What To Do Before …You Become a Parent Forever

Today’s question comes from a first time expecting mom…what to to before she forever becomes…a parent. These women weighed in with a excellent guide to what to do before baby!

Q. Nine weeks to go. What should be on our “last moments of child-free existence” to-do list? 

A. The kind of things you wish you could (still) do after having a baby are not the kind of things you can do when you are 7 mos pregnant  (e.g. stay out late, drink too much, sleep, etc).  I would suggest the following:  go on a lovely, relaxing beach vacation and try to SLEEP!  Enjoy unscheduled time as there will be very little of it when baby comes.  No worries though, everything eventually evens out and you find new ways to have fun and lots of new people to have it with! – 40-something, Brooklyn, NY


A. My list:

  1. Go see lots of movies and concerts.
  2. Go for walks or swims.
  3. Get a manicure/pedicure.
  4. Meet friends for brunch/lunch/dinner/whatever without hiring a babysitter.
  5. See whose birthdays are coming up over the next few months and go shopping for them without pushing a stroller or timing your errands to an infant’s feeding schedule (depending on who your partner is, buy a mother’s day or father’s day card now).
  6. Stay up late having fun without worrying that you’ll have to wake up to feed a baby in the middle of the night.
  7. Sleep in on weekends. Laze around on Sunday and read the newspaper cover to cover.
  8. Get a prenatal massage.
  9. Spend time chatting with your friends and family members.
  10. Read books, magazines, blogs, uninterrupted.
  11. If you like garlicky or heavily spiced foods and plan to breastfeed, indulge yourself — some babies dislike nursing   after unusually spicy meals. Look around for a postnatal yoga class or exercise class you might like.
  12. If there are any household projects like organizing files, packing up your maternity clothes, or putting stuff in storage, get them done.  I remember putting stuff off because I thought it would be a pain to do it while hugely pregnant, but then changed my mind because I was grateful for anything that took my mind off the fact that I might go into labor any minute.

One practical tip I wish I had known — put stuff in your freezer, whether you cook it or buy it from Trader Joes. For the first few weeks of my first child’s life, I was totally incapable of figuring out meals for myself.  – 40-something, Los Angeles


A. Lots of sleep. Read the newspaper. Organize your house or any other nagging tasks that take time. Prepare food and freeze it. Read baby books so you know what to expect. Find a lactation specialist. Take natural childbirth classes with your spouse, ask your mom to come and help you for the first week or more if she can. — 40-something, DC


A. Here goes:

1. Travel, travel, travel. Wherever you can go with just 9 weeks left….. GO!!!  Go get pampered at a hotel somewhere where you can get lots of sleep and enjoy your last free moments of kid-free life.  You’ll travel with kids in the future and/or you’ll leave them at home with a sitter but now, you can go unhindered and enjoy it.  In the future, if you travel with them, it will be a ton of fun but a lot of effort, too, or if you leave them home, you’ll spend your time away worrying about them so now you can go and not worry.  So go enjoy this time FAST!!!

2. Dine out. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, a cup of coffee, whatever… just as long as the conversation is about you two, not the kids.  Linger at the table, talk about whatever makes you happy but just enjoy each other’s company without the worry of the kid at the table with you (so you have to speed the dining process up) or worry about having to get home to relieve the babysitter in time.

3. Movies in the theater.  See one each day until the baby comes…. your movie going will drop drastically for the next few years, and then, you’ll be subjected to kid movies for a very long time!

4. Just stay in bed in the morning. Linger with your spouse, with a book, with your computer, a cup of coffee whatever makes you happy. Just do it because your mornings will not be your own for a very long, long time…. YEARS!

5. Stay up as late you want and then sleep in (see point above). Your nights will soon be taken over by crying babies, feedings, etc. Eventually that will settle down and you’ll get decent nights of sleep again but it will be a long, long time before you will have a fully rested night.  Even when babies start to sleep through the night… they wake up, cry, have nightmares, etc. You’ll wake up at every and all noise because you’ll be hard wired to react quickly after the baby comes.  Even after they sleep through the night, they will wake early so staying up late just means you wont get a full nights sleep…. rather, you’ll be finding yourself in bed by 9 PM so that when little junior wakes at 6 AM, you’ve had a full night.

6. Go for a long walk (as long as you can muster) and just think about nothing!

7. Start a journal (and/or baby book)  now. And keep it going.  Don’t let the craziness of motherhood get in the way of writing down your thoughts about this fantastic new life you are about to embark on and this new wonderful life you are about to meet. You will want to remember every smile, tear, frown, cry when the baby arrives and this is a good way to start the process and get used to it. – 40-something, San Diego

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