Welcoming a new baby into the world is the start of an exciting chapter in life. There are preparations parents should make before their baby comes home to ensure a smooth transition into parenthood. Here are some tips for parents on how to prepare for their baby’s arrival.
Preparing for a baby should begin before you are pregnant or once you confirm pregnancy, because it is important to get prenatal care and strive for a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
Start gathering supplies and getting ready for your baby's arrival around the second trimester (4 months along).
Plan to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go long before you go into labor. It is better to be ready than to be unprepared.
Things to consider before having a baby
Planning for pregnancy is the first step parents-to-be should take in their preparation process, which includes taking a good look at their lifestyle choices. Ideally, mothers should be striving for optimal health before pregnancy, and your lifestyle plays a key role in health. Quitting smoking, alcohol, and any recreational drug use is a must. Eating a balanced diet to achieve a normal weight is also important for a healthy pregnancy.
Prenatal care is crucial for ensuring the health and safety of both the mother and the baby. Get established with an OB-GYN early on so that they can identify any risk factors or problems during the pregnancy. Taking prenatal vitamins before and during pregnancy will help with the baby’s development.
Consider the type of parenting style you plan to implement with your child. Life will be easier down the road if you and your partner already have an understanding of how you both intend to parent. Parenting is not easy, but being on the same page as your partner will help.
Cost is a huge issue when planning a family, and if it is not taken into consideration beforehand, financial struggles may follow. Babies cost money. It starts with healthcare costs for prenatal care and delivering the baby. There are endless supplies that a baby will need. Buying things for your child lasts for a very, very long time. Some items on this long list include diapers, clothes, food, furniture, toys, childcare, health care, education, etc.
Preparing your home for a baby is another aspect to consider. Is there enough space in your home for your new addition? Is your house safe? Do you have a lot of stairs that increase the risk of falls? Are there pets in the home? Future parents should imagine what life will be like when they bring their baby home. That baby will one day be a toddler that is walking and getting into everything, and from there, they continue to grow.
Learning basic baby care is a crucial step in family planning. Babies rely on their parents for everything. Learning the basics of caring for a baby will help parents feel more confident as caregivers. Do you know how to properly hold a baby, feed them, and diaper them? These are just a few aspects of baby care that parents must know.
Bringing baby home from the hospital – 5 things to have before:
Other than the obvious items like clothing, diapers, and baby wipes, parents should already have these five essential items prior to their baby’s arrival:
- Car seat. Babies must be placed in a good-fitting car seat.
- Crib. Babies need their own space for safe sleeping.
- Baby carrier. There is no better way for a parent to be able to hold their baby but still move around, use their arms, and get things done.
- Swaddlers. Swaddle blankets help to keep your baby warm and give them a sense of comfort and security. They are also the best option for safe sleep.
- Feeding supplies. If you plan to breastfeed, you will need pumping supplies and a good breastfeeding pillow. Bottle-fed babies will require the purchasing of formula and bottles.
When should you start preparing for the baby's arrival?
As you get further along in your pregnancy and your belly grows bigger and bigger, getting around may be more challenging. Once the baby arrives, time and sleep will be limited. This is why it is best to start preparing for your baby’s arrival early in the pregnancy when you have the time and energy to do so.
Most miscarriages occur before 12 weeks gestation, so many women wait until the second trimester (around four months) to begin the preparation process. Hopefully, at this point in the pregnancy, morning sickness is no longer an issue, which makes life much easier.
Plan to have a hospital bag ready for the day you go into labor. Start planning what to pack early in the third trimester. To be safe, have it ready around 35 weeks gestation or earlier, just in case you experience preterm labor. It’s better to be ready than unprepared. Some things to pack in your bag may include the following:
- Comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to get on and off.
- Toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, deodorant, make-up, lotion, lip balm, breath mints, pads, etc.
- A copy of your birth plan.
- Purse, cell phone, and charger.
- An adorable and comfy outfit for your baby.