Clean and organize your home so that whatever you need is in order and ready for you to use. Enlist family and friends to pitch in around the house and to help with any other children you have so that you can get much-needed rest. —Latoya Peoples, Warrensville, Ohio
Cook and freeze meals before you have the baby. After you come home from the hospital, you can just thaw and reheat your frozen meals. It saves time cooking and cleaning, and leaves more to spend with your new little one. —Tamara Orduna, Wilsonville Heights, Ore.
…But be flexible
Don’t be afraid to change your plans. Every baby is different, and your child will change your life in myriad ways. Just go with the flow and do what works—don’t stick with a strategy just because it’s what you always thought you’d do. —Amanda Dameron, Medford, Mass.
Share the experience with siblings
When you first bring your new baby home, try to make sure that older siblings still receive plenty of attention to help prevent jealousy that may prevent bonding. Let older siblings be as involved as possible. —Jamie Green, Fairmount, Ind.
When we brought my newborn son home from the hospital, our daughter was 17 1/2 months old. She loved playing with baby dolls, so I knew this would be a good opportunity for us to bond. When I fed my son, I encouraged my daughter to go get her babies. She would mimic me by holding her babies to her belly. Treating her babies like I did her baby brother made her felt important and valued. We also made sure to give her one-on-one time like she’d always had. She got individual time with mommy and daddy to let her know she was still important! —Jennifer Moody, Columbia, Ky.
If you’re breastfeeding your infant and have other young children in the house, create a kit to entertain your older children with while you’re nursing your baby. The kit could include a coloring book and crayons (the best are big ones that don’t require much dexterity to use); a game that doesn’t require too much effort to play and can be played with one hand, such as Lucky Ducks or Candy Land; a couple of board books; and a couple of treats. This kit will save you from whining meltdowns. —Jamie Petersen, Davenport, Iowa
To help siblings adjust, include them in the baby experience by suggesting that they create art for the baby. Let your older child be your helper with baby by picking out clothes and helping rub in lotion or singing to the baby to soothe him. Brag to family, friends and the baby about what a good big brother or sister he or she is. Set time aside to play with and talk to your older child. Take deep breaths and relax with your kids and they will feed off your relaxed state and do the same. —Pam Mullins, Morristown, Tenn.
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