|As a mom, you intuitively discover what scientists have been stating all along, your baby is already a sensitive little girl who day after day is forming a relationship with you. Studies have shown that a baby in the womb can see, hear, feel and, on some very basic level, have a certain level of awareness. With that in mind, psychologists strive and assert that the experience in the womb and birth serve as determinants of personality and future aptitudes.
Aspects such as self-confidence, depression and even addictive behaviors have been remounted to experiences in the womb. Around the fifth month of your pregnancy, your baby can perceive sounds and remember them (your voice included!). The University of California discovered babies remember stories that were repeatedly heard in utero.
Your baby also has periods of wakefulness and sleep such as you. In fact, your baby is most likely absorbing your sleeping patterns. A study in Switzerland showed that babies who were born to early-risers, woke up early while those born to late-risers went to bed later. You have a bigger impact on your baby than you may think!
In case you haven’t heard it enough times, if you continuously experience acute or chronic stress, your body produces stress hormones that enter your bloodstream and reach your womb. Your baby will feel the stress and studies show that babies who are subjected to extreme and constant stress may be born earlier, have a lower weight average, be hyperactive and irritable and, in some cases, they could be born with thumbs sucked raw or ulcers. On the other hand, if you continuously try to remain positive and calm, you’ll transmit those feelings to your baby and you’ll be making a huge contribution to your baby’s emotional and physical health for many years to come.
|Whether you’re a first-time parent or you have a bit more experience, your little one is a wonderful addition to your family. During pregnancy, it might be important setting certain boundaries with your parents and your in-laws. Everyone has an opinion and most likely they’ll be trying to make you see things their way. Although well-intended, it can become a little overwhelming to be flooded with multiple points of view.
It’s easier to establish clear rules and ways of doing things with your own parents, after all, you’ve been dealing with them all your life and know how to negotiate with them. Dealing with your in-laws however, can be a little trickier since you can accidentally hurt their feelings or make them feel left out. The first thing to do is talk it out with your partner and make sure you both feel the same way about how you’re going to deal with their opinions and level of involvement.
The most important thing to remember is to see through it. They do have the best intentions in mind and they probably believe that what they’re suggesting is what’s best and what’s worked for them. Times change and most likely there are newer solutions and tricks, so keep in mind that they want to help, appreciate it, but know where you stand. At the end of day, you’re the parent and you call the shots. When you disagree with something they suggest you can:
Everyone’s excited about your little one, future-grandparents included! It’s great that they want to help and genuinely care for your baby’s well-being. Make them a part of your support system and set the tone of the relationship that best suits you, your partner, your baby and them.
|It’s no surprise that many parents worry about how their pet will react to the newest member of the family. Just like any baby, your pet may feel jealous or competitive when your baby arrives. Out of the blue, your pet receives less attention as has changes in his routine, sound and smell. For some it may seem ridiculous, but for all the pet-lovers out there, it’s a huge deal and preparing your pet to ease the transition is something you need to do during your pregnancy.
You can try the following things starting NOW and help your pet get ready for this big change:
You can always choose to invest on professional training and if you’re not 100% sure that your pet can and will behave around your baby you may want to consider finding him another home prioritizing your baby’s well-being.
|A childbirth class can be a great learning AND bonding experience with your partner. Although many people choose to skip this rite of passage, it’s important to know just how much you can benefit from this experience before you bail on it. You’ll get to learn first-hand what to expect from labor and birth and you’ll get a boost of confidence in what you’re doing (not to mention your partner!).
Here’s a list of all that you can learn if you do decide to go to a class together:
In a childbirth class, you’ll create a bond not only with your partner but with other expecting couples. By going to one, you’re giving your partner an opportunity to become involved, to address his fears (and yours), share concerns and gain the confidence that only comes from knowledge and experience.
Throughout the pregnancy, the bucket load of information you receive can easily become overwhelming, and even more so for your partner. Stock up on all the information you can and make sure that the both of you are fully loaded with all the tools for D-Day.
|One exciting thing you can do during your pregnancy is start preparing your baby’s nursery for her arrival. Maybe you already have kids and just need to add some touches here or there or maybe you’re a first-time mom and you get to start from scratch. Whatever may be your current situation, here is a list of essentials you’ll most likely need:
• Crib- Choose a sturdy, neutral-colored crib that you can use later on with another one of your babies. You can opt for a crib that doubles as a toddler bed for when you need it (although if you plan to pass it on to your next baby there’s really no point in it). Before making any decisions, check the company’s safety track record when considering which crib to buy.
These are only a few of the things you may want to have ready before your baby girl arrives. At the end of the day, you’re creating the space your baby’s going to grow up in, have fun decorating and think ahead of all the happy moments you’ll live there!
|If your baby is joining a family that already has other tiny members, it might be a good idea to start preparing your other children for his arrival. If you’re a first-time parent, this would be a good article to keep for the next time! Each child is different and according to their age they tend to react in a certain way. Below you’ll find tips on how to prepare toddlers and preschoolers. You may find that some tips help your children regardless of their age, mix and match until you find what works best for you and your family.
Toddlers (12-36 months)
Pre-schoolers (2-5 years):
Avoid any big-life transitions happening at the time of birth. Start potty-training or changing bedrooms beforehand. The more involved your children feel, the more they’ll ease into the transition. It’s easy for them to feel sidelined or left out, so reassure them by making them a part of the process!
|One common stressor amongst expecting parents is thinking how much the family finances will change with another person in the mix. Now, there are plenty of saving options and models online you can use as reference in order to find the best fit for your family. However, there are a few basic guidelines you can follow to ensure you stick to your budget and enjoy the financial freedom that comes with it.
When building your family budget consider mandatory expenses (utilities, insurance, groceries, diapers), discretionary expenses (date night, mani-pedi, movie night, shopping) and finally household savings. While some people choose to equal their expenses to their income or even surpass it, the wise choice and the one that’s aligned to your long-term plan is where your expenses are lower or far lower from your income.
How much savings are enough savings? Repeat after me: you can never have enough money saved up, you can never have enough money saved up. For those of you who have a hard time saving a chunk of your paycheck remember you should always have a plan to fall back on. If at any time you lose your source of income, your savings will be the only thing keeping you afloat without spending your retirement plan or your child’s college fund.
As part of your baby prep, sit down with your partner and design your household budget. You can use past credit card statements as a reference for your current spending and seek help from friends with kids to learn about the average expenses in diapers, doctor’s appointments and eventualities.
Together set a goal for your family budget. It can be paying off a debt, increasing your savings or maybe thinking about your baby’s college fund. A good budget will not only help you reach your spending and saving goal, but it will give you peace of mind. There is no one-size-fits-all fix, every family has a different history, expenses and needs. Play around with the numbers and find what best suits you and your family and, most importantly, stick to it!
|We’ve covered some ground on parenting styles before, but what happens when you and your partner have different styles and ultimately reach a stalemate? It’s common for clashes to appear when raising your baby, since you both come from different homes and were subjected to different traditions and discipline methods. This is one of the reasons why parenting can easily become a tough job, your child’s future is at stake (but hey, no pressure!). The way to foresee and prevent all of these potential clashes of opinion and conflicts is using one powerful tool: communication.
Let’s take a step back and, before you plan the big family meeting and start establishing what should and shouldn’t be done, first analyze your upbringing on an individual level. What were the things that truly marked your childhood? Which attitudes do you feel helped you the most or the least? Which values were you raised with? Which values are you living with right now? All these questions will help you get a better sense of what you feel you should pass on to your children. Have your partner do the same thing.
Once both of you have established what you want for your children and how you think you can make it happen, begin to compare and find a balance blending together different styles and making them work. Without any arrangement or cooperation, it can be hard for either of the styles to work separately. In fact, it can be very frustrating if you don’t join forces and start parenting as a team.
You don’t have to work out everything right this second, but it helps to get a clearer picture of how you will handle some important milestones. Reinforce the idea that you both hold the responsibility in your hands, you both have an equal say on how your baby should be raised and that both of you are interested in what’s best for your little one. Don’t let insignificant disagreements tint your relationship, aim for compromise and don’t sweat for the small stuff!
|We’ve heard a thousand times about the different parenting styles that are out there, maybe we even encountered first-hand a great parenting hack at our local Starbucks. With so much information out there it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed. However, just remember that the most common parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive and neglectful.
The parenting style you and your partner finally develop plays a big role in determining the kind of environment your child will grow up in. The authoritative style is defined as being warm and responsive, setting clear rules and expectations, being supportive and placing great value in independence encouraging the child to become autonomous. The children whose parents adopt this style tend to have high-academic performance, better self-esteem, good social skills and, according to some studies, lower delinquency rates.
On the other hand, the authoritarian style is characterized by strict rules and their reinforcement, strict discipline, unresponsiveness, high expectations and control through punishment. The children whose parents adopt this style tend to have lower academic performance, lower self-esteem, poor social skills and, according to some studies, may be associated with substance abuse and delinquency.
The permissive style is emotionally warm and responsive, it has few or no rules at all, they’re reluctant to enforce discipline, have trouble saying “no” to their children out of fear of disappointment. The outcome associated for the children includes impulsive behavior, egocentricity, poor self-control, poor social skills and problematic relationships.
The last style is the neglectful one, in which parents are cold and unresponsive, there are no rules, they’re not involved and are indifferent to their children’s needs and wishes. Consequently, the children tend to exhibit impulsive behaviors, low emotional intelligence, substance abuse and delinquency.
Although there are cases and exceptions regarding cultural background and temperament, it comes as no surprise that the authoritative parenting style has the most positive developmental outcomes in children. When thinking about the specific needs for one child (everyone is unique), you can stick to the same parenting style and simply try out different approaches.
|A big part of having a newborn is all the new chores that come with her. Sharing or not the chores, both household and childcare, with your partner has the potential to strengthen or break your relationship. Different studies present different percentages, but on average more than 50% of couples became unhappy during the first three years of their baby’s life. The question is, what can we do to master the transition into parenthood and be able to cope with the struggles of being a full-time parent?
Finding a way to successfully navigate through the stress includes avoiding the battle of the chores. The degree to which the household chores are shared or at least perceived as such tends to be a direct predictor of relationship satisfaction (especially for women). In order to allow your baby to take center-stage, you must first make sure every loose end is tied backstage, and that includes the housework.
When dividing the housework, set your priorities with your partner and discuss what is important for each of you. You’re both different so, when you start deciding who does what, take into account what each of you would enjoy doing the most. A list of the absolute no-no’s for both of you is helpful as well. If you both hate one of the chores, take turns or figure out a way to get it done fairly. Take into account the other person’s schedule, don’t force a chore or base your list on unrealistic expectations.
As a couple you’ll face many struggles, but know that the less ambiguity exists in your household and baby chores, the less likely is that resentment and tension will take root in your relationship. At the end of the day, the list is a contract, one that may be edited, broken and discarded. The take-away from this article is to find out what works best for you, talk it over with your partner and give it a try. Worst case scenario, the list fails, you ignore it and find another way to make it work. The important thing is you both agree on how things will get done once your little makes her debut.