Finding out that you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting and at the same time most terrifying time in your life. This is the moment that you realize that your life will never be the same. There may be a millions questions running in your mind and you don’t even know where to begin to prepare for this life changing event. Well not to worry, here is a list of 20 things you should do before your baby is born and you have 9 months to complete it!
1. Prepare Your Birth Plan
A birth plan is a document that helps your medical team know your preferences on how you would like your labor, pain and delivery managed. In the end the goal is to deliver a healthy baby and there will be situations that will arise where there is no control over. But it is good to let your team know your preference. It is also good to include what you would like for when your baby arrives. If you want to breast feed, pacifier or no pacifier or if you want the baby with you in the room all night.
Here is a list of great birth plan templates: http://couponkarma.com/10-free-printable-pregnancy-birth-plans-hospital-bag-checklists-for-2013/
2. Find An OB/GYN
If you don’t already have an OB/GYN it is critical for you to find one as soon as possible. Not only do you want a doctor that you will feel good with but you will also want to make sure that they can deliver out of a hospital that you like as well as support you with the birth plan that you choose.
Even if you see one particular doctor, it doesn’t always mean that they will also deliver your baby. Doctors are not on call 24/7. So though you may have one particular doctor out of the practice that you like, it is good to make sure that you get to know all of the other doctors practicing there so you are familiar with them if they are the ones who are on call when you deliver.
3. Find A Pediatrician
Though this may seem a bit premature, it is in you and your baby’s best interest to have this figured out way before the birth. Finding a good pediatrician that you are comfortable with takes time and your baby will be seeing a pediatrician right from birth. When the baby finally comes you will be in the thick of baby haze, researching for a good doctor will be near impossible.
There are a multitude of things to consider when choosing a pediatrician: do the take your insurance? Are the accepting new patients? Do they visit the hospital you are delivering at? What are their hours? What is their philosophy on vaccinations and are they aligned with your own? Ask for recommendations from friends who have kids and make an appointment to visit. It is good to check out the place and make sure that you like the office and the staff.
4. Visit The Hospital
Visiting the hospital or birth center of where you plan to deliver is a smart way to prepare yourself for the birth of your baby. It can help ease any anxieties you may have and it is nice to know where you need to go when your big day arrives. Many hospitals have scheduled tours for expecting parents for them to go in and see the triage, labor and delivery rooms and the postpartum rooms. It is good to ask any questions you may have such as how many visitors do they allow and if your new baby is allowed to stay in your room overnight.
5. Take An Infant CPR/First Aid Class
Many of these classes are available at your local hospital. It is a great class to take and will help you feel more confident as a new parent. It is very important to know how to respond to your child in an emergency situation. CPR training has changed in the past few years so it is important to be up to date and know how to correctly respond.
6. Start A Workout/Exercise Plan For Pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy is not only beneficial to you but also your growing baby. Whether you are already active or are just starting it is best to consult your doctor first with any prenatal workout you choose to do. Working out helps keep your pregnancy weight gain in check, help with the aches and pains as well as help make childbirth easier.
7. Prenatal Massage
Prenatal massages are absolutely wonderful – especially in your last trimester. With your body changing so much and the added pressure on your back and legs, a good rub down is just what the doctor ordered.
Prenatal massages are done on your side with usually a lot of pillows that help support your belly and legs. This will help you relax and make you feel at your best which is a must when pregnant.
8. Eat Healthy
Though you may be eating for two, it doesn’t mean that you get to overindulge. Make sure that you are aware of what you are putting in your body and focus on getting your fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Also, be sure that you are taking a prenatal vitamin every day.
9. Document Your Pregnancy
Make sure that you document the growth of your baby bump. It is a fun way to compare and see how much you baby has grown as well as they are wonderful keepsakes to have for the future. A great thing to do is to have a maternity photo shoot. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing and it goes by fast. It is nice to have beautiful pictures that capture the moment.
Another fun way to celebrate your pregnancy is to document fun things such as your cravings and how you are feeling. It is great to have to look back on, especially when you are pregnant with your second. You can compare and see if your second pregnancy is a lot like your first.
10. Plan Your Baby Room
This is important to do early, especially if you are looking to do a whole renovation of said room. The further along in your pregnancy you get, the more tired and less mobile you will be. Though, most likely, the first few months your baby will probably sleep in your room, it is good to get any big tasks accomplish right away. Decided what your theme or colors are. If you have a baby shower, it is great to coordinate the theme to the baby’s room that way you can get a lot of things that will go perfectly in their room.
11. Complete Home Renovations Early
Thinking of redoing the kitchen? Wanting to finish your basement? It is best to get all these renovations done now or know that it will be a while before you can begin again on them. You don’t want to add any additional stress that comes with bringing home a baby. Lack of sleep and being in a baby haze as well as construction in your home is the last thing you want to deal with. Make sure that if you have plans to do any major work around the house that they get completed as soon as possible or know that it will be a year or so before you can think about starting them up again.
12. Baby Proofing The House
Though it will be a bit before your baby will be mobile, there are some things you can do now to prepare. If you have a lot of glass or breakable items, you can start storing those things away. You may also need to get rid of some of your furniture. If you have glass coffee tables or glass shelves that can get pushed over it is best to change these items out now. Before you know it, you will be chasing your little one and you will be so happy that you already baby proofed in advance.
13. Start Your Baby Registry
There are lots of things you are going to need and lots of people who are going to want to buy you and your new baby gifts. Start doing your research now on the best car seat, stroller and monitor. Get some advice on what you are really going to need by talking to other experienced moms.
14. Look For Deals And Start Saving Ahead
Babies are expensive. If you haven’t already, be sure to check your expenses. Between the cost of diapers and/or formula, things can get costly.
A great way to save money on diapers is by purchasing them when you see a good deal even before your baby is born. Be on the lookout what diapers go on sale and then use the coupons that you find as well. Double the savings! This will help out greatly in the long run.
For more tips on how to cut costs on diapers and wipes, read this post: http://www.mommyedition.com/simple-ways-to-save-money-on-diapers-wipes-and-formula
Additionally, though you may want to purchase everything new for your new baby, you can save a lot of money by purchasing second hand clothing. Babies grow out of clothes so fast that there are other moms who are trying to sell clothes that are in great condition and some still in tags because their little one outgrew it before they could wear it. You can get new and like new baby clothing at more than half the cost!
It is also good to talk about opening a savings account or college saving plan too. It is never too early to start saving for college.
15. Buy And Install The Car Seat
Doing this in advance is important before the baby arrives. That way it is one less thing you have to think about when your baby arrives. Installing a car seat isn’t as easy as it would seem. 80% of car seats are typically installed incorrectly. To make sure yours is correct, you get it inspected. To find a child seat fitting station call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK.
16. Plan A “Baby-Moon”
It will be quite some time before you and your loved one will be able to take a vacation again where it is just you two. Planning a baby-moon is a great way to celebrate your family of two before it becomes a family a three. When planning, make sure that you check in with your doctor to let them know so that they can give you thumbs up for traveling. If your pregnancy is considered high risk or you are too far along to travel, it is best and safest to stay back and go somewhere close. You don’t have to go anywhere exotic or far for a baby-moon. A weekend away with a two hour drive can be just as nice too.
17. Girls Night!
Want to try out that restaurant that you have been eying for months? Now is the time to do it!
When the baby arrives, it may be a while till you can feel like you can go out with your friends again. Having a night out with the girls is a great thing to do before the baby is born. You may be a bit stressed out with all the preparation for the baby and this is a great way to have fun and blow off some steam. A good laugh and a night with your best girls is just what you need!
18. Find Daycare
If you plan on going back to work right after your baby is born, it is good to start researching and touring daycare places. The good places get filled up fast so it is always good to get your name in a soon as possible. Ask around and get recommendations from other families.
Here are some great tips on how to about finding the best care for your baby: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/809402/how-to-find-a-good-childcare-program-for-your-child
19. Join A Mom’s Group
There are numerous expecting mom’s groups out there and it is a great support system to join. It is great to make friends who are going through the same life changes as you are and with children being born close in age, these are great ladies to get together with for playdates. Mom’s groups are a great way to ask questions, bounce parenting ideas and make lifelong friends.
20. If You Have A Pet…
Remember that not just you and your spouse will be affected by the new baby but your pet will be too. It is important to prepare your furry friend. Bringing a new baby into a home, a pet may get a bit overwhelmed by all the new smells, sounds and sights.
To make the transition go smooth, visit this website that has great advice on how you can prepare your pet before the new baby comes: http://prettyfluffy.com/home-living/tips-training/how-to-prepare-your-dog-for-a-baby-dog-lovers-guide
Once your baby is born, everyone will want to come into town and visit with the baby. But it may be in your best interest to wait a couple of weeks to adjust to your new bundle of joy. People love to help so when they ask what they can do don’t feel shy about telling them exactly what you need: laundry, cooking, cleaning, help feeding the baby. In those first few months you will appreciate all the help you receive.