Having a child is a life-changing experience, and once the baby arrives, most new parents will have precious little time to themselves. It’s a smart idea to prepare for your new baby well in advance, and these eight important steps can make life with your bundle of joy that much easier.
- Install the car seat. A car seat is likely to be one of those essential items you receive as a shower gift. Just don’t forget to install it in your car well before you go into labor, since most hospitals won’t let you take the baby home without one. If you are a car seat novice, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the various buckles and straps, which can be tricky to manage with a new infant.
- Stock up on supplies. While it’s difficult to anticipate everything you’ll need after the baby arrives, there are certain must-haves you’ll be glad you have on hand. The short list includes:
- Maxi pads
- Alcohol-free baby wipes
- Laundry detergent
- A gentle laxative or stool softener
- Donut pillow
- Cook some casseroles. After the first couple of weeks, well-wishing friends and neighbors will go back to their normal lives, but you still need to eat. Now is the time to prepare some easy-to-heat meals and freeze them for the days ahead when you will be much too exhausted to cook yourself a hot meal.
- Attend a few classes. Most hospitals offer free classes for expectant parents. You can learn everything from how to bathe your baby, how to care for a circumcision, breastfeeding tips, to diaper changing do’s and don’ts. It’s also a great way to meet other expectant parents who are also preparing for a new baby.
- Find a photographer. Newborn photography is extremely popular, and booking someone in advance is advisable if you want to capture those very first moments with your baby. Look online to find photography styles and poses you like.
- Find a pediatrician. Midway through your pregnancy is the optimal time to start looking for a pediatrician. Start with your insurance company to see which local doctors are in your plan, and then ask friends and family members for recommendations. It’s a good idea to “interview” candidates to make sure they are a good fit for you and your family.
- Decide who will attend the birth. Obviously this is a very personal decision, and managing expectations of friends and family will avoid hurt feelings later. Do check with your hospital or birthing center to see how many people are allowed in the room.
- Pack your bag. After labor kicks in, it will be too late to look for socks and pajamas. Pack an overnight bag now that includes your hygiene essentials and personal necessities.
Giving birth is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Being proactive as you prepare for your baby’s arrival will minimize stress and help you enjoy this exciting time.