(Article updated and reviewed by Dr. Mandar V. Bichu on June 9, 2013)
What is the most tedious part of becoming new parents? Take my word for it- it is the seemingly unending waiting period of nine months. The waiting period in which countless pundits (!) offer their ‘wise’ words to the already anxious would-be parents - confusing them out of their wits. The do’s and don’ts about pregnancy and the effects and after-effects of the baby are mostly told in such exaggerated fashion that come the D – day – I mean the delivery day and most parents are waiting for that proverbial ‘Bundle of joy’ with a sense of trepidation and not a few with a sense of terror!
But it’s not so difficult if you plan this event properly.
Here are 10 Golden rules for new parents -to -be:
1) Don’t give a damn to what anybody says - (except of course to your family doctor!).
No- I am not telling you to show the concerned (and most of the times ill-informed) kith and kin the door. Just listen to them like forgettable songs!
Remember one thing, being parents or even grand-parents of one, two or even a dozen kids doesn’t qualify most of these ‘experienced’ well-wishers to be knowledgeable about intricacies of pregnancy or parenting. But do this ‘ignoring’-part tactfully and be sure never to offend them by telling them that they are out of tune with changing times. They are only trying to help and you would need all their emotional support before and after the birth of your baby.
2) Be well informed.
Find out books on the topics like pregnancy and parenting that are written by real experts and not by some self-proclaimed Gurus. Before buying the books, check the author’s credentials. Make sure that he or she has got the requisite medical degree to offer you proper advice. Also check the style of writing whether it interests you or not. Medical facts if told in a dry manner can be a real drag to read.
Internet has become a great source of getting this information. Parenting sites, notice-boards, discussion-groups – you would find a wealth of interesting information there. Again you will have to sieve that information because there isn’t a shortage of ‘quack’ sites on the web. Sites affiliated to big networks or reputed hospitals are usually safe for this kind of surfing.
3) Be positive in your outlook.
Having a baby at home is indeed one of the greatest joys of life. The caring and sharing aspects of parenting are some of the most emotionally enriching facets of human life. Embrace this situation with joy and enthusiasm.
4) Be prepared for the changes in your life-style.
Yes, the baby is going to make you change a lot. But isn’t ‘change’ a rule of nature? And another thing, don’t be over-anxious about those sleepless nights, changing of nappies and feeding problems of babies. You would certainly manage to cross all those bridges when you come to them. It’s not as difficult as it seems!
5) Take care about health.
The care for the mother and the baby within her is the prime concern during the pregnancy. Regular antenatal check-ups, proper nutrition, necessary nutritional supplements (Iron, Folic acid) and timely vaccination (against Hepatitis B and Tetanus) are easily ensured by selecting a good, reliable health-care setup.
6) Select a doctor and devise a plan for pregnancy and delivery.
In case if you have a choice, choose a doctor who is not only well-reputed but has enough time to devote to you and one who is sympathetic and sensitive. Give the doctor your full co-operation. Do not hesitate to discuss your concerns, your fears or whatever worries about the pregnancy, which are bothering you. Let these discussions involve both - the husband and the wife.
If the prospective mother is having any on-going underlying illness like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, thyroid problem, significant heart/kidney or lung disease, then give detailed account of previous investigations and treatment details, so that the doctor can anticipate the likely complications and devise a plan to counter them.
Follow medical instructions properly.
7) Be friendly with the doctor.
Instead of just maintaining a strict professional relationship with your doctor, try and be friendly with him/ her. This almost always proves beneficial for building trust and confidence.
8) Be open-minded.
Don’t have fixed ideas - about the nature of the delivery (Natural delivery versus medically assisted –e.g. caesarian delivery) or about having a baby of a particular sex. Many a time till the very last moment no one knows the turn of the tide in spite of such great advances in the medical technology.
9) Develop your concept of the family.
Both the parents should be clear in their minds about what size and what sort of family they are planning - keeping the present and the future in proper perspective. The most important aspect is that both the parents should support each other emotionally. Pregnancy and later parenting, are often emotionally demanding states for not only the mother who is bearing the baby but also for the father.
10) Relax and enjoy!
This one thing is the most essential tool for parenting! Being grumpy and uptight about issues doesn’t solve anything.
These are the ten golden rules for the would-be parents. Follow these ten commandmentsand you would be the happy and confident parents waiting enthusiastically for your bundle of joy to arrive!