or her once they get here!

I can kind of get my head around the basics – things like changing nappies and getting them dressed – and I know that there will be midwives on hand in hospital to help out immediately after the birth. I’ve touched before on fears about feeding  but even with that, at least I know where to look for support and help should I need it. I’ve memorised the number of the breastfeeding support line and the times of our local drop in support sessions.

The worries I’m left with have now are more about what I need to actually do with this small person, other than feed and change them and keep them warm. I know that they’ll sleep a lot to begin with. I also know that cot death prevention guidelines say it is safest for them to sleep in our room with us for the first six months. But what about during the evening, before we go up to bed. If they are asleep then, do we put them in our room with the baby monitor on? Or keep them with us? But is we do that, will the sounds of our voices, us eating or watching the television, wake them up? If they go upstairs, is that putting them at risk?

In fact, whilst I think about it, where do I leave the baby at other times – like when I want to go to the loo? I’m assuming that I’m not going to be in the same room as the baby for every minute of the day, but it’s hard to get my head around the fact that they’ll go from being inside me to independent from body. It feels weird to think about leaving them out of sight. But at the same time, I imagine I’d quickly go insane if I’m never able to step away.

How on earth will I ever get anything done though? If I find it hard to leave them alone, how can I do the laundry whilst they sleep? What if I’m in the middle of a task and they begin to scream? Where exactly will they be when they are awake, and how on earth will I entertain them? I don’t actually know how to put the pram together. Nor do I know how I’m going to manage to get it in and out of the house with a baby too. What happens if I need the loo when I’m out on my own with them?

And beyond these practical considerations, what if the baby does nothing but cry, and I can’t soothe it at all? I’ve seen those checklists, where you offer food, cuddles, check the nappy etc etc. All common sense stuff. But what on earth do I do when that doesn’t work? What if I can’t comfort them, or lull them to sleep. Everyone I speak to talks about maternal instinct. But what if I have none?

That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. I’m afraid that I simply won’t have the instincts that experienced mothers tell me are the key. I’m sure that some of the questions I’ve written here will have mothers everywhere laughing at me for my stupidity. But I really, honestly can’t imagine how a day in the life of the mother of a newborn runs. I’ve been so focused on getting safely through pregnancy that I’ve not dwelt on it too much, but I feel a lot like I’m about to sit an exam for which I’ve done absolutely no preparation. Life is definitely about to change, and I think perhaps I ought to start swotting up!

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