Guest blog by Alexis Hall singleparent.info
Ready, Set, Parent!
When they say having a baby changes everything, they aren’t exaggerating. Whoever they are, their words of wisdom fail to offer practical advice on preparing for the joyous occasion. But they aren’t us, and we have tips and tricks on how to get yourself and your home ready for 10 tiny fingers, 10 tiny toes, and one tiny person who will soon steal your heart.
Your first challenge is to get your home together in a way that will help you streamline your parenting efforts. This is especially important in the first weeks and months, as sleep becomes a luxury, and the vast majority of your time and attention will be on getting to know your new baby. Start in your child’s room. As HomeAdvisor explains, you’ll be spending a great deal of time there, and you want to make sure the space is multifunctional. Consider adding the crib that will convert to a larger bed as your baby grows. You’ll also want a comfortable area where you can sit and rock your baby back to sleep and enjoy a good book together when they are old enough to sit in your lap.
Spend an afternoon or two baby-proofing your home. While your little one won’t do much independently until about seven months of age, those months will go by quickly, and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that safety hazards have been accounted for. Baby Center offers this childproofing checklist to get you started.
Schedule (what schedule?)
You’ll hear lots of advice that promotes everything from sleep training to insisting your child must be potty trained by 18 months old. Forget all of it. If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that your baby has needs and those needs – love, food, sleep -- won’t follow a traditional 24-hour clock. If you want to create a schedule that works for you and your family, you’ll need to learn how to read your baby’s cues and cries to determine a general timeline of his wants and needs. Be prepared, however, for everything to change with each growth spurt, and there are many! Flexibility is the key here, so while it’s perfectly fine to hope for a routine, you must be prepared to let some things go.
Gather your village
There is an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. This is as true today as it’s ever been. Your village is simply the people that you install into your child’s life before and after their arrival. This may include a spouse or partner, grandparents, siblings, and child care provider. You will also need to pick a pediatrician and a birthing team. You might also consider hiring a doula for both labor and postpartum to give you peace of mind that you will have expert help and guidance to care for your new little one. It is helpful to establish a network of other new moms as well. Your “mom friends” will be there with you as your figure out life as a first-time mother. For more on breaking the ice and meeting other new parents, check out this (all-too-real) article by Scary Mommy that accurately likens the mom-friend-making process to dating.
A side note for singles
Single moms are no longer considered the social pariah as they were in our grandparents’ day. In fact, approximately 25 percent of children in the United States are raised by a single mom. Although it may be difficult, there are plenty of benefits that go along with solo parenting. Working Mother asserts that children raised in a one-parent household are likely to develop certain qualities ahead of their two-parent peers. Perhaps most relevant to today is that single-parent homes offer an enlightened view of gender roles and can help you raise children who are more aware of alternative family lifestyles.
It doesn’t matter if you’re raising your child alone or in a traditional family setting: having your first baby is an exciting time, but one full of uncertainties. The most important thing you can do is trust your instincts and learn to read your baby’s needs as they arise.
Written by Alexis Hall firstname.lastname@example.org Singleparent.info