Are you somewhere in the last lap of your pregnancy or have you just discovered that you are pregnant? Regardless of which month of your pregnancy you are, you’re excited and a little anxious about what is to come. Do you often wonder what all you should get do to prepare for your precious little one’s entry into the world? Not to worry! We have put together a checklist of things you have to get done before the birth of your baby.
1. Things to have in place
First things first, have you decided where you will sleep with the baby? Though you will co-sleep for the initial few weeks, you might want to decide if you want a small cot attached to your bed for the baby to sleep in or a cot in the nursery. You will also need some basic sets of clothes to put on the baby like rompers, socks, and mittens. Depending on the weather conditions where you live, factor in warm clothes for the baby. You will need plenty of baby size blankets to swaddle the baby in, at least for the initial phase of the baby’s birth as some child need that in-utero temperature to feel comfortable. Remember that you will need enough clothes to last between each laundry. Keep a few bottles handy even if you plan to breastfeed just in case as it will be a hassle to get out when you need it. Imagine shopping and sterilizing a bottle with a bawling infant in tow.
2. Talk to other mothers
Try and get a sense of how life shall be once your baby is born by talking to other mothers. It is true that no matter what, you will not realize how it will be till you actually have your baby. However, there are things like planning meals, understanding how many baby clothes to get, what to eat when you breastfeed, how to burp your baby and the art of swaddling, that you can learn by observation. So if you have friends who have just had a baby, spend some time with them to understand how to do the above. Get advice from these trusted advisors on how you can best cope with the changes that come with the arrival of a little one. While each person’s experience is different, the work around a baby is similar for everyone.
3. Get a support system in place
No matter how energetic or efficient you might be as a person, please get a support system in place at least for the first month when your baby is born. Feeding a child every few hours, cleaning their potty and doing laundry, is enough to make you forget your own name. Add to this, planning your own meals especially if you are breastfeeding. Many do not realize how much the sleep deprivation can tire you out. Even if you and your significant other have planned to be fully on baby duty, please do ensure you plan for another person to support you both. Especially if this is your first baby!
4. Pack your hospital bag
Though you have been given a due date by your doctor, pack your hospital bag with all the essentials like towels, dressing gown, extra absorbent pads, massage oil and so on. When the time comes, you will not be a state of mind to remember many things. So be proactive and pack your bags well in advance. You will be thankful!
5. Learn about the birth process
Educate yourself about the process of birthing a child. Even if you feel overwhelmed, knowing to some extent what to expect will empower you later. Also decide what kind of decisions you would like to make like whether you would like a natural birth, or whether you would like to do stem cell banking well in advance.Though some of the decisions made when you actually have a baby might be out of your hands like if you need an emergency section, having a plan in place for a smooth delivery will make you sleep better for the months leading to the delivery. When you are in labor, you will not be in a position to make any decisions about anything. If you are planning to have someone with you during labor, spend time talking about your plans with them so that they know exactly how to support you when the time comes.
6. Find a pediatrician
Your hospital might have a pediatrician who will see your baby soon after the delivery. It makes a lot of sense to go meet the pediatrician beforehand and talk about what you should expect. If you have an established comfort level with them, you will find that it will help you later after the baby is born. After all, the pediatrician will become your go-to person in the months to come after your baby is born.
7. Prepare the family
You must have announced your pregnancy to your circle of friends and relatives. But think of the impact it will have on the immediate family or friends you have and prepare them for the same. If you expect some kind of support from anyone, go ahead and ask for it so that they can plan ahead to help you when the time comes. If you have an older child or children, spend time talking to them especially about how their life will change after a baby and what to expect. If there are changes in the schedule of your children or spouse, plan ahead on what the changes will be and make sure everyone is aware of it.
No matter how much you prepare, you can never anticipate or even imagine how much your life will change when you have a baby. But taking care of the nitty-gritty will make sure you enjoy your precious little bundle of joy without being too worried about other things. Having said that, a part of having a baby also means you become accustomed to life becoming unpredictable. But isn’t that what makes life fun and exciting? Good luck to you!