It goes without saying that having a child changes your life. But how exactly will your life change, and how can you prepare to go with the flow as these changes occur? Here are some of the biggest lifestyle changes you can expect when you’re expecting – and how to take them in stride.
Your sleep schedule
The first few months of parenthood are incredible. They can also be completely exhausting. Your newborn needs 24/7 care. When your baby is crying in the wee hours, it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Your sleep schedule will be one of the biggest lifestyle changes. However, remember that your baby will be sleeping through most of the night in a few months.
There’s no magic formula for getting enough sleep, but there are some tricks that can help. The most common advice parents of a newborn hear is “sleep when the baby sleeps.” You might have bottles to clean, but the minute your baby’s eyelids fall, your priority should be resting yourself. There will be time for chores later.
Your household priorities
When it was just you and your partner at home, it likely wasn’t that hard to manage household chores. However, it’s a different story after you have a baby. As parents of a newborn, you must document, divide, and conquer the household chores that need to be done. Staying organized will help reduce stress for you and the baby.
To set your household up for success, sit down, and list all the chores that must be done. Come up with a rough schedule outlining responsibilities – and then prepare to deviate from that schedule. Keep open communication with each other and avoid placing blame. There will be moments when you’re both feeling overwhelmed. Lower your expectations and agree to focus on enjoying your baby’s first months.
Your health and wellness
You can’t give baby your best if you don’t take care of yourself first. While you’re expecting, start planning ahead to make sure your (and your partner’s) wellness needs are met. Motherhood can make things like contraceptives feel less urgent, but you still need a reliable form of birth control if you’re not ready to continue expanding your family. Consider what options are the best for you and your lifestyle and put a plan in place in advance.
Mealtime also becomes more complicated with a child. Make a list of easy, nutritious meals and the required ingredients, and then start using an online grocery ordering service. It’s easier to avoid the call of takeout if you have everything you need to quickly put something together at home.
Your hygiene and personal style
Any parent of a newborn will tell you that your own personal hygiene is one of the first things to take a backseat to your baby’s needs. You won’t even notice you’re still wearing the shirt you slept in two nights ago. However, maintaining your hygiene is important for the baby, as well as your own wellbeing.
During those first months, pampering yourself for 10 minutes in the shower might be the only time you have to refresh and rejuvenate. This is an area you should definitely treat yourself! Consider signing up for a bath subscription box, so you have something new and exciting waiting for you when you can steal a few moments for yourself.
Parenthood can feel isolated if your friends aren’t in the same place in life. But you don’t have to give up your friendships when you have a baby. In fact, it’s crucial that you don’t! Maintaining friendships with non-moms is important to help you develop a support system while keeping your own identity.
Don’t assume your pre-pregnancy friends will want to ditch you the minute your schedule becomes restrictive. They might just not be sure of the best ways to hang out. Let them know what works for you, prioritize making time for them, and be open with them if your schedules just aren’t syncing up.
Many people find that once they have a baby, pets become pets. They also have lifestyle changes. The “fur babies” you loved more than life itself suddenly drop in importance on the totem pole. While you will have a new priority in your life with a newborn baby, your pets will always hold a special place in your heart.
Don’t let your pets fall by the wayside. Set them up for recurring food and supply orders, so their needs are taken care of. Spend time showing them love, even if it’s just cuddling with you and baby at the end of the day. You’ll find that while adding a baby to the family does require you to divide your time. There’s still plenty of love to go around.
You and your partner will experience some big lifestyle changes when you have a baby. While it helps to know what to expect, you won’t be able to prepare for everything. The most important things are to communicate with each other, take new challenges in stride, and enjoy the precious time you have with your newborn.
Guide created by Natera, who provide ctdna testing