Here are ten important tasks to take care of before your baby arrives.
1. Take Childbirth and Parenting Classes: As first-time parents, you will find that babies don’t come with a set of instructions and there is limited time to learn what you need to learn before you leave your birthing facility. You will also find that everyone will have an opinion on how to care for your baby. Taking prenatal and parenting classes will help you learn the basics of baby care, provide you with reliable resources to learn more, and will help empower you to make educated decisions when caring for your little one.
When should you start taking childbirth classes? Generally speaking, the start of your third trimester (around the 7th month of pregnancy) is a good time to begin classes. However, this timing can vary. If you are having multiples, have limited time to take classes, or are taking a class like hypnobirthing which takes 5 weeks to complete, you may need to begin classes earlier to ensure you are able to take all the classes that you desire.
What classes should you take? Here is a list of suggested classes:
2. Purchase and Install a Car Seat: Before your baby will be able to go home with you from your birthing facility, you MUST have a car seat. Install your car seat before the big day and have it inspected by a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). Unfortunately, many newborns leave the hospital in a car seat that has not been properly installed. It is estimated that 4 out of 5 car seats are not installed properly and 7 out of 10 children are not properly secured in their car seat. Car seat inspections are free and generally take 30 minutes to an hour. Find a technician in your area here.
3. Have Essential Baby Equipment Ready To Go: Be sure your bay’s sleeping area is ready to go with clean linens. Wash baby clothes, burp cloths, washcloths, towels, hats and blankets. Stock diapers and wipes. If you will not be breastfeeding, purchase formula and sterilize baby bottles.
4. Discuss Important Decisions to be Made: Talk with your partner about important decisions that will need to be made in your baby’s first few days of life.
5. Take a Tour of Your Birthing Facility and Ask Important Questions Regarding Their Rules and Regulations. Ask about:
6. Review Your Insurance Plan: Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy and what your plan covers. Read how to maximize your benefits here.
7. Pack Your Hospital Bag: Pack your bag about four to six weeks before your due date (for multiples, you may want to pack your bag earlier, around 30-32 weeks gestation). Not sure what to pack? Here is a list: Supplies to Take to The Hospital. (Save time and money by purchasing our eco-friendly, non-toxic hospital bag: My Pure Delivery).
8. Thinking of Banking or Donating Your Baby's Cord Blood? Talk with your healthcare provider about your wishes to collect your baby’s cord blood and discuss if he/she charges for this service. Obtain a collection kit from the facility you will be using to store the cord blood or the facility you will be donating to. Most cord blood facilities recommend signing up around your 32nd week of pregnancy.
9. Find a Pediatrician: Your baby’s nurses will ask you for your pediatrician before your baby will be able to leave the hospital. Here are some tips on Choosing a Doctor for Your Baby.
10. Pre-Register with Your Birthing Facility: Pre-registering will help your admission go smoothly and will ensure you have all the necessary documents.
*Bonus* Will you Be Breastfeeding Your Baby? Visiting with a lactation consultant prenatally can not only help to answer any questions or concerns that you may have regarding breastfeeding but can also help to assess if there could be potenial challanges that may need intervention. Since breastfeeding is a very intimate time, meeting with a lactation consultant prenatally can help you develop a rapport and help you feel more at ease.
Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST