How to Prepare for Your First Baby: 7 Tips
Since you’ve found out you’re pregnant, you’ve been anxious for the arrival of your new baby. While you’re excited, you also may feel stressed about all of the things you need to do, figure out, and buy before the baby comes.
It may seem like a long to-do list, but if you do small tasks every month leading up to labor, it won’t feel so stressful. It will also reduce stress if you do these tasks now, as opposed to when your baby arrives. Instead of running around stores trying to find items or spending unnecessary time on chores, you’ll be spending time with your bundle of joy.
Here are 7 tips to help you get ready for your first baby.
Prepare Food Before You Have Your Baby
Once the baby comes, you won’t have a lot of time to plan and cook healthy meals. In the first week after you have your baby, you will be caring for him or her around the clock. It might be tempting to order out or pick up fast food, but if you plan in advance, you won’t have to.
In the months leading up to your pregnancy, stock up on large re-sealable plastic bags and freezable containers. You can find some freezable recipes, make them ahead of time, freeze them, and defrost them when you’re ready to eat. Recipes that do well in the freezer include casseroles, soups and stews, meatballs, lasagnas and more. For more ideas, you can check out Martha Stewart’s freezer friendly meals.
If you don’t already have a slow cooker, now is time to purchase one. Not only can it be a lifesaver in the first week after the baby but it can also help you throughout all of your years as a mother. You can prepare and freeze ingredients ahead of time so that you can throw them into the slow cooker for an easy meal. For example, you can chop up vegetables and beef and throw them into a freezer bag with seasonings. In the morning, you can dump the bag into the slow cooker and your family’s meal will be ready in 8 hours. Here are 12 ideas for slow cooker freezer meals.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on staples such as rice, canned foods and condiments. Anything that could save you a trip to the grocery store will make life easier once the baby arrives.
Clean & Organize Your House
This might sound like a boring tip, but you’ll be happy you did it once you have your baby. With all the time you’ll take tending to your baby, you don’t want to worry about cleaning your floors or organizing your cupboards.
In the months leading up to your baby’s birth, organize all of the small spaces. For example, if your cupboards or closets need to be cleaned and you need a new organizational system, now is the time to work on that. Declutter and donate duplicates or items that you no longer use. If you’ve been meaning to clean your carpets or couches, rent a steam cleaner. Wash all of your bedding, floor mats and new baby clothes.
In the weeks leading up to your pregnancy, you and your partner should clean the floors and surfaces. If you’re too tired, do what you can and what feels comfortable for you. Anything you clean now will help after you give birth.
Pack Your Birth Hospital Bag
If you’re in the final weeks of your pregnancy, labor could start any day. When it starts, you don’t want to worry about running around to grab the essential items. Around week 36 or 37, you should pack all of your items and leave it in a bag by your front door. That way, whenever you’re ready, everything you need will be too.
So, what should you pack? First off, you should pack comfortable clothing to wear in the hospital and on your way home. You can also pack items that will make you more comfortable and make the space feel more like home, such as slippers or your favourite pillow or music. Make sure your partner brings his cell phone and charging cord so that he can take pictures of the baby when he or she is born.
You should also pack the items you may want after your baby is born. These could include snacks, your toothbrush, hairbrush, a baby blanket and one outfit for your baby.
Start Looking for a Pediatrician
Before you give birth to your little one, you will want to have a pediatrician chosen should any issues arise off the bat. Looking for a doctor beforehand will allow you to take your time to find a good one. Since he or she will be your baby’s doctor for years to come, it’s not a process you want to rush.
To find a good pediatrician, you can ask around. See which pediatricians other mothers use and ask your family doctor which one he or she would recommend. You can also search online to see which pediatricians are accepting new patients.
You should also consider a few factors such as the office location and hour it’s open. If you are returning to work, you may want to consider if the office is open late and on weekends. Whichever pediatrician you choose, check online to see if there are any online reviews for the doctor or office. The reviews could tell you about their knowledge, friendliness and how long wait times are.
Buy Everything Necessary for Your Baby
After you’ve given birth, you’ll be tired and will need to tend to your baby all day. You don’t want to be wandering around in malls shopping for your baby right after you’ve had him or her. Some items you need to buy will be more of an investment and having time to research the products before purchase could save you from buyer’s remorse.
Since you will receive gifts at your baby shower, it’s best to wait to purchase many of these items.
Here are a few items you should have before your baby arrives:
- Baby cream
- Crib/crib mattress
- Crib sheets
- Breast pump (if breastfeeding)
- Formula (if you’re not breastfeeding)
- Baby clothes, shoes, coats & pajamas
- Baby blanket
- Baby monitor
- Changing table (or a low place to change your baby such as a dresser)
- Diaper bag (helpful when you visit family or friends)
- Nightlight (helpful when you’re getting up in the middle of the night)
- Bouncy seat (helpful to keep him or her entertained but not necessary)
- Car seat. This is a non-negotiable item that you must purchase before you go into labour. Many hospitals cannot allow you to take your baby home unless you have purchased and installed a car seat. Below is a video on how to properly install a car seat.
Make the Important Decisions Now
There are many decisions you need to make surrounding the birth and your new baby. Rather than wait until last minute, it’s good to have all of these discussions with your partner beforehand.
The most obvious decision you need to make is the baby’s name. Some couples may choose to wait until their baby is born to name him or her, but having at least a few names picked out beforehand can make the decision easier. You’ll also need to decide if you’ll breastfeed or use formula. Talking about this beforehand will give you and your partner time to research the pros and cons. If you’re having a boy, you will need to discuss if he will be circumcised.
You also have a few decisions to make around your baby’s birth. Do you want to have your baby at home with a midwife? Or at a hospital? Who should be with you when you give birth? Who will let everyone know that you’ve successfully given birth?
When your baby comes into the world, both you and your partner’s life will change. Discuss whether there will need to be a change in household duties and what your expectations are of each other. Depending on your financial situation, you may need to talk about how your budget should change and how you will stretch a dollar.
Some parents want to have their newborn photos professionally taken. After you have your baby, you may feel that you have to choose a photographer who is more expensive or less talented, just to save time. If you plan to hire a photographer, research different photographers and prices beforehand.
Set-Up Baby Spaces
Before you rush to the hospital, you should have a space for your baby to sleep. This may be a nursery or just a space in your room for a crib. You will also want to set up different areas in your home where you can nurse or play with your baby. You may choose to purchase a rocking chair or a play mat for these times.
What’s on your to-do list before having your baby? If you have any preparation tips, comment them below. If you found this post helpful, be sure to share it with another expecting mother.
One thought on “How to Prepare for Your First Baby”