Think of all the hours you’ve spent prepping for life’s milestones, like getting ready for school dances, studying for college exams, or organizing your wedding. Having a baby is one of the most significant moments that will require lots of preparation too.
It’s impossible to anticipate everything you’ll need to have and want to know by the time baby arrives. However, there are some things you can get ready in advance. Here are 11 clever ways to prepare for the newest member of your family.
11 Clever Ways To Prepare For Baby
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1. Know the Process
While you can’t control all aspects of the birthing process, you can learn about what’s likely to occur. Once you understand the basics, like the stages of labor, you can consider things like pain management or what to do if complications arise.
There are countless books as well as online sites devoted to pregnancy and birth (it’s even possible to watch videos of actual births!). You may want to take a class that will advise you on the type of birth that’s right for you (i.e. water birth, “natural” birth, c-section).
2. Teach Siblings
Gifting an older child with a baby doll a few months before baby’s due date may encourage the role of a big sibling. You can demonstrate how to care for the doll (diapering, feeding, putting to bed) so when you start to care for baby, the older child will recognize, understand and appreciate the actions.
3. Consider Pets
Believe it or not, your pet(s) appreciate consideration, too! For example, make sure you have a trusted pet sitter/dog walker lined up for the times you know you’ll be preoccupied with your littlest one. In particular, have someone on call for when labor hits and you really won’t be able to focus on anything other than baby’s arrival.
Other tips: Dogs get used to the new baby gear like the crib, stroller, and rocker. After baby is born, bring home a blanket with baby’s scent for the dog to get used to before baby comes home for good.
4. Pack a Bag
When contractions start heating up, you’re not going to want to think about packing for the hospital. Instead, pack a bag in advance and have it ready by the door when your due date is near.
5. Get Help
Even if you’re the type who likes to do everything on your own, you’ll appreciate having backup when you’re super tired, hormonal, or just craving space. Know in advance whom you can turn to for backup.
If you don’t have family or friends to rely on, check out babysitter services that specialize in newborn care. Ask your doctor for a recommendation if need be. If you’re worried about older children getting enough attention, consider hiring someone to look after them and take them out special outings, too.
6. Spread the News
Pick a day when you’ll share the news of your pregnancy with family, friends and co-workers. When it comes to the workplace, know what the maternity leave is like and organize any questions in advance.
7. Take Care of You
Now’s the time to do the things for yourself that you keep putting off like a haircut, a manicure, or even enjoy full day of pampering at home or at a spa. Once baby is here, you won’t be as flexible with your time and you probably won’t have the inclination to focus on anything other than your precious newborn.
8. Document the Changes
Remember the countdown to life with baby with pictures! Consider taking a monthly photo of your belly to record baby’s growth and your own body’s changes.
9. Food Prep
When you’re overtired and hungry, the last thing you’ll want to do is cook a complete meal. If you stock up your pantry and freezer before baby arrives, you won’t have to dream up or prepare meals. Frozen pizzas, frozen fruit for smoothies, individual entrees, soups and more can be stored for quite a long time in the freezer. As for the pantry, if you have canned goods, grains, pasta, oils and spices on hand, you can whip up something to eat with minimal effort.
10. Shop Wisely
The excitement, anticipation, and anxiety surrounding baby’s arrival can make us do impulsive things, like buy a ton of unnecessary junk we think we may need – and then buy some more. To avoid spending too much money and filling your house with stuff that’s just going to gather dust in the corner, create a budget and make a list of the must-haves and research the best baby gear. Be sure to plan for incidentals and emergency purchases.
11. Write it Down
Create a journal to record your physical and emotional feelings during the 9 months of your pregnancy. Add illustrations, your own doodles, or photos that highlight whatever’s going on with you at this time. Be sure to have this nearby on the day of the birth so you can document your first moments as a mom.
When baby grows up, you’ll have fun sharing this journal and talking about all that has happened since those early days (including what went according to plan and otherwise!).
12. Get Ready For Joy
Without a crystal ball, you can’t know what’s going to happen during the days leading up to your baby’s arrival. However, there are some steps you can take now to prepare for the newest member of your family. By taking time now to get a few things in order, you’ll free up your schedule and your mind to focus on the joy that’s to come.
Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in writing and SEO, based in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. You can find her blogging over at Tiny Fry.
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