If you’re expecting a baby and don’t feel ready yet, you’re in good company! According to a 2020 Repeller survey, 39% of parents said they didn’t feel ready to have children before getting pregnant. The good news is, there are tons of resources to support you in your preparation — and you’re sure to learn as you go.
As a pediatrician and parent, I know how unnerving it can be to think about parenthood. So here are some things you can do to be better prepared: Create a nutrition plan, choose a pediatrician, buy what you need, and know the symptoms of postpartum depression. By taking these simple steps to prepare, you can look forward to your new little one with greater joy and confidence.
Make a feeding schedule
There are three main options for feeding your baby — breast, pump, bottle, or a combination — and each option has its pros and cons. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby are significant, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone. To help you prepare, here are some resources to check out:
“Why It Matters,” A CDC’s Guide to the Benefits of Breastfeeding. “What Modern Moms Need to Know About Breastfeeding,” an article at http://uvpediatrics.com that addresses some of the common issues you may encounter on your breastfeeding journey. “Breastfeeding 101,” a YouTube video by Registered Nurse and Birth Educator Sarah Lavonnes. “Breastfeeding Basics as Taught by a Subway Sandwich,” a light-hearted yet educational video and article by registered nurse and pediatric sleep expert Cara Dumaplin.
After research, make a plan for how you want to feed your baby and then mentally prepare to adjust that plan. Breastfeeding is more complicated than it seems, and it can be difficult to master the routine, leading to frustration, anxiety, and even depression. Sometimes even your best-laid plans just don’t come true. But the most important things are a happy, healthy baby and a happy, healthy mother, whatever that looks like!
Choose a pediatrician
If you’re still in the hospital after delivery, your healthcare team will likely ask you to choose a pediatrician. It’s a good idea to add that to your pre-baby to-do list so you don’t have to worry about it!
“It’s a good idea to see a doctor about 3 months before your baby is expected,” Kids Health says. “Ask for recommendations from family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and doctors you know. Check your insurance company’s website to see if the doctors are included in your plan.”
Here are some other factors to consider:
Are they open late? For example, if your baby develops a cough and you want to get him checked out right away, it’s nice to know that your pediatrician can see you, even if it’s outside regular office hours. This ensures continuity of care and convenience, as you don’t have to rush to immediate care. Do you like the doctors there? Some practices schedule prenatal visits or tours for expectant mothers so you can meet the doctors and get an idea of the practice. Do they offer resources such as telephone consultations? Utah Valley Pediatrics is a practice that offers free telephone consultations with a nurse to give you quick medical advice or put your mind at ease. Are they close? We have nine locations in Utah Valley, so we might have an office near you! But whichever pediatrician you choose, make sure they are close enough to be convenient for you and your little one.
Buy what you need
More often than not, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on products. Make sure the things you buy are safe and suitable for the newborn age. For example, do not buy cribs with bumpers or pillows, because they are not conducive to a safe sleeping environment for your little one.
When considering an item, think about its usefulness. If it’s a stroller or car seat, is it light enough to carry with a baby strapped in? Does the stroller fit in your trunk? Are those swaddles light enough for a summer in Utah? Are those pajamas stretchy enough to slip off a sleepy baby during a midnight diaper change?
Check out “Preparing for a Newborn” at http://uvpediatrics.com for a list of items you can buy, skip, or just borrow.
Know the Symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorders
As you prepare for the arrival of your newborn, it is also important to prepare for the changes you will experience after delivery. Keep in mind that “Nationally, about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression,” according to the CDC.
As your pediatrician, we monitor your maternity appointments with you and your midwife. Watch for signs of postpartum depression, such as crying frequently, feeling disconnected from your baby, severe anger, feelings of hopelessness, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you have these symptoms or if something doesn’t feel right, seek support from your loved ones and your doctor.
To be better prepared for the arrival of your new little one, create a nutrition plan, choose a pediatrician, buy what you need, and know the symptoms of postpartum depression. And if you want some extra education from an expert in kids, consider attending a local Talk with a Doc event, where a pediatrician will give you a good foundation to care for your baby.
dr. Bryan Weed is a pediatrician at Utah Valley Pediatrics, which has nine locations in Utah Valley.
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