When you’re in the home stretch of your pregnancy, it may feel like you’re just passing the time until the baby finally comes. Although you’re probably tired and the pregnancy symptoms have taken their toll on your energy levels, use the last of your precious time wisely by following these 10 tips for preparing for baby.
1. Practice driving to the hospital
Hopefully, you won’t be driving yourself to the hospital, so get your husband on board to figure out the best route for different times (avoiding rush hour, etc.) so that if your labor comes quickly, you’ll know exactly which route to take. Along these lines, make sure to pre-register so that the hospital will expect you when it’s go-time.
2. Find out what you need to do to add your baby to your health insurance
There is usually a “grace period” after the baby is born during which procedures that are done for your baby are covered by your insurance policy, but you’ll need to add your baby’s information to your health insurance policy quickly after birth to ensure other procedures and appointments are covered. Look this up ahead of time and know exactly who to call and what information to provide to make sure that your baby is covered.
3. Pre-arrange a babysitter for your other children (and pets) if necessary
If you don’t have family nearby and you go into labor in the middle of the night, what will you do with your other children? Figure this out ahead of time by securing a trusted neighbor or friend that is willing to be on-call should you find yourself in labor at 3 AM. Similarly, make sure that you have someone also on-call who is willing to care for your pets when you go into labor, as it could be days before you or your partner make it home to feed them or let them out, and you don’t want to have to scramble in the hospital to make sure they’re taken care of.
4. Stock your kitchen
There’s nothing worse than coming home after a trip to an empty fridge and cupboards. Except coming home from the hospital after having a baby to an empty fridge and cupboards. So make sure that you keep your kitchen stocked with your favorite snacks and beverages in addition to any freezer or make-ahead meals you have planned. Also, it’s a good idea to stock up on disposable dishes, cups, etc. as well so nobody has to worry about dishes.
5. Prepare your postpartum wardrobe
Although many women prefer to wear maternity clothes for a while after birth while their uterus continues to contract and go down and their body adapts to its non-pregnant state, you will still need some postpartum pieces to make this period of time go by smoother. These include nursing bras, underwear you don’t care to throw away, and comfy lounge clothes. You probably won’t have a chance to go clothes shopping for a while after the baby is born and don’t want to wait for shipping, so make sure to do this ahead of time.
6. Get your carpets cleaned
Tummy time starts pretty much immediately after the baby comes home, and it will be difficult once the baby arrives to have them cleaned so schedule professional cleaners to come before the baby is expected so that the carpets are clean and fresh for that sweet little baby to begin learning about the world around him/her.
7. Pick a pediatrician
If you don’t pick one ahead of time, one will often be assigned to you. Take the time to research pediatricians in your area and choose one ahead of time for your baby. Ask friends, look online, ask in mom groups, do some visits to offices, etc. to make sure you’re comfortable with whom you trust with your baby’s care.
8. Decide where your baby will sleep when first coming home
You’ve likely been in your nesting phase for a while and set up your baby’s nursery, but babies don’t usually even sleep in their nursery until 6 months of age. So think about the most convenient place for the baby to sleep in your room during those first few months. Get a bassinet or other safe sleeping spot for your baby setup ahead of time so that when they come home they already have a safe, comfortable place to rest close to mama.
9. Clean your car
Another one many people don’t think of is cleaning out their car. This probably dropped on your priority list as you got further along in pregnancy as it can be difficult to bend over and vacuum your car when moving gets more difficult and your belly grows. But recruit your husband or professionals to get your car spick and span before the baby arrives. It will be more difficult to do once the baby is here and once you add even more baby gear to the mix of things you begin hauling around in your car, you’ll find it gets cluttered quicker than before and more difficult to keep it clean.
10. Make sure the car seat is installed properly
Last but certainly not least is to not only install the car seat but to have it checked that it’s installed properly. This is something many people forget or neglect to do, but a properly installed car seat can be the difference between life and death. You can have it checked by a technician with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for free at any of their child safety-seat safety inspection stations, which you can find on their website here.
Was there anything you did to prepare for the arrival of your baby that was particularly helpful?