Because hey, most of us weren't born knowing of how to play with an infant -- let alone change a dirty diaper!


___ Babysit -- an entire day. Anyone can survive a couple of hours, but having to go through bedtime, meals, and moments where you'll need to deliver a good parenting "No!" will give you a much better feel for the whole mom thing.

___ Pick up a book on games and activities to do with infants. Newborns are cute little lumps that can't do much for a long time, and a lot of new moms end up feeling like "Okay, now what do I do with her?"

___ Sign up for a baby-care class. Most hospitals and birthing centers offer them, and it's a great chance to learn things like how to diaper, swaddle, and other pearls of wisdom -- like the fact that, as nervous as you are, you are not going to break your baby.

___ Be a baby hog. Holding and carrying an infant can be a big nail-biter for a lot of first-time moms. (What if I drop her?! And oh, I've got to watch that wobbly little head!) So get your hands on as many babies -- of your friends, neighbors, relatives -- as you can. More than anything, it will make you see it's no big deal.

___ Realize that almost no preggo lady feels like she's going to be "a natural." In the end, what makes you comfortable with a newborn is the simple fact that he is yours. You'll handle parenthood with more grace than you can know -- or give yourself credit for -- now.

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All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Parents Magazine