By: Caroline Jennings-Arthur

For nine months you have taken appropriate precautions with your health, maintained regular ob-gyn appointments, and begun your nesting process by putting together the nursery. Now the fun begins!

That is not a facetious statement. For many parents, a baby and a rocking chair equal heavenly bliss. Housework can wait, that novel isn’t going anywhere, and if your plants are neglected a little, who cares? You are molding and influencing your baby’s self-worth. He will learn more in his first two years than in any other two-year period of his whole
life. So try and work out a schedule that suits both of you.

Some mothers find it frustrating to still be in pajamas at four in the afternoon. It’s okay to have days like that; it’s all a part of the new experience of balancing the baby with getting yourself dressed and ready for the day. Some mothers will tell you to sleep when the baby
sleeps; Moms with Type A personalities feel that nap time is the only time to accomplish other chores. Again, find a balance. Nursing babies don’t always sleep as much as bottle babies because breast milk is easier to digest and the baby uses up the nourishment faster thereby needing to eat more often. Because of that, the baby will force new
moms to take a break and rest.

Hopefully, new dads are on board with breast feeding and will support the moms’ efforts. Frozen breast milk can be warmed, Dad can feed baby and mom can either rest or get all
dressed up for a much needed “date night.”  Sometimes a dad feels a little left out when a new baby comes home, so mom needs to be cognizant of his desires. It will take a lot of planning and maybe some help from family members but having a nice romantic dinner
planned for dad when he comes home from work would greatly enrich your relationship.  Try not to greet him at the door with straggly hair and pajamas. Remind him of why he was attracted to you in the first place. Ideally you will both continue to put each other first and together focus on your little bundle of joy.

Once you’ve settled into a workable routine, you will wonder how you ever got along without your baby. Some mothers will stay at home and raise their babies while a majority will return to work. Your first anxious question will probably be how to get everything done in the morning and still get to work on time (especially when you’ve hardly gotten dressed before afternoon). Get organized. If baby is going to a sitter, get the diaper bag packed the night before and clothes laid out along with your own clothes. You can decide on breakfast the night before and have everything in one place in the fridge. Getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual can be a life-saver. Rushing not only puts mom in a less desirable mood, but baby picks up on frustration and reflects it in his attitude and complicity.

The most important word of advice is ANTICIPATION. If mom will anticipate what her baby needs and act on it, life is so much more pleasant. Check diapers often and if
they need changing, do it. Don’t wait for baby to cry. If he hasn’t been fed for a while, offer something. If he seems to be restless and isn’t hungry or wet, he may just need his mom or dad and will be content to be held or walked. When he starts teething, he will need
something cold to chew on. Frozen baby green peas are good because the coolness soothes sore gums and it also gets a vegetable down him.

Once mom, dad, and baby realize how interdependent they are on each other, they will all morph into a happy, functional family with each other’s needs finely tuned. Today’s homes often are of single parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and guardians as well as biological mom and dad. Any of these combinations of families can provide an enriched
environment to set the stage for well-rounded boys and girls.

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