The most important thing you can give your child is your unconditional love. The bond between you and your baby will set the stage for your child's success throughout his lifetime. To cement this bond, talk to your baby right from the beginning and include him in conversations. Although he may not understand the words, he'll recognize your voice and respond to your attention. Remember that you are in the best position to boost his self-esteem and to pass on good values, traditions, joy in life and a feeling of security ‑- not to mention skills and abilities. In return, your baby will reward you with unqualified love and unconditional trust, plus a lifetime of discoveries and new challenges. Each new day will provide opportunities for you to learn more about your baby and to grow as a parent.
New-Mom Sanity Savers
Convenience is the name of the game during those first few sleep-deprived weeks. This list will have you ready, set and prepared to relax with your newborn.
- Stock up on nonperishable items and frozen goods. (Include canned juices and "boxed" milk for when you run out of the real thing.)
- Prepare and freeze meals and treats. (Frozen food generally keeps for three months.)
- Stock up on paper plates, plastic utensils and paper cups.
- Make a list of takeout restaurants with healthy menus.
- Scan cookbooks for quick, easy meals (those with no more than five ingredients) and "pantry" meals (those whose ingredients can be kept on hand).
- Consider purchasing a slow-cooker. Meals cook, without tending, while you do other things.
- Talk with your partner about sharing household and baby care tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and diapering ‑- and get started on the household logistics even before your baby arrives.
- Line up grocery delivery service, if available.
- Consider taking one or two weeks off from work before your baby is born ‑- for rest, preparation and a little self-pampering and care.
- If you plan to use child care, start exploring your options before your baby's birth.
- Obtain and properly install your infant car seat in your car.
- Be sure to wash your baby's new clothes. The basics you'll need are: 3 to 7 undershirts; 3 to 8 nightgowns with elasticized bottoms; 2 to 3 blanket sleepers; 2 to 3 pairs of booties or socks; for a fall or winter baby, 3 to 6 stretchies, with feet; for a late spring or summer baby, 2 to 3 stretchies, with feet, and 2 to 6 rompers (one-piece, short-sleeved, snap-at-the-crotch outfits); 2 washable bibs.
- Consider starting a library of children's books. Even infants benefit from having stories read to them.
Your newborn won't give a hoot about all those fancy toys for a while, but do pick up a crib mobile. It's the perfect touch to put you in a festive mood and entertain your baby as his vision evolves in the early weeks. Musical mobiles have added entertainment value.