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How to prepare for a baby emotionally

When you’re preparing to welcome a new baby into your family, it can be a time that’s both exciting and also a little intimidating—especially for first-time parents. It can feel tough to know where to begin when it comes to preparing emotionally and mentally. If you’re fortunate enough to have close family and friends who are parents, talking to them about their experience is often a great place to start. 
Otherwise, here are a few tips on how to get yourself ready for your growing family. 

Educate yourself: consider childbirth classes

Taking classes on childbirth and parenting can help reduce some of the stress and uncertainty around this new time in your life—and give you some confidence that you’ll know what to do when the time comes. 
You may be able to find baby care classes at nearby hospitals, community education centers, or spiritual or religious institutions. There are even classes online. The benefit of taking a class compared to reading books, blogs, or articles is that you’ll get the chance to ask questions. You can also find support groups for people with babies on the way—it can help to talk with people who are in similar situations. 
Read more about newborn care and safety and skills you’ll need on the website for the Office on Women’s Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services.  

Communicate effectively with your partner

If you’re planning to raise a child with a partner, it can be a good idea to think about how you plan to parent together before the baby arrives. Consider discussing values and goals and the things you think are important. There may be fewer decisions to make in the early years but making sure you’re in agreement on major issues and that you communicate well could help reduce conflict later. 
It’s also worth talking about your plans for dividing household chores and parenting responsibilities. And it’s not just about who vacuums and who gets up in the middle of the night to quiet a crying baby or toddler—though those concrete details are important to discuss. 
General household management often falls to one person, even when both parents work outside of the home. That can include making sure the kitchen is stocked, buying new clothes as your baby outgrows them, and scheduling all the necessary doctor’s appointments in the first year. It can be important to acknowledge that it is work and takes up mental space, for whomever is doing it. Consider discussing all aspects of running a home—including tangible chores and tasks as well as emotional labor and the support that is needed.* 

Plan for help and support for after the arrival of your child

With a new baby, you may need all the help you can get. It can be difficult to imagine the support you’ll want before your child comes home—but think through who you might want to help you and ask them in advance. This small step could help you feel more organized and help reduce the potential stress related to the first few weeks with your new child. 
Maybe it’s your family and friends—strategically plan visits to help make sure you have the help you want beyond the first few weeks.  
However, sometimes it’s more stressful to have family staying at your home or helping. In that case, hire someone outside of the family to help, like a housekeeper or meal preparation and laundry service. Getting assistance with your chores can often go a long way when you’re trying to figure out your new routines. 
The first year with your child can come with lots of emotions, new skills to master, and little sleep. Planning for back-up support can help you feel more prepared and confident—so you can be the best parent you can be. 

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*Terri Huggins Hart, “5 Ways the Mental Load Impacts Parents' Health,” Parents, November 2, 2022,

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.