Ahh, the big day is almost here! Whether your due date is months away or days away, it’s crucial that you are prepared for your baby’s arrival. You most likely have thought about how the big day will go, making a mental checklist of what you have and what you still need. Mental checklists are a wonderful place to start, but as the day gets closer, it might be a good idea to write out your plans and preparations to help things in order once you go into labor.
If this is your first pregnancy, you may not know how or what to prepare for a newborn baby, and that is okay! There are so many resources available out there to help soon-to-be-parents prepare for the big day!
What To Prepare During Your Pregnancy
There are two sides to preparing for a newborn; the big, important side of things (prenatal care, medical) and then the fun, exciting side (names, nursery theme, what to pack for baby’s return). Both are important, but you’re going to want to do the major stuff as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Here are some of the things you can do to prepare for your newborn:
Once you find out you are pregnant, the first thing you are going to want to do is set up an appointment with a doctor so you can confirm the pregnancy (optional) and begin to focus on prenatal care.
Prenatal care is critical because it is considered preventative healthcare for both you and your baby. After your initial visit, you and your healthcare provider will set up future appointments to monitor the baby’s development. After the first trimester and as the due date gets closer, appointments will become more frequent leading up to delivery (every 4-6 weeks until 28 weeks, every 2 to 3 weeks from 28 to 36 weeks, and every week from 36 weeks until delivery.) These appointments are where you will address any concerns that you may have or ask questions about the pregnancy. You can also consult with your doctor about the best prenatal supplements.
Talk to your insurance company and ensure that prenatal care is covered under your policy. This will significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs that you could use toward other things for your baby.
While you have your insurance provider on the phone, you should add your baby to your health insurance plan as soon as possible to avoid additional medical costs. This also might be a good time to talk to your work about maternity leave so you can prepare financially for the baby’s arrival.
Once you have the major stuff out of the way, you can start to think of smaller details on what to prepare for a newborn baby. For example, picking out a name for your baby, fun baby shower games, and all the things you should pack in your hospital bag, if you plan on delivering at a hospital. If you plan on doing an at-home birth, there are still details that you can prepare like whether you will have a midwife or doctor present.
Don’t forget to think about the days following delivery too, you want to be prepared for when you bring your baby home.
Below is a list of essentials that you should review to prepare for your newborn (at home and/or to take with you to hospital):
- Newborn diapers (plenty of them)
- Baby wipes
- Baby ointment or barrier cream (or powder) to prevent rash or irritation
- Bibs and burping cloths
- Nursing bras (if breastfeeding)
- Breast pump
- Bottles and formula (if not breastfeeding)
- Onesies (lots of onesies)
- Footed newborn zip up sleepers
- Scratch mittens
- Newborn hats
- Newborn tub
- Baby soap
- Soft bristled brush
- Baby towels
- Crib (sheets, mattress, blankets)
- Newborn approved car seat
- Baby kit (nail clippers, bulb syringe, thermometer)
- Baby monitor
- Diaper bag
Having a plan or knowing what to prepare for a newborn baby will help relieve some of the stress that comes along with the first few days following birth. Keep this list handy and if you know someone who is expecting, be sure to pass this list along so they can be prepared for their big day!