There are a seemingly endless number of lists out there on how to get ready for your baby's arrival. The products you should buy, the nursery equipment you'll need, the baby-proofing you should do to your house, the feeding accessories to have on hand, the stuff you should pack in your hospital bag ... the to-do checklists go on and on, yet no one talks about the most important preparations of all.
I'm talking about the critical, sanity-saving baby-handling techniques that you can master now while you're still pregnant. Sure, you could just figure it out as you go, but the truth is, by spending a few minutes each day fine-tuning your skills, you'll be totally ahead of the curve when it comes to newborns! When you're deranged from sleep deprivation, your belly resembles a fallen soufflé, and your boobs feel like they're stuffed with angry badgers, it'll be a relief that your body already knows 3 of the most important baby-handling moves.
The eagle claw. Babies look like very small humans, but in reality they are actually members of the cephalopod family. As soon as you lay them on their back for a diaper change, they transform into slippery squidlike creatures with many thrashing tentacles. Unless you want to create a feces-themed Pollock print on your nursery wall, it's important to keep their kicky little feet out of their own filth. In order to do that, you must secure both legs with one fierce—but loving—handhold, while leaving the other hand available for important poop-mining duties. Practice by gripping a tennis ball in one hand while simultaneously dusting a crevice-laden piece of furniture with the other.
The sit-n-spin. Young children like nothing more than to repeatedly empty the contents of their stomach in a small milky firehose of repulsiveness, directly onto your face if possible. You'll have very little warning before this occurs, so the idea is to get very, very fast at turning the baby in a direction that avoids your eyelashes, the recently steam-cleaned carpet, or the keyboard of your brand new laptop. Hone your technique with a doll, stuffed animal, or an unusually patient cat, practicing the maneuver of aiming the mouth towards the nearest washable surface.
The toe toss. Learn how to use a prehensile foot-grip to nab a fallen item off the floor, and not only will you save yourself the logistical and literal ass-painery of trying to bend over while holding a baby (and maybe recovering from any number of birth-related unpleasantries), you'll be insanely grateful at the end of your third trimester when you've taken on the overall physical appearance of an adult elephant seal. The trick is to grab the object with your toes, then whip your leg up while simultaneously un-gripping your toes and catching the item in one outstretched hand. Voila, you just made that dropped burp rag/diaper/pint of Ben & Jerry's your bitch.
Can you think of any (silly) baby-care moves you wish you'd mastered ahead of time?
Image via Flickr/dizznbonn