Preparing for ParenthoodMonica Bielanko
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Congratulations, youre pregnant for the first time! How exciting! You've probably been super busy making a registry, choosing the perfect nursery colors, and day dreaming of baby names. Thats all fine and good, but as a mom of two, I can promise you they wont quite prepare you for parenthood. If youre a type-A person (Im certainly not) who likes to over-prepare, here are 7 solid gold things you can start doing now to train for the marathon that is parenting. Oh and, welcome to the club
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1: Set your alarm
When you're pregnant you'll notice everyone is filled with lots of useless advice. The leader of this unsolicited help is always "sleep while you can." As if sleep is something you can bottle like peaches and break out when your newborn won't stop screaming. What you should do is start training for the newborn like an athlete trains for a marathon, except instead of running, set your alarm clock to wake you up every three hours. Go to bed at 7pm. Set the alarm for 10pm. Stay awake from 10 until midnight. Set the alarm for 2:30am (if you're ambitious) or 3am and then stay awake until, oh, I dunno, 4 in the morning, maybe? Then set the alarm for 6am to get up for the day. This is much better advice to prepare you for baby than that silly "sleep while you can" crap. Trust me.
Let's talk about sleep deprivation
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2: Get your guns ready
A newborn looks light, right? Wrong! Put that sweet little baby into a cumbersome car seat, add an overflowing diaper bag and a giant, heavy-duty stroller to the mix and you've got yourself one hell of a workout. My advice? Throw a few books in that car seat and start bringing it with you wherever you go. And remember, you can't just leave it sitting in the car — parents get arrested for that kind of thing. Going into 7-11 to get that Slurpee you've been craving? Car seat comes with. Have to pee in the dirty restroom at the back of Walmart? Bring the car seat, mama. I don't care how in shape you think you are, you'll end each night with aching arms and back.
A detailed account of me not working out
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3: Do practice drills
Remember when you took a notion to go shopping at the mall, so you just hopped in your car and went? Wasn't that fun? Once baby is here, leaving the house is tantamount to preparing for war. Diapers? Check! Wipes? Check! Bottles? Check! Formula? Check! Change of clothes in case of blowout? Check! Second change of clothes just in case? Check! Strap baby into car seat, lug baby out to car. Okay! Finally, you're ready to go. Wait! Where are the keys, you big dope? Speaking of keys, you totally forgot your purse! Run back into house. Now you're ready to shop until you drop! Oops! Forgot to load the stroller in the back of the car. My two cents? Start these leaving-the-house-drills now so that by the time baby is here, you've got it down to a science.
Lets talk about diaper blowouts
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4: Practice late-night feedings
If you want to practice breastfeeding, you can set your alarm for midnight, 3 am, and 6 am. The minute the alarm goes off, run to the nursery and sit in the chair you've designated for nursing. Don't fall asleep! You need to sit there for a half hour or so. Must. Stay. Awake! If you're a formula feeding mama, set your alarm for the same times, but don't turn it off — you need that insistent, horrible noise to accompany your bottle making to mimic baby crying. Time yourself. How long does it take you to go to the kitchen and drop three scoops of "formula" (use flour) in water, shake it up and get back to baby? Five minutes? No good. Keep practicing.
The night feed shuffle
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5: Get to know your stroller
It would serve you well to take your stroller to the nearest mall, preferably a crowded one, and learn how to dodge traffic. Also, not everyone is a gallant door opener, so you may want to practice backing into and out of doors while maneuvering your stroller, which isn't as easy as it sounds. If you're feeling ambitious, set up some orange cones on your driveway and practice an obstacle course of maneuvers. How small is your U-turn radius? That's important to know in small stores with lots of clothing racks. Get to know your stroller, its twists, turns and quirks. You'll be more inclined to get out and about sooner after baby is born if you've got a feel for your transportation.
Stroller haters can suck it. Kids are people too
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6: Shower like it's a race
You have got to get your shower time under five minutes and even that is being generous. See, once baby arrives, thats the most time youll have to get fully clean. In fact, sometimes brushing your teeth will be the only personal hygene youll be able to fit in. Shaving? Bathing? Opportunities will be few and far between. The last thing you want is to be interrupted by babys wails and stuck naked on the couch breastfeeding or giving a bottle. My advice: pin the hair up, scrub the face, shave your pits and brush your teeth while in the shower. Boom. Done.
Remind me again why I never get anything done
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7: Practice doing things with one hand
Can you do the dishes with one hand? Can you make your bed with one hand? No? Better get to practicing. Lots of babies cry and cry unless someone is holding them. Sure, you can use a sling or a wrap, but I suggest relearning how to do everything you normally do each day with just one hand, including making a bottle for baby and feeding yourself. (Just be thankful that wiping yourself only requires the one hand.)
I cannot hold her all day long
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