Getting ready for your baby’s arrival? It’s easy to overlook a few tasks, even important ones. Here are 9 things to do before the baby is born.
A few months. Maybe a few weeks. I was starting to panic because the baby would be here soon. I wasn’t sure I had everything in place, and I still had so many things to prepare.
The arrival of any baby, whether our first or fifth, can get downright chaotic. With the baby at home, we have less sleep and more duties. Our regular routine and chores get pushed to the back, and we’re still healing from childbirth.
Things to do before the baby is born
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That’s why it’s even more important to prepare before the baby comes. We’ll have more time to focus on tasks before the baby takes up most of it. Plus, some are tasks we’d need to get done even before bringing the baby home.
Take a look at these nine things you need to do before the big day:
Find your child’s pediatrician.
Your child’s first doctor’s appointment happens on his first day. His pediatrician will visit him in the hospital to examine him healthy enough to go home. You’ll also schedule what seems like nonstop appointments for the next several days to make sure your baby is growing fine.
So don’t leave finding your pediatrician to the last minute. The best place to look is through referrals. Ask your doctor for referrals, and double check these doctors are available on your insurance coverage.
Then, select a few to interview. Call their offices and ask to spend a few minutes to speak with the pediatrician and learn more about her. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- Do you take my insurance plan?
- What are your office hours? Can we still reach you during non-business hours for emergencies?
- Will you be available around my due date?
- What happens if you’re not available? Is there another pediatrician to cover for you?
- What hospital are you affiliated with? Will you be able to visit for the first-day check ups?
- Will you be the one to discharge us?
- What is your typical well-baby schedule?
- Are you able to do standard lab work or vaccinations in your office?
- What is the typical waiting time for a standard appointment?
- If my baby gets sick, will you be available for same-day appointments?
- How far in advance do we need to schedule well-baby appointments?
- What is your late or cancellation policy for appointments?
Choosing a pediatrician now will avoid the chaos of finding one at the last minute.
Buy and install the car seat.
The most important baby gear is, by far, the car seat. Without one, you can’t go home with your baby. Many stores offer huge discounts on car seats, so you can even time it to when they hold a sale or offer a coupon.
This is the car seat we bought, which strapped onto the base in the car as well as the stroller.
After you buy the car seat, learn how to install it properly in your car as well as how to securely and safely strap your baby in.
My husband and I hired a woman who taught us how to install our particular car seats into our car models. You can also ask your state highway patrol to check if you installed the car seat correctly.
Get your maternity leave paperwork processed.
I must have met with our HR staff a zillion times to understand the whole maternity leave process. Start early to get familiar with deadlines, payments, and requirements. Ask important questions, like:
- Am I eligible for the Family Medical Rights Leave Act (FMLA)?
- Does my state offer any Paid Family Leave or State Disability Leave?
- Does the company have a maternity leave policy?
- Who will be paying me during maternity leave? How will I receive my pay?
- What percentage of pay will I receive, and for which weeks?
- Do I need to use vacation or sick time? How many vacation or sick days do I have left?
- Will I continue to accrue vacation hours while on maternity leave? Will I continue to have benefits while on maternity leave?
- Will I continue to pay the premium while on leave? If so, how will I make payments?
- How will my maternity leave affect performance reviews and raises?
- When should I add the baby to my insurance policy?
- What happens if complications arise and I need to take more time off?
Order or make your baby announcements.
Back when I had more time, I used to make hand made cards. Our baby announcements were no different. About a month or two before I was due, I pre-made the cards, with only the baby photo and the birth details to fill in.
Gather your materials to make them, or look online for the ones you want to order. Come baby’s arrival, you can send these out much quicker and with less stress.
Gather bigger clothes.
In the early stages of pregnancy, you won’t need maternity clothes just yet. For now, begin to gather clothes that fit you loose or are a little larger. They’ll help tide you over until you outgrow them into maternity clothes.
And once you’re ready for maternity clothes, choose your current size. For instance, if you typically wear a medium, you’ll want to get a medium as well in maternity clothes.
That said, you can also size up, especially for tops. I found that some maternity tops fit well in the earlier stages of pregnancy but not so much during those last few months. Better yet, stick to loose tops instead of tight and hugging ones. Loose tops in general tend to be more versatile.
Finally, don’t store your maternity clothes once you deliver. After giving birth, you’ll shrink down to what you looked like when you were six months pregnant. Not exactly pre-pregnancy size. As you get slimmer, pull out your bigger clothes as you transition back into your regular ones.
Wash the baby’s clothes.
Wash several of your newborn baby clothes before he arrives. You’ll want to dress the baby in clean clothes in case he has sensitive skin or allergies. This includes both store-bought clothes as well as hand-me-downs. And use detergent specifically for babies, such as Dreft, or organic brands.
At the same time, don’t wash everything in case you don’t want or need them and would rather return them to the store.
Wash the crib sheets, changing pad covers, blankets, burp cloths and spit rags as well. Wash any new clothing or hand-me-downs you receive until your baby is one-year-old.
Prepare the nursery.
Get the baby’s room ready before he arrives! Start with the basics: order the crib and changing table. If you plan to paint the room, do so before assembling the furniture. Once you have the crib and changing table, get everything else ready:
Other non-essentials but good-to-have include:
Attend birth and first-aid classes.
Nothing can prepare you for being a first-time parent. That said, it’s still important to learn as much as you can, including attending classes to help you with baby care.
Most hospitals offer classes, from birth to first-aid to baby care. You’ll feel more confident with caring for your baby when you have information to rely on.
Take a hospital tour.
Schedule a tour of the hospital you plan to give birth in so you’re familiar with where to go come delivery time. And get familiar with different driving routes to the hospital. Rush hour or construction detours can throw you off!
Imagine constant pumping and not sleeping through the night. A baby crying inconsolably, and feeling too tired to do anything. Those first few weeks and months can be some of the most hectic. Get things in order now before the baby’s arrival to make the big day less stressful and more enjoyable.
Want to cover all your bases during pregnancy? Get my FREE printable checklist and make sure you have everything taken care of before the baby is born. Download it below:
Get more pregnancy tips:
- Preparing for Baby: How to Avoid the Clutter
- The Ultimate Mom to Be Guide: Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
- Baby Must-Haves that Will Make Your Life Easier
- Newborn Care Tips and Tricks for New Moms You’ll Be Glad You Read
- 25 Things to Do Before Your Baby Is Born
What else do you need to do before the baby is born?