For those settling into a pregnancy, it may be a good time to start thinking about what life will be like with a new baby. When we talk about getting ready for a baby in our prenatal program, I often ask “What are some important things that you’ve prepared for?” The responses I usually hear are along the lines of “getting my driver’s license or taking an exam”.
Having a baby isn’t any different. Similar to these examples, a little bit of planning and preparation can help make your transition to parenthood a little easier. An activity that I use is called the 24 hour day.
Here’s the 24 hour day activity:
On a sheet of paper, draw 2 columns. Label the first one ‘Before Baby‘ and the second one ‘After Baby‘. Think about a typical day for you and write down the following activities in the first column, making sure to include how long it takes for the following:
- Sleep (nighttime and napping)
- Morning and Bedtime routine
- All meals and snacks
- Bathroom needs
- Physical activity
- Medical appointments
- Any other activities that you tend to do on a daily basis
How many hours did that add up to?
Now add in your baby’s activities in the ‘After Baby’ column, making sure to include how long it takes for the following:
- Breastfeeding at least 8 times in 24 hours
- Follow-up appointments
- Visits from family and friends
- Any other needs you think your baby may have
In total, how many hours did that add up to? Close to or over 24 hours?
Were you surprised by this or were you expecting the total hours that you came up with? The point of the activity is not to scare anyone about becoming a parent but to help expectant parents get a realistic glimpse of what life can be like with a new baby. It’s a great time to start thinking about the different supports that are available to you. The more prepared you are, the easier it can be.
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