Whether this is your first or last baby, pregnancy can be scary and being prepared for your precious newborn can alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress. Planning for you sweet newborn can be simple and it will help you make life happen rather than life simply happening to you.
10 things you can do to prepare for you special and unique baby’s arrival
- DON’T FREAK OUT: Finding out you are pregnant can be nerve racking, and sometime can be overwhelming. The first thing to do is not panic. Take control of your life, and your families life by learning to de-stress. The fewer stresses you have in your life, the easier your pregnancy and parenting will become.
- PREPARE A PREGNANCY BAG: This is a more commonly known task-list item. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning because of how essential it is to de-stress. One of the things we didn’t know when we had our first child was that after the delivery, baby’s mother did not need to stay in the hospital gown provided. Many mothers feel more comfortable having their own clothes they can wear after the new arrival. When putting together your over-night bag, consider the things you would typically put in an over-night bag when staying at a hotel for one to two nights.
- RELIABLE and SAFE VEHICLE: Regardless of whether you live where you must rely on public transportation or not, having a reliable way of getting to and from the delivery facility is important. This does not mean you need to have a brand-new, or expensive car. This means you have transportation to and from the facility you will using to give birth. Also make sure the vehicle you use has a way to secure a car seat AND make sure that car seat is not expired (yes car seats expire). Be sure to read the car seat’s instructions, so your precious newborn is safe – many parents do not use their car seats properly when transporting their child(ren).
- FAMILIARIZE YOUR PETS: If you have animals at home, especially ones that live indoors? If so, do things to familiarize your pets to a home that has a baby. You can do this by playing sounds of a baby (cries, coos, etc.). You can also show pictures of videos to your pets on the television, so they appear more life-sized. Coupling this with baby sounds is also a good idea. As weird as it sounds, another thing you can do is to have your animal feel the baby move in your belly. Animals often have an innate sense of a mother’s pregnancy. Our dog saw the movement of my belly and perked its ears and gently pawed it and felt it move. After that, he laid his head on my belly and seemed to become more sensitive of my pregnancy. After our daughter came home for the first time, our dog was introduced, very cautiously. From then on, our dog was very protective of her and would howl, or whine, whenever our daughter would fuss. He wanted to make sure we did not neglect our newborn girl.
- CHOOSE A PEDIATRICIAN: Prior to your daughter’s arrival, consult with and choose a pediatrician whom you feel comfortable. Though it is not necessary to have one selected before the birth of your child, having one makes things much easier. The hospital requires the Pediatrician on-call to visit and check your baby multiple times while in the hospital. If you have your child’s pediatrician selected, the hospital will get your pediatrician involved from the beginning stages of her birth. By choosing a pediatrician before baby’s birth, you will lessen the stress of having to find one after baby’s arrival.
- DAYCARE/CHILDCARE: If this is your first child, and you plan ongoing back to work, you will need to arrange childcare for your baby. There are many in-home care centers and larger organizations that focus on daycare and childcare. Before baby has arrived, you should interview and visit multiple facilities, whether in-home or not. Many in-home centers have lower costs, but also may not have the proper licenses required by your local regulations/laws. Some purport to have everything, hoping/expecting you will not actually followup.
- BREAST OR BOTTLE: There seems to be a push to have mothers breastfeed rather than bottle/formula feed their children. While many years ago, it was probably more healthy for your child to nurse, it is not so relevant in today’s world. The bottom line is it is your decision as a parent as to whether you will nurse or formula feed your child. Whatever you choose, stick with it. If you choose formula, stick with the same formula, rather that going with whatever is cheapest. Choose one and stick with it.
- BORROW OR BUY: Your baby girl can’t go home naked, and figuring out what to have her wear while keeping it affordable can be difficult. Same thing goes with other necessities for her, such as: bedding, toys, blankets, and stroller, a cradle, and many other things. Many expectant parents believe they need to purchase it all, to be ready. The fact is, your baby needs very little to begin life and many of the things that we believe they need, are for a short period of time in their life. These things may be able to be borrowed, or purchased, used, inexpensively from someone else. Consult with other new-parents to find out what they actually needed when they brought their baby home for the first time and actually needed in the first year. A good rule of thumb is to ask whether your child needs this now and will use it long term, or if you need it once or twice over the next year. If the later, borrow if at all possible.
- CLASSES: Hospitals and birthing centers will often provide classes for new parents and/or expectant parents. These classes are usually low cost, if not free. The point of them is to help mothers prepare for the birth of their child, and to help mothers prepare for taking care of their new-born. The largest take-away a parent has with these classes, is to help reduce the stress of the whole experience (pregnancy, birth, and parenthood). The less stressed you are, the better for you and your child.
- MAKE A LIST: Perhaps one of the best ways to help you prepare for your baby’s birth is to make a list or things that need to be done before and after her arrival. Don’t keep the list in your head, you already have other things that need to take up your daily thoughts. If you make a list, or do a BRAIN DUMP, to paper, you can then begin taking steps to eliminate and prioritize the things that need to be done. Some things you may want to think about when making your list include: Decide whether you will learn the gender before her birth, name ideas, birthing location (hospital, home, birth center, other), will he be circumcised if baby is a boy, cloth or disposable diaper,
Though this list of 10 things to do to prepare for your baby’s arrival is not comprehensive, it is a starting point. A wealth of information exists on the Internet. One thing neglected in this article is fighting the postpartum blues. Thought this top ten list helps you prepare for baby, there is something you can do to help yourself if you suspect you will, or currently have, postpartum depression. To learn more about how you can battle postpartum depression, see our guide here.