Whether you are expecting your first child or your fourth, giving birth can be a roller coaster of emotions. Having a new baby can be pure bliss, but it can also be equally exhausting and overwhelming. Particularly during the newborn phase, you may find once routine tasks difficult due to either lack of time, lack of energy or both.
To help you prepare for baby, here are 10 things to do before you give birth that will help you savor those precious, fleeting newborn moments.
Before the baby arrives you should have certain things purchased, assembled, and tested to make sure they work and you know how to use them. We’re firm believers in the less is more philosophy when it comes to baby gear. The most important essentials are a properly-installed car seat and a safe place for baby to sleep such as a bassinet or crib. If you plan to use other items like an infant swing or changing tables, you’ll want to assemble those as well. Some things you will not use until the baby is bigger such as an exersaucer, but if you have the storage space you may want to assemble everything you can while you have time.
This does not have to be seen as a huge chore as many people find decorating and furnishing a nursery enjoyable. Some women have “nesting” urges while pregnant, and this is the perfect place to funnel that energy. Having a completed nursery, plenty of seasonally appropriate clothes, diapers and wipes will give you peace of mind.
In the weeks leading up to your due date, consider premaking and freezing meals so you are not scrambling for things to eat or relying on less healthy packaged and take-out options. Sometimes friends and family will offer to bring meals to meet the baby, but you can’t always rely on that.
There are plenty of recipes out there that are easy to make and can be frozen and reheated. An easy way to stock your freezer is by doubling the recipe for something you are already making for dinner. Enjoy half that night and freeze the other half for later.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in caring for a newborn, but it’s important for parents to take care of themselves and eating a balanced, healthy diet is a big part of that.
The last thing you need when caring for your new baby on little sleep is to run out of toilet paper. Before the baby comes, stockpile things like toilet paper, paper towels, safe cleaning products, and personal care products that you use regularly such as shampoo and soap. If buying in bulk isn’t your thing, use technology to your advantage and automate as many things as you can through subscription services like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. You can save by setting up regularly scheduled deliveries from monthly to every six months. And don’t worry, you can modify or cancel your delivery schedule at any time.
Another thing that may not be essential for everyone, but absolutely essential for many is making sure things are in order for your pet to be properly cared for after the baby comes.
You can make sure your pet is cared for by stocking up on food, treats, toys, and any medications they may be on like monthly flea and tick prevention. Also, arrange for someone to stay with them or take them to be boarded while you are in the hospital if necessary.
If you are worried they will suffer from lack of attention, you can ask friends and family who are offering to help to come play, walk them, or simply give them some time and attention.
If you think your pet might have problems adjusting to the new dynamic and are worried about them developing behavioral issues, you can work with a pet care professional like your vet or a trainer to come up with a plan for everyone to safely coexist.
If you or someone in the family takes certain medications regularly, or know you will need them in the future, make sure to get prescriptions filled shortly before the baby comes so you’ll have them on hand. Take inventory of your medicine cabinet and stock up on over the counter medications and first-aid essentials your family may need.
Leading up to the birth of your baby, it may seem like all of your healthcare has been pregnancy oriented. However, before the baby is born, you should take care of other routine healthcare tasks. Go to the dentist and the optometrist for preventative care. If you need dental work or new glasses or contacts, take the time to get these things done while you do not have to worry about bringing a newborn along.
This won’t be needed until the baby is older and mobile, but getting ideas and making lists of things you need to do can’t hurt. Also, many parents say that it is worth beginning to babyproof early if you can swing it. Your baby could be mobile and trying to get into everything in the blink of an eye. Here’s a helpful checklist for babyproofing the house so you do not forget anything.
We also recommend taking some time to review recommendations from The National Safety Council about important safety measures to protect your child.
The time before you have your baby is valuable for more than checking logistical things off a list. Taking time out for yourself, both alone and with your partner, is important. You’ll love your new baby in an all-consuming way, but you might still miss having alone time or a quiet moment with your partner. Take the opportunity to enjoy the things you love before the baby comes.
Some people go on vacations, or “babymoons,” before their babies are born. If you have the means, time, and energy for this type of vacation, then go for it! It will probably be the last time you’ll be able to have a child-free getaway for a while. Be sure to plan it during a time in your pregnancy when it is safe to travel.
If you can’t swing a full-fledged vacation, don’t sweat it. Weekend staycations in your town or even just planning downtime to stay home are great ways to take time for yourself and with your partner.
As the due date approaches, you should prepare for your stay in the hospital. This includes knowing the best routes to the hospital and packing suitcases to have on hand in case you need to leave in a hurry. Here is a helpful list of suggestions for what to pack in the hospital bag. Again, remember less is more. Most of the essentials will be provided for you at the hospital.
Newborn photographers can book well in advance so if there is a particular one you’d like to work with, contact them now.
If you are going to send birth announcements in the mail, go ahead and select the design ahead of time. You can finalize the birth details later. Most services have an option to sync your address book so you never have to address or stamp an envelope. You can even opt for digital birth announcements or forgo a formal birth announcement altogether. The choice is up to you, but we suggest deciding ahead of time.
At Kernodle OB/GYN, we know that preparing for a baby can be both exciting and overwhelming. We want to make your experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible. So, while you take care of these tasks, we’ll be here to take care of you. If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact us at (336) 538-2367 or schedule online.