This is part II of our three-part series on first-time parenting. In our last blog post, we talked about preparing for baby.

Everyone says that becoming a parent is a life-changing event, but it’s difficult to fully comprehend what that means until you go through childbirth and hold your new baby for the first time.

While you and your partner are still at the hospital, take some time to talk to each other when all the doctors, nurses, and visitors have left. Those days in the hospital are important to your marriage and your family.

Here are a few things to focus on while at the hospital:

Bond with your child. Bonding occurs during the first hours and days after birth when parents make a deep connection with their infant. For infants, the attachment contributes to their emotional growth and also affects their development in other areas such as physical growth.

Swaddling is a soothing technique first-time parents should learn. Proper swaddling keeps a baby’s arms close to the body and allows for some movement of the legs. Not only does swaddling keep a baby warm, but it tends to give newborns a sense of security and comfort. Ask your nurse to show you how to properly swaddle your baby.

Ask for help. While in the hospital, talk to the experts around you. Typically, hospitals have feeding specialists or lactation consultants who can help you get started with nursing or bottle-feeding and answer any questions that might come up. Nurses are a great resource to show you how to care for your baby.

What do each of you expect from your partner? In an article at WebMD, John C. Friel, PhD, says, “Staying connected within the marriage when you first have a child is really important and can be overlooked.” He also points out that any problems that exist before the baby comes can get bigger if the new parents aren’t careful.

While you have to focus a lot on the new baby, you must find a way maintain your marriage. Will you take turns getting up with the baby? Who will do a majority of the housework? Do you expect your partner to cut back on certain activities? What activities do they expect you to cut back on? It’s best to talk about these things now before they turn into a fight.

Talk to your doctor about your mental health and well-being. The better you feel, the more you’ll enjoy being a parent. Take care of your mental health, physical health, and relationships. If you make sure you are being taken care of, you’ll have more fun with and more energy for your new little family.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions when it comes to being a first-time parent. Maybe you’ve never changed a diaper or have no clue how to fix diaper rash. Ask your nurse.

In our next post, we’ll talk about what to expect in the first few months after having a baby. Make sure to check back.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: All swaddled up via photopin (license)