10 Things to Do before the Baby Comes
Whether you’re giving birth unassisted, with a midwife or a doctor, at home, at the birth center or at the hospital, there are always things to do to get ready for the baby. When you give birth at home, you have to prepare a little bit more for the birth. For example, you need to figure out how to cut the umbilical cord, how to protect your flooring, and so on and so forth. But what else do you need to think about before the baby comes?
1. Get Ready to Be a Parent
Maybe this isn’t your first baby. Nevertheless, you might still need some time to get ready to become a parent (again). Babies are adorable, and you will love your baby like no one else. But unfortunately, raising children is not always as easy as you might want it to be. What kind of parent do you want to be? At the very least, you should consider how you want to care for your baby. For example, you may want to think about feeding and sleeping arrangements first.
2. Get the Basic Necessities
You will have to get a car seat. Whether or not you drive a lot, you need to have a car seat before your baby is born. Better yet, get it installed in order to be prepared to go somewhere with your baby, just in case. Other necessities might include diapers (unless you plan on using EC), a few outfits, swaddling blankets, wipes, a changing pad, nursing bras, and burp cloths.
3. Find a Name for Your Baby
Some parents don’t name their baby until he or she is born. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to talk about a few suggestions beforehand. Finding a good name can take some people weeks and even months. But most of the time, you can’t wait that long to file for your birth certificate. And most names you like will probably sound better than “baby girl” or “baby boy” on an official document.
4. Prepare Food for Postpartum
A lot of people recommend preparing food to reheat for the postpartum period. Logically, it makes a lot of sense. For example, you can double the recipe for lasagna and freeze one. But what if your freezer is too small? Once you are no longer pregnant, you will still be hungry a lot, even in the middle of the night. Not getting enough sleep and breastfeeding will definitely increase your appetite. But even if you didn’t prepare ahead of time, you can still survive. For example, you could enlist the help of your husband, parents, in-laws, and older children to make sure everyone is fed. Alternatively, you can start collecting menus from the places that deliver to your home.
5. Learn about the Postpartum Period
It’s easy to get caught up in having a baby and caring for a baby. But your body is going to go through a lot of changes after you give birth, too. If you don’t know anything about it, you might want to read up on it. For example, did you know that afterpains can be really painful, especially with second and subsequent babies? Additionally, during the first few days or weeks, you will be experiencing night sweats, because your body is losing all those extra fluids you built up during pregnancy. Some of the changes are to be expected, others not so much. Perineal tenderness is one thing most women could do without. One thing to take away: it’s really important to take care of yourself, too. You need to take care of yourself as much as you need to care for your new baby.
6. Plan Your Labor and Birth
You don’t need 9 months to plan the perfect childbirth experience. But the more you know about childbirth, the more likely it is that you get to experience the kind of birth you really want. If you want to give birth at home, you should start preparing at the beginning of your last trimester. You never know how long it takes to get specific supplies, especially if you’re looking for hard-to-find items, such as umbilical cord rings.
7. Try to Find Support for after the Birth
It can be hard to find someone who is willing to stay with you for a while, especially if your family doesn’t live nearby. But it’s really important to have some support, at least during the first week or two. If you have other children who are too young to take care of themselves, you might want to arrange for a babysitter or daycare temporarily. Another option is for your spouse to take some time off. Of course, he won’t be relaxing but taking over your household chores for you, including taking care of laundry and dishes.
8. Decide on How to Record the Event
Some people want lots of pictures of their birth. Others want to make a video of the entire event. Both options are fine, as long as that’s what you want. You may also want to get footprints of your new baby, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be done on the first day. There are a lot of different things you can do to help you remember this special event later. But most of them involve some planning. For example, if you want your husband to attend to you during the birth, then he won’t be able to take pictures at the same time.
9. Plan for Adjustment Problems
Living with a newborn is really hard for most parents. For example, some mothers and babies have a really hard time getting the hang of nursing. Most mothers are so tired and exhausted during the first few weeks that they can’t think straight. If you add afterpains, perineal tenderness, leaky breasts, leaky diapers and the baby blues to that, then the whole newborn experience sounds pretty grueling. The good news is: that too shall pass. But it helps to be prepared for the not-so-perfect stages of early parenthood.
10. Enjoy Your Pregnancy
Whether this is your first or your last baby, you should try to enjoy being pregnant. Even if you go overdue. Even if you’re seriously overdue. While you won’t have time to miss being pregnant during the first few weeks afterwards, pregnancy is really a very special time that you should treasure. You are the only one who feels the baby kicking and moving all the time inside of you. And even though you might feel like a beached whale at times, and you’re sick of heartburn, pregnancy has its benefits. For one thing, you don’t have any fat rolls since your belly is nice and tight. Plus, you can get out of doing all the heavy chores because of your pregnancy.