Preparing for Baby: 5 Essential Things to Do Before You Give Birth
Whether you’re a first-time mom or an experienced parent with older kids, preparing for childbirth is an exciting, chaos-filled time. You’re anxious to finally meet your new baby and simultaneously overwhelmed and exhausted. And once the baby arrives, the lack of both sleep and energy will cause those first few months at home to be a bit of a blur. To help you get ready, take a look at our top five recommendations of essential things to do before you give birth.
1. Prepare Dinners
There will be so much to do after your baby arrives, and you likely won’t feel up to cooking for a while. Having some simple meals in the freezer means you’ll spend less money on dining out and less than you’d spend on pre-packaged grocery store meals. Plus, your homemade creations will be healthier and more nutritious than anything you can pick up from a restaurant or pre-made from the supermarket. You may not even feel like venturing out for a while, either. Between trying to heal and feeling anxious about strangers breathing on your newborn, you may just be more comfortable eating at home.
2. Stock Non-Baby Household Items and Food
You probably have a weekly routine of going to the store to pick up toiletries and food. The pantry stays full, and the hassle of running out of things isn’t really on your radar. But with a newborn in the house, running out of toilet paper is a much bigger deal. You’re healing from childbirth, exhausted, and nursing constantly. Getting out for even half an hour during that first chaotic month with a new baby can be a hassle. Here are a few suggestions for what to stock up on ahead of time:
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels or napkins
- Hand sanitizer – We love Zoey’s Naturals Island Hibiscus Hand Sanitizer .
- Sanitizing wipes
- Laundry detergent
- Dishwashing detergent
- Hand soap
- Trash bags
- Pet food
- Pantry staples, like peanut butter, pasta, cereal, rice, canned tuna and veggies, nuts, sugar, honey, salt, tea, coffee, and filters
- Stamps and thank you cards – We love these pretty cards from Lemon Milk.
3. Refill Your Meds and Medical Supplies
If you or someone in your household is on regular prescription medications, make sure to get prescriptions filled shortly before the baby comes so you’ll have them on hand. Evaluate your medicine cabinet inventory while you’re at it, and stock up on over-the-counter medications and first-aid essentials your family may need, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or bandages.
With so much attention on the baby’s needs, it’s easy to forget you’ll be healing from delivery as well. You’ll need to have post-partum supplies on-hand for your own recovery. Often hospitals will send you home with some of these items, but it’s definitely not a bad idea to stock up on a few things on your own. Here’s what we recommend:
- Maxi pads
- Perineal spray – Check out this herbal one from Earth Mama Organics.
- Peri bottle – We love the Fridababy’s Fridet the Momwasher.
- Nipple cream – This soothing mixture from Earth Mama Organics is amazing.
4. Pack Your Birth Bag
A few weeks before your due date, you should have your hospital bag packed and ready to go. You may want to include the following:
- An extra set of clothes in case baby spits up on you or poops on you
- Weather-appropriate clothes and a blanket for the baby
- Personal toiletries
- A written copy of your birth plan if you have one
- Robe, slippers, socks, nursing bra or nursing tank, and comfortable clothes to wear home
Consider bringing a few other comforts from home as well, such as a body pillow, music, or essential oils. Feeling overwhelmed? You can actually order pre-packed hospital bags that are ready to go!
5. Get the Baby Gear Ready
Newborn babies don’t need a lot of gear at first, but there are a few really important items you should have purchased, assembled, and ready to go before the baby arrives. The car seat will be the most important item. Go ahead and install this in your car since you won’t be able to leave the hospital without it. You’ll also want to have a safe space for your baby to sleep, like a crib or bassinet. Be sure to wash the baby’s sheets, clothes, and blankets ahead of time while you’re at it. Many parents also find it helpful to have a dedicated diapering space set up as well, like a changing table.
There are a few other pieces of baby gear you may find handy, especially if they’re set up in advance:
- Recliner or rocker
- White noise machine – Take a look at Tonies Nap Time White Noise Audio Play Figurine.
- Infant seat or swing
- Baby monitor
- Nursing pillow – Check out the Snuggle Me Organic Feeding Pillow.
- Diaper pail
- Sling carrier – We like the Ergobaby Aura Baby Wrap Carrier.
A Few Things to Consider
Preparing for the essentials before the baby is born will help you feel more confident and empowered. You’ll feel less anxious and more prepared knowing you have everything ready to go, and you’ll have the convenience of having everything right where you need it. Here are a few more things to consider as you prepare for the baby’s arrival:
- Avoid overbuying. Evaluate your inventory and be sure you don’t already have plenty of the item.
- Plan for at least one month. The first few weeks with a new baby can be the most challenging. Eventually, you’ll have to get it out, but give yourself at least a month to rest and recover.
- Store things you know for sure you’ll need. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by purchasing items you think you’ll need. Focus your time and energy gathering supplies you’re sure you will.
- Re-evaluate your inventory as your due date approaches. Use those last few weeks before the baby’s arrival to re-stock any low supplies you might need.
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