New Baby

Photo courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Welcoming a new baby into the family is a joyous time.  As your due date gets closer, you will feel both anxious and excited about your new baby’s arrival.  You will have a lot to get done, so the sooner you start crossing things off of your to-do list, the better.

Go Shopping

You will have to do a lot of shopping to prepare for the arrival of a new baby.  You will need to prepare a sleeping area and have somewhere to put your baby’s clothes and supplies.  Some of the most essential items that you’ll need to buy in order to prepare for the arrival of your new baby include the following:

  • Bottles
  • Brush for cleaning bottles
  • Clothing
  • Receiving blanket
  • Crib or bassinet
  • Car seat
  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Nursing bras
  • Changing table
  • Baby bathtub

Although you’ll be tempted to buy every cute toy and gadget you set eyes on, it’s advisable to buy only the basics and then go shopping again after your baby is born.  If you shop till you drop before your baby is even born, you’ll probably find out later that a lot of the items you bought were unnecessary.

Create a Birthing Plan

A birthing plan lays out your preferences for birth and delivery.  Describe the ideal scenario you have in mind for your birth in your birthing plan and discuss it with your doctor or midwife as well as with your partner or doula.  Your partner or doula will do his/her best to ensure that your wants and needs are met during labor and delivery.

Don’t just write out a birthing plan, set it aside, and then bring it with you when you go to the hospital.  Be sure to talk with your doctor or midwife about your birthing plan well beforehand, so he/she is clear about your stance on key issues, such as the use of medication for pain relief, delivery positions, assisted delivery methods, cesareans, routine IV, episiotomies, and breastfeeding.  Throughout your pregnancy, read about labor and delivery to determine your stance on these key issues, but don’t feel like you need to have a strong opinion about everything.  You can choose to rely mostly on the guidance and opinions of your doctor or midwife.

Take Childbirth Education Classes

Childbirth education classes are typically offered by hospitals and local health departments.  These classes teach mothers-to-be breathing and relaxation techniques for labor and delivery, exercise tips for pregnancy, how to follow a healthy diet during pregnancy, and how to prepare for their stay at the hospital.  Childbirth education classes also give mothers-to-be a chance to bond with their partners and get to know other expecting couples.

Learn about Breastfeeding

If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before the birth of your new baby.  You can join a breastfeeding support group or find out if your hospital offers breastfeeding classes.  Support groups are an excellent place to learn more about breastfeeding your new baby because they allow you to draw from the experiences of other mothers and receive help from people who have been there and done that.

Pick a Pediatrician for Your New Baby

Unless your family doctor is going to be your new baby’s healthcare provider, you need to find a good pediatrician.  A good pediatrician is someone who will answer your questions, chart your new baby’s development, and address all of your concerns.  To find a pediatrician, ask your friends, family, primary care physicians, obstetrician, and colleagues for recommendations.  Set up interviews with each potential doctor to ask them questions about their professional qualifications and their viewpoints about important healthcare issues.

Pack a Bag to Take to the Hospital

Prepare for your new baby’s arrival by packing your hospital bag at least a month in advance of your due date.  In your hospital bag, include the following items for yourself and your new baby:

  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Breast pads
  • Nursing bra
  • Hair tie
  • Clothing to wear home
  • Toiletries
  • Receiving blanket for baby
  • Going home clothing for baby
  • Car seat
  • Hospital admissions papers
  • Pregnancy medical file
  • Over-the-counter prescription and medication information

Preparing for the arrival of your new baby is an exciting time, but it can get hectic if you save all of these tasks for the last minute.  To give yourself more time to enjoy the new addition to your family and relax after the exhausting labor and delivery process, prepare for the arrival of your new baby as far in advance as possible.

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