Preparing for the arrival of a baby is an exciting and joyous time for expectant parents. Whether you are expecting your first child or the last, giving birth comes with a roller coaster of emotions. As the due date approaches, it’s important to make sure you have everything in place to ensure a smooth transition into parenthood, from setting up the nursery to organizing important documents.
To help you prepare for your newborn, here are 12 things to do before you give birth that will help you transition smoothly into the new phase of life you are about to start.
- Create a birth plan:
It is important to have a birth plan and also discuss your birth preferences with your healthcare provider or doula. This will help you communicate your desires and expectations during labor and delivery. Not only this, but you can also book photograph sessions for your newborn in advance. If you plan to send birth announcements either as a text message or through email, get it ready ahead of time. Having all of these things planned ahead of your delivery day prevents last-minute disappointments and unwanted events happening at the birth of your little one.
- Set up the nursery:
Designing and organizing my baby’s nursery is my favorite part of baby preparation. I enjoy painting the walls and hanging those baby decors. I also enjoy shopping for nursery items. It makes me feel closer to my baby. Weeks before your due date, paint the nursery walls, assemble the crib, and arrange the furniture. Stock up on essentials like diapers, wipes, bottles, bibs, and baby clothes. Also, ensure you dust and clean everywhere. If you have carpets, make sure they are washed or vacuumed, dust the windowpanes, and ensure the room is adequately ventilated. Change the air filters if they are dirty. It is important to prepare a cozy and safe place for the newest family member.
- Attend childbirth classes:
Enroll in childbirth classes to learn about the birthing process, pain management techniques, and newborn care. These classes will help you feel more confident and prepared for the big day. I had no idea what to expect when I was pregnant with my first child. Aside from childbirth classes and connecting with other pregnant moms, I watched a lot of YouTube birth videos. These videos prepared me for what is to come. I learned from other moms what to ask my doctor and nurses, how to manage myself and my newborn in the hospital, and what the entire process usually looks like. I learned about pushing techniques and exercises that will help with breathing during active labor.
This gave me more confidence and doused my fears. I used to have a phobia of needles, so the thought of taking an epidural scared me greatly. I thought I wouldn’t be able to take the epidural needle. By the time I went into labor, I had learned so much that my fears were gone, thanks to the birth videos I watched. I approached labor like an experienced mom. Getting yourself equipped with knowledge ahead of time is always helpful. Not only will the classes help you, but you will also learn how to care for your newborn when they arrive, especially if you are a first-time mom.
- Pack your hospital bag:
As you approach your due date, it is important to prepare for your stay in the hospital. Prepare a bag with essentials for your hospital stay. Include comfortable clothes, toiletries, nursing bras, and items for the baby, such as blankets and onesies. Don’t wait until you get into labor before you start packing; you will likely forget some things. Also, don’t wait until your due date comes before you pack; your baby can decide they want to come days or even weeks before their due date. Get your hospital bag ready ahead of time. Here is a helpful list of what to pack in the hospital bag. Some items will be given at the hospital, so you only need to pick a few things.
- Choose a pediatrician:
Research and select a pediatrician for your baby. Schedule a meet-and-greet appointment to ensure you feel comfortable with their approach to healthcare. It is important because your baby’s first doctor’s appointment would be the same week they are born. You don’t want to start looking for a pediatrician while trying to heal.
- Install the car seat:
Get a good car seat of your choice and install the car seat correctly in your vehicle well before your due date. Seek professional help if needed to ensure it is adequately secured. You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital with your baby if you do not have a car seat in the United States. You can also install baby mirrors to help you see your baby without turning your neck to the back while driving.
- Prepare and freeze meals:
Consider preparing different kinds of food/meals in the weeks leading up to your due date, especially if you won’t have support around you as much. You wouldn’t want to be starving or scrambling for things to eat in the first few weeks following the delivery of your baby. You also wouldn’t want to rely on less healthy take-out packages or a friend’s promise of bringing you food.
Have various kinds of soups prepared and stored in your freezer. Not having to cook meals in the first few weeks of your post-partum phase will afford you more time to rest.
- Organize essential documents:
There are important documents you would need at the registration point in the hospital. Documents, such as your insurance information, birth plan, and identification. Gather these documents and create a folder or file to keep them organized and easily accessible.
- Stock up on household supplies:
When caring for your newborn with little to no sleep, the last thing you need is running out of paper towels or breakfast cereal. Prepare for your return home by stocking up on household supplies like groceries, toiletries, and cleaning products. Having these essentials on hand will make the transition smoother.
- Prepare Siblings and pets:
Having a new baby in the home is a change for everyone in the family. If you have other children, they also need a little preparation. You can do this by involving them in decorating the nursery. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I made my older child pick out baby clothes and items for his brother. We also decorated the nursery together. He already looked forward to meeting his baby brother. Teach your older kids how to interact with their new soon-to-be sibling, and also reassure them that the arrival of another child won’t stop your love for them.
Like older siblings, the furry family members also need to make some adjustments.
- Plan for post-partum support:
Arrange for post-partum support, whether it’s from family, friends, or a professional. Put in place people who would support you during your post-partum phase. Having assistance with household chores and caring for the baby will allow you to focus on recovery and bonding. And if you have none other than your spouse, plan together and let your spouse put in an application for leave if they can. Also, let them know how you’d like to be supported. Some spouses don’t know what to do or how to care for a new mom.
- Take care of yourself:
Prioritize self-care during this time. Take some time for yourself, alone and with your partner. It is very important. You’ll definitely miss that alone time when your little one arrives. Take the opportunity now to enjoy those things you love before your baby shows up. Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious meals, and engage in activities that help you relax and unwind. Some people go on vacations or babymoons before they have their baby. If you have the time and strength and can afford this type of vacation, go for it. If this is your first baby, it’ll probably be the last time you’ll be able to have a child-free getaway. Take good care of yourself before the arrival of your baby. Taking care of yourself will benefit both you and your baby.
One additional tip to consider is to create a support network of other parents or join parenting groups. Connecting with other expectant parents or those who have recently given birth can provide a wealth of knowledge, advice, and emotional support. These communities can be found online or through local parenting organizations.
Preparing for the arrival of your baby is an exciting journey. By following these twelve steps, you can ensure that you are well-prepared for the big day and the following days. Every parent’s experience is unique, so trust your instincts and do what feels right for you and your baby. Enjoy this special time and embrace the changes that parenthood brings.
It’s never too early to start preparing for your baby’s arrival. By taking care of these tasks ahead of time, you can alleviate stress and focus on the joy of becoming a parent. So, start ticking off these items from your to-do list and get ready to welcome your little one into the world!
Don’t forget to cherish the moments leading up to the birth of your baby. Take time to bond with your partner, take maternity photos, have a baby shower if possible, and document your pregnancy journey. These memories will be cherished for years to come and serve as a reminder of the excitement and anticipation you felt before your little one arrived.
In conclusion, preparing for your baby’s arrival involves a combination of practical tasks and emotional readiness. By following these 12 steps, you can ensure that you have everything in place for a smooth transition into parenthood. Remember to take care of yourself, trust your instincts, and enjoy this beautiful journey of becoming a parent. Congratulations and best wishes for a healthy and happy baby!