How To Prepare For A Baby: 7 Essential Tips
Whether you’re adopting or pregnant, you’re probably already counting down the days until your little one is in your arms! Preparing to welcome a new baby into your family is exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming — there’s a lot to do before baby comes.
Between stocking up on diapers, choosing a doctor, and making financial preparations, you have many things to think about! If you’re wondering how to prepare for a baby, the Newton Baby experts are here to help with six essential tips.
How To Prepare For A Baby
1) Prepare Financially
Here are a few ways to make sure your finances are in order before the big day.
Look Over Your Health Insurance
Make sure you know what maternity costs your health insurance covers and what will be out-of-pocket. This can affect the choices you make about prenatal care and where to deliver your baby, so it’s best to gather this information as soon as possible.
You also need to understand how to add your new child to your insurance. They’ll be here before you know it!
Check In With Work
Budget For Baby Costs
But keep in mind that for your baby’s safety and health, it’s best to buy the following items brand-new:
- Crib mattress
- Car seat
- Breast pump
- Baby carrier or sling
- Nipples for bottles
Also, remember to budget for recurring expenses after your baby arrives (think formula, diapers, and childcare).
Create A Baby Registry
Start creating your baby registry whenever you get the itch; just make sure that it’s done by the time baby shower invitations are sent out. That said, you may want to wait until you know whether your baby is a boy or a girl and have made some decisions about the nursery theme.
Feel free to update your registry as you go, adding things your friends say that you can’t live without and removing items that people have already given to you.
Here’s one multi-purpose item we think you won’t want to live without: Newton Baby’s Organic Swaddle Blankets. Completely breathe-through, our 100% organic muslin cotton swaddles keep your baby at the perfect temperature to avoid overheating.
These swaddles come in handy because they can be used for more than just swaddling your baby. They double as a stroller cover, changing pad, nursing cover, burp cloth, and light blanket!
2) Prepare Medically
Plan For Prenatal Care
To care for yourself and your growing baby bump, you’ll need to choose a doctor to see for the duration of your pregnancy. Pick out a doctor you’re comfortable with and schedule your first visit soon after you find out you’re expecting.
Plan for several more prenatal visits throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor will tell you your estimated due date, answer questions, perform ultrasounds, and run tests to check on your and your baby’s health.
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll need to make several decisions, including whether or not you’ll find out the sex of your baby and what prenatal screenings you want done.
Decide Where To Deliver Your Baby
Another medical decision you need to make early on is exactly where you’re going to deliver. This is an important decision!
You want to feel comfortable in the place that you give birth and know that they will provide you with the sort of care you are looking for. Do some research and choose a hospital or birthing center that best suits you and your partner
Choose A Pediatrician
Obviously, if you’re adopting a baby, you won’t have to make preparations for childbirth. But regardless of how your baby is coming to you, you will need to choose a pediatrician for your baby.
When choosing a pediatrician, consider whether or not you want a group practice, the location of the office, the convenience of their hours, the pediatrician’s credentials and training, and what insurance they accept.
And, of course, you want to be sure that you feel cared for by the doctor — you and your child will be seeing them for years to come!
3) Prepare A Safe Nursery
Creating a special room where your little one will snooze can be one of the most enjoyable parts of preparing for a baby! You get to paint the walls, hang cute curtains, and pick out a comfy rocking chair.
Of course, you want to make the room cozy, inviting, and cute. But safety is another important aspect to consider when outfitting your baby’s nursery.
Practice Safe Sleep
For the first couple of years of their life, your little one will spend a lot of time sleeping in the crib. Looking out for your baby’s safety during naps and nighttime is called safe sleep and includes:
- Putting your baby to sleep on their back, not their side or stomach
- Sharing your room with baby, but not your bed (some people use a bassinet)
- Using a firm crib mattress that fits correctly inside the crib (not too big and not too small)
- Keeping blankets, pillows, and toys out of the crib
When deciding on which mattress to purchase, consider a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress. Once your baby learns to roll over by themselves, a breathable mattress will help keep them safe by reducing the risk of suffocation.
With a Newton Baby mattress, you can rest easy knowing your baby is sleeping safe and sound. Our mattress is also 100% washable from cover to core, which means you can do away with mold, bacteria, and allergens for even more peace of mind.
Plus, the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is comfortable, and the standard size will see your little one well into their toddler days. You can count on years of safe sleep!
It might be hard to imagine your little one scooting, crawling, or toddling around, but that time will come before you know it!
While you won’t need to fully babyproof your home until your baby is rolling around or crawling, you can take a few safety precautions when decorating and setting up your nursery.
There’s a lot to consider, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
First of all, anchor tall or top-heavy furniture to the wall. This applies mostly to bookshelves, tall dressers, and the like. Doing this now will save you a step when your baby starts pulling up on things.
Secondly, as you decorate the nursery, you’ll want to think carefully about the curtains and blinds. Opt for cordless blinds or plan to tie any cords up so that they’re well out of reach of curious baby hands.
Also, your baby’s crib will need to be positioned far enough away from the curtains so that your little one can’t reach them through the crib slats.
Lastly, use caution when hanging artwork. It’s best to stay away from placing pieces on the wall over the crib or changing table. Regardless of where you choose to display artwork, make sure it’s securely attached to the wall. Don’t cut corners here!
4) Prepare Your Home
In addition to preparing the nursery and stocking up on baby supplies, there are a few things you can do to get the rest of your house ready for your new little one.
Buy Extra Mattress Pads And Crib Sheets
Think of your future self. To make laundry day easier, consider buying extras of items that will get dirty, such as your crib sheet and mattress pad.
Expert tip: No matter what crib mattress you have, you can use a Newton Baby Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad to add a layer of breathability to the mattress and protect it from leaks, moisture, and mold.
When it comes to crib sheets, we think you and your baby will love Newton Baby’s Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets. They’re hypoallergenic, oh-so-soft, and the pre-shrunk, organic muslin cotton is 100% machine washable for the most hygienic sleep surface!
Stock Up On Meals
Once your little one arrives, you won’t have as much time or energy to think about cleaning or grocery shopping. And you’ll probably want to spend every spare minute with your sweet little one (or catching up on sleep!).
Get a head start on those first few weeks with your new baby by filling your fridge and pantry with the basics. Cooking a few meals and sticking them in the freezer is also a great way to get ahead.
Clean The House
Your future self will also thank you for doing a deep clean of the house right before your baby arrives. And don’t hesitate to hire someone or ask for help when you need it! Your health and safety are priorities.
5) Prepare Emotionally
Before your baby makes their arrival, your family needs to prepare emotionally to welcome this new one into the world, your home, and your family.
This goes for everyone: you, your partner, your children, and even your pets.
Prepare With Your Partner
Talk with your partner about what life will be like with the new addition to your family. Discuss the expectations that you have of one another and go over perspectives on parenting.
Share your fears and concerns as well as your excitement and joy. Make a plan for how you will support each other during the first few months with your new baby.
Prepare Your Children
Preparing for a second baby (or third, or fourth!) definitely includes preparing your other kids to welcome a new member of the family.
If you have other children, help them understand what it will be like to have a new baby in the family. Read books with them about being an older sibling, involve them in setting up the nursery, and explain what their day will look like when mommy goes to the hospital to have the baby.
Another way to get your little one used to having a baby around is to give them a special baby doll. Show them what it’s like to hold and care for an infant and let them practice!
You also need to prepare yourself! While you can’t possibly be ready for every emotion that parenthood will bring, remember to tackle the days with plenty of grace for yourself.
Realize now that there will be stressful and tiring days — don’t be too hard on yourself when those moments roll around.
Another thing you can do ahead of time is to figure out how to best relax, take care of yourself, and manage your emotions. When the hard moments come, fall back on a few minutes of yoga, deep breathing, or a quick rest on the couch.
Expert tip: Take advantage of the precious moments you have to rest by using a weighted blanket. These types of blankets are said to increase serotonin and decrease anxiety levels — just what you need both before and after baby comes!
Prepare Your Pets
If you have pets, they will also undoubtedly go through a transition period when your baby arrives. Start preparing them now by letting them spend time with your friends’ babies and enrolling them in obedience classes if needed.
You can also begin to make the necessary changes to your pet’s routine. For example, if the location of your furry child’s food and water will need to change so your baby can’t reach it, consider making the move now.
6) Prepare Relationally
For as much time as you will spend preparing physically and emotionally to be a parent to your little one, you’ll also want to spend time investing in your other relationships.
Preparing relationally can also include spending a fun afternoon with your friends, who will form an important part of your support system once you have a new baby on your hands.
Lastly, before the baby arrives, have honest conversations with friends and family members to discuss who you want to attend the birth and who will be helping with childcare or housekeeping.
You can’t avoid all conflict or any disagreements that may come up, but it’s important not to leave the important conversations for the last minute!
7) Prepare For The Birth
Childbirth can be a daunting task, especially if this is your first time around! While you’ll need to be flexible to face whatever your delivery brings, there are ways to prepare yourself ahead of time.
Take A Childbirth Class
Start a childbirth class early in your pregnancy, learn about the different stages of labor, and ask your doctor lots of questions so you can decide on pain management and create a birth plan.
Create A Birth Plan
Creating a birth plan consists of putting on paper what you want to happen during and immediately after your birth.
This not only helps you think through the process and the decisions you need to make, but it’s also a good way to fill everyone else in on the plan.
When you’re making a birth plan, the important thing to remember is that childbirth doesn’t always go exactly how you imagined! Even with a plan, you’ll need to be flexible on game day.
Here are a few things you can include on your birth plan:
- Basic contact information
- Basic health information
- Who you want in the delivery room
- Preferences during labor and delivery
- Preferences for newborn care
For more tips on how to create a birth plan, check out our article here.
Tour The Hospital
When your delivery day comes, you want to be as comfortable as possible. The fewer surprises the better! We recommend taking a tour of the hospital or birthing center to familiarize yourself with where you’ll be on the big day.
You can typically set up a tour with a simple phone call or visit to the hospital’s website. However, if your hospital or birthing center is not currently offering in-person tours, ask about a virtual tour.
Pack Your Hospital Bag
When you get close to your due date, pack your hospital bag and have important phone numbers on hand. You want to be ready to go on a moment’s notice.
Your hospital bag should include items for you as well as your baby. Your partner should also have a bag ready to go since they’ll be accompanying you on the journey!
Consider packing the following items:
- Clothes to wear during delivery
- A portable speaker
- Your favorite drinks
- Your pillow
- Glasses or contacts
- Nursing bras
- Underwear and pads
- A going-home outfit
- Cell phone chargers
- An eye mask and earplugs
- Clothes and swaddles for your baby
- Diapers and wipes
Get Ready To Welcome Baby
Having a baby is a big change, but it’s one of the best kinds of changes! It might feel like there’s a lot to do to get ready for your little one’s arrival, but with a bit of organization and planning, you’ll be ready before you know it.
Stay calm and prepare for the adventure one step at a time. Stock up on the nursery necessities (like a Newton Baby Crib Mattress); make a financial plan; choose your doctors; and prepare your home, heart, and family for your little one.
In no time, you’ll be ready and waiting to welcome your new baby into your family!