Three baby-planning areas in which it may pay to keep an open mind.
Trying to figure everything out before your baby is born puts a lot of pressure on you. Here are some areas where it pays to keep an open mind and a little flexibility when dealing with baby preparation.
You’ll face many decisions in the first few months after your baby is born. It’s fine to think about what you want to do while you’re still pregnant, but remember that it’s good to be flexible if things don’t go according to plan. As long as your baby is safe and healthy, there are many approaches you can take. Trust your gut, talk to your doctor, and try to be as open as possible. Here are some areas of baby preparation where an open mind may be your best plan now and after your baby arrives in the world.
You have the perfect picture in your head of how your labor and delivery will go. Maybe you want to try for all-natural or you prefer certain forms of pain relief over others. It’s not a bad idea to make a birth plan, but remember the most important part of the plan: your baby’s health. Putting together a birth plan can give you a sense of control and allows you tell those around you—your obstetrician, doula, partner—your preferences in various situations. But sometimes nature has its own ideas.
Try to be flexible. If you’re in a lot of pain and want some pain medicine, don’t beat yourself up. You’re still doing a great job. And if your labor goes in an unexpected direction—perhaps you end up with a C-section—remember that the goal of labor and delivery is to welcome your baby into the world as safely as possible, even if you take a roundabout way of getting there.
Breast Versus Bottle
Everybody—family, friends, your doctors, your partner—may have an opinion on breast versus bottle-feeding. Keep in mind that ultimately the decision is yours. Breast-feeding has lots of benefits. Due to lifestyle, comfort level, medical considerations, and other issues, some moms choose to formula-feed. Still other moms do both, breastfeeding and supplementing with formula.
It’s OK to have an idea of what you want to do before your baby is born, but give yourself permission to change your mind if it doesn’t work. Whatever feeding path you choose, remember that you can still bond with your baby during feedings and provide highly nutritious breast milk or formula that has DHA (or a combination of both) to support his growth and development needs.
Sleeping in the same room as your baby? Letting your baby wake naturally versus waking him for scheduled feedings? The best advice: Talk to your doctor about what’s safe, and choose what works for you—even if it’s not the vision you had in mind before your baby was born. Maybe you decked out a gorgeous nursery only to discover that it’s easier to have your baby’s bassinet or crib right in your room for those middle-of-the-night feedings. Especially during the first few months, you’ll all need the best rest you can get. You can always adjust your plan as your baby grows. Part of the wonder of becoming a mom (and a new family) is getting to know your baby and his needs over time—you don’t need to have it all figured out right away.