10 Basic Ways to Prepare for the Baby’s Arrival

Preparing for a new baby can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Whether it’s your first baby or your fourth, pre-delivery jitters can affect even seasoned veterans. Forgotten bags, confusion and an empty cupboard can all be the results of a pregnancy-fogged brain.

Here are ten ways to prepare for the arrival of your little bundle of joy.

  1. Pack Your Bags – At the beginning of your ninth month, it’s a good idea to pack an overnight bag full of essentials for mom and a diaper bag just for baby’s belongings. Though your partner can always pick up forgotten items, it will cut into the time you spend getting acquainted with the newest member of your family as a unit.
  2. Buy and Install Your Car Seat –Many hospitals require infants to pass a car seat test prior to bringing their baby home. Others actually require a Certified Passenger Safety Technician check the installation before releasing the baby.
  3. Prepare Birth Announcements – If you know your child’s gender and have already chosen a name, you can prepare your birth announcement template ahead of time. Though you’ll have to add delivery details after the fact, these small steps can save time, which will certainly be at a premium after your child is born.
  4. Make Your Birth Plan – You’ve likely been weighing your birth options since your first trimester; now is the time to nail down your birth plan. Whether you’re opting for an all-natural, minimal intervention birth or plan to have an induction and an epidural, it’s best to discuss your wishes with your healthcare provider before those contractions start.
  5. Prepare Older Siblings – Introducing a new family member can be stressful for children; though they have a vague idea that you’ll be bringing a new baby home, it’s still a good idea to have a discussion about their role as an older sibling and what they should expect when the new baby comes home.
  6. Arrange For Extra Help – If you’re going to be hiring a nanny who specializes in newborns or inviting a family member for an extended visit to help out, it’s a good idea to hammer out the details of the plan as your due date approaches.
  7. Decide Who Will Be Attending the Birth– While there may be dozens of loved ones in the waiting room, deciding who will be attending the birth of your child is a very personal and potentially difficult decision. Your comfort and the comfort of your partner are the most important aspects of this decision; don’t allow yourself to be pressured by insistent loved ones if you’re not comfortable with their attendance.
  8. Attend Newborn Care Class – Parents-to-be with limited newborn experience might want to consider attending a newborn care class in order to prepare themselves and learn the basics. These courses are usually available at community centers; your midwife or obstetrician can provide you with contact information.
  9. Launder Clothing, Bedding and Towels – All of your newborn’s clothing, bedding and towels should be laundered with a fragrance-free detergent specially designed not to irritate their skin. Checking this chore off your list before bringing baby home is best; you’re not likely to have time after delivery.
  10. Stock Your Kitchen – As your due date nears, it’s a good idea to stock up on staple items. Preparing meals that are easily frozen and reheated is also a plus; neither you nor your partner is likely to feel like cooking in the first few weeks of parenthood.