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Getting Ready To Be A Parent: The Essentials

Getting Ready To Be A Parent: The Essentials

Congratulations! Life’s greatest adventure is coming your way and soon you’ll become a parent. You will be giving this world a new being, or perhaps a few of them and you’ll be taking care of this tiny creature while he/she grows and develops. Imagine that! What makes this whole event even more exciting is the fact that it is not only the birth of your child, but also the birth of your family and you as a parent. Amazing,

Still, some people get intimidated and they freak out during the preparation. You need a ton of stuff, you must take care of many things. Things might go a bit chaotic and messy if you don’t care.

There will be moments when you feel nervous or exhausted, discouraged or worried. However, if you intend to become the best parent there is, you will have to arm yourself with as much information as you can, so you can know what to expect and what you should do to make things last well.

The basics

While expecting a child, you’ll get countless tips on how to prepare a diaper, how to feed a baby, what clothing you’ll need, which feeding bottles are the best, which type of strollers fits your needs, etc. For the arrival of the baby, it’s simply impossible to get everything at the beginning primarily due to the limited amount of money, but also because it’s difficult to remember every little detail. We divided the basics into three most important categories from the start: feeding, clothing and transportation.

Let’s start from the beginning:

Feeding

getting ready to be a parent

    Feeding time is of the utmost importance. Many mothers bottle-feed their babies, whether it be their choice or they are prevented from breastfeeding. However, this way of feeding a newborn also can be turned into a bonding ritual for fathers as well.

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    When they get used to feeding, babies develop a strong sucking force which might put them in danger of colic.

    There are baby bottles that help with colic and mimic the movement, flow and natural feeling that helps wth transition to artificial breastfeeding. Do the research and decide which to choose, how many, what shape, etc. Also, in the transition from the breast to baby bottle, the father can be of great help which further strengthens the bond between him and the baby, so moms, let them enjoy it!

    Clothing

    getting ready to be a parent - clothing

      The choice of clothes for the baby is fun, especially for the first baby and many parents will agree that this is one of the most interesting parts of parenting. We all love to dress children according to our taste and often, parents dress style is also transmitted to their children later on.

      Be practical! While it is very exciting to buy clothes for the baby, do not overdo that. Having a baby means a lot of costs and additional expenses for parents. While some items may seem irresistible to you, try to choose what is best and safest for your child. Have the temperature, baby skin sensitivity and clothing quality into consideration besides the price and size. One thing is certain: babies grow fast and they quickly outgrow the clothes.

      Transportation

      Getting ready to be a parent - the stroller

        One of the biggest items required for babies is certainly a stroller. Without them, every longer walk, retention outside the house or going to a restaurant would be unthinkable. Therefore, choosing a right stroller can be a challenging task, in particular with those with a limited budget and especially if you have a situation like on the image; a young toddler and an infant.

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        Some moms & dads get double-lucky right from the start and a double stroller is a necessity for them. The market is currently filled with dozen models of strollers, so the first thing you should ask yourself is: What strollers are necessary for my baby? How and when will I use the stroller?

        How many children do I plan to ride in this stroller? The rule is simple: the longer you plan to use this stroller – the more investment is required. Once you have selected the type and model, go for a test ride, it’s important to try the stroller.

        Next, we’ll have special sections only for future moms and dads, to help you guys get over the period of anticipation and preparing.

        Future Moms

        getting ready to be a parent - pregnancy

          Dear future moms, congratulations on the fantastic news! Just the thought of holding your baby in your arms is incredibly overwhelming and exciting, isn’t it? Giving birth is the most important event in your life and at the same time, one of the most challenging.

          While motherhood is an incredible experience, it brings some tremendous changes and you must be prepared for many things to come.

          Remember, the most important aspect is that during the “sweet anticipation” you must take care of yourself and your health and by doing that you are taking care of your baby simultaneously. Here’s what you should pay special attention.

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          Visit a doctor

          The first thing you’ll need to do when you see a positive test is to see a doctor who will help you through the course of pregnancy. It would be wise to write everything that would be useful on paper: your blood type, when was your last cycle, history of chronic diseases, or anything else you think might be relevant.

          Vitamins intake

          If you have not already taken prenatal vitamins, now it’s time to start. This especially refers to folic acid, which is crucial while trying to get pregnant and during the first period of pregnancy.

          During the first quarter, avoid vitamin A and retinol since they are not safe for the baby. Also, a lack of vitamin C and omega three fatty acids can reflect badly on your teeth and gums. Therefore, you must ensure that you get enough of these nutrients through food.

          Food variety

            Most people claim that pregnant women should eat for two, which is, according to nutritionists, far from the truth. The fact is, the quality of food that you consume is much more important than the quantity. Avoid big fish, inadequately cooked meat, raw sprouts, soft cheeses. That way you’ll reduce the risk of food poisoning. It doesn’t always hurt to have healthy snacks in the house, such as various fruit, nuts, yogurt, etc.

            Future dads, don’t panic

              Even though men do not want to admit, the period of adaptation to the fact that they will become parents, is perhaps even harder for them than for women. In addition to visible changes, hiding behind a facade of confidence is sensitive, sometimes timid, to a guy who is preparing for a new role.

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              We are all familiar with the symptoms that bother future moms: insomnia, mood swings, morning sickness, but according to some studies, as many as 90 percent of future fathers also experience maternity torment. They have an overwhelming desire for a particular food, sometimes overwhelming emotions, changeable desire for sex, etc.

              Mood swings

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                During a woman’s pregnancy, many men are also experiencing an emotional rollercoaster. Just the thought of being a father totally changes their life, so if you are thinking intensely about the tasks that are ahead of you, it is not surprising that you will be balancing between sadness, happiness and nervousness or at the times overwhelming gentleness. Future dads can have hormonal disbalances just like future moms, which might seem unnatural and strange.

                The stress can overwhelm you, but in these moments, you need to calm down and start thinking about your life in general. Think about the good things in your life and the amazing period that you’re having right now.

                Your purpose in this period is to ease the mom’s life as much as possible by doing house chores, making her feel comfortable and helping her go through the mood swings. During the second trimester, you might experience a huge growth of your lady’s libido or a total indifferentness. Regardless of the outcome, do your role responsibly and help her. You’ll have a babymoon or a dry season.

                Enjoy yourself

                  The miracle of life is getting close and you’re getting a new family member. Rejoice, and enjoy the fact that you’ll soon become a proud parent. Everything will sort itself out. It always does.

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                  Dejan Kvrgic

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                  Published on November 14, 2018

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                  • mental blocks
                  • lack of motivation
                  • headache
                  • dizziness
                  • muscle weakness
                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                  • reduced immune system function
                  • blurry vision
                  • short-term memory problems
                  • poor concentration
                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                  Causes of Fatigue

                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                  Anemia

                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                  Diabetes

                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                  Sleep Apnea

                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                  Thyroid disease

                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Lack of sleep
                  • Too much sleep 
                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                  • Sleep disturbances 
                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                  • Poor diet 

                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                  1. Tell The Truth

                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                  • How you feel
                  • What time of day it is
                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                  • How your mind and body reacts

                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                  4. Express More Gratitude

                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                  5. Focus On Yourself

                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                  7. Take a Power Nap

                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                  8. Take More Exercise

                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                  10. Improve Your Diet

                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                  12. Get Hydrated

                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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