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As soon as you find out you are pregnant, your whole life changes. The next 9 months pass in a whirlwind of worry and joy, and before you know it, it’s time to bring that sweet baby home. However, prepping for your baby's arrival is not all roses and rainbows. There are so many things to worry about and so many questions that run through your mind. “Will the labor be difficult? Will it hurt? Will the baby be healthy? Will I be a good mom?”
From preparing your home, to preparing your body and mind, these are things you need to do so that when your little one is ready to make an appearance, you are ready too. Or at least as ready as you can be! Keep reading for some of our best tips on getting ready for baby, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Preparing for a Newborn Physically
Granted, the female body is designed to change naturally to accommodate a growing baby, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of other things that need to be done in the physical realm. Things like:
Preparing Your Home
When your baby arrives, you will be spending most of your time caring for your new baby, with little time for yourself. A newborn is demanding. The best gift you can give yourself and your partner is a clean house before you go into labor. If you have a nursery, make sure that’s all setup and in order, too.
Pet-Proof Your Home
A baby’s arrival is an exciting time full of hustle and bustle. You’ll likely have friends and family stopping in quite a bit, plus the baby is someone unfamiliar. New people in the house can be shocking for family pets. To help, you can prepare your pets and your house beforehand.
That means installing any safety gate needed and making sure your pets have a designated space away from your newborn, at least temporarily. The goal is to keep your pets a safe distance from the baby until they get used to each other and keep them away from any friends and family they might not know well. Even beloved family pets can react poorly when they are stressed and anxious.
Prepare Plenty of Food
You won’t have a ton of time on your hands to cook. Nor will you feel like it with a newborn in the house. Make life easier and do some meal planning and cooking beforehand. You can cook up a variety of food for freezer meals that will be an easy fix later. You may also have friends and family that want to provide meals. If so, let them because new parents can use all the help they can get!
Do Your Laundry
This means the baby’s clothes too. A newborn’s skin is soft and sensitive, so to be safe it’s best to wash all new clothes and bedding items that you buy. You can also make sure all of your laundry is done too. That way you can relax as a family and not have to worry about clean clothes for a week or so.
Stock Up On Supplies
You may have all the newborn baby essentials you need because of friends and family if you had a baby shower. However, It’s also important to make sure you are using safe baby products. If you didn’t or you don’t have everything, you should get all your baby essentials well in advance. That includes necessities like:
Baby formula (unless you plan on breastfeeding)
Pack Your Hospital Bag
By your 9th month, your hospital bag should be packed and ready to rock, because you could go into labor any minute. You’ll want to include all the things you’ll want or need both during labor and after delivery. A short list of things to think about are:
Clothes for you and your partner
Outfit for the baby to wear home
Your birth plan
All necessary medical documents
Your phone and tablet
Camera and extra storage
Music to relax to
Something to read
Arrange for Extra Help
Even if there is no cause for concern, it's always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Arrange for extra help in case of any emergencies and save their phone numbers on speed dial. This is especially important if you have other children that you have to worry about.
Make Hospital Arrangements
Talk to your doctor about your birthing plan and any other medical requirements or requests. Make sure your car is gassed up and ready to go. Once those labor pains start you may not be able to stop. It’s also wise to keep a spare phone charger stashed somewhere, preferably in your car or hospital bag.
Preparing for a Newborn Mentally and Emotionally
Though physically preparing for a newborn is a great way to keep “busy” while waiting for your baby to arrive, preparing both mentally and emotionally is arguably much more difficult. Childbirth is a complicated experience, equal parts painful and stressful, and yet, in the end, you’re rewarded with the biggest joy and blessing of your life. Mental preparation and emotional preparation is key because it’s truly a monumental life change, this parenting gig. Below are some tips on helping you cope.
Connect to Inner Zen
Your mind and body are your biggest support during labor, but they both must be properly prepared. Keeping active can help your body prime for labor, while connecting to yourself and finding your inner zen can help prime your mind.
Yoga and meditation are great because they not only help you to focus on breath and movement, they also strengthen the body. Prenatal yoga in particular is designed to help open up your body while bringing you in tune with yourself.
Learn to Breathe
Breathing is key to fully relaxing. Shallow breaths only increase your heart rate, whereas deep and slow breathing tells your body and mind to slow down. Yoga and meditation can help with this too, teaching you how to regulate your breathing and take deep breaths.
Write your Birth Plan
Your birth plan describes the type of birth you want, including any pain relief medications, skin-to-skin contact directly after birthing, cord clamping time, and who you want present with you. You should however, expect to keep your plan flexible because you just never know what might happen during labor. Don’t be afraid to change your mind about something and speak up to your doctor.
Chat with Your Partner and Children
Older kids can sometimes feel ignored when a new baby comes into the family. To help them adjust to the change, it can be beneficial to give them an idea of what will be happening beforehand. This will give them time to process the information. Similarly, have a sit down with your partner and share any concerns you both may have. It’s important that you’re both on the same page on every aspect of your labor and delivery so that neither of you are blindsided while in the hospital.
Spend Time with Family
Spending time with the members of your family is always a nice distraction before having your baby. It gives everyone a chance to talk, to prepare, and to bond over the excitement of the newborns imminent arrival.
Talk to Experienced Mothers
Talking to mothers that are experienced will give you an idea of what to expect as your labor and delivery looms closer. Talk to your mother, share your worries, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. If you don’t have a mother any longer, you can befriend any person that’s gone through childbirth and they will have valuable experience that you can tap.
Once you’ve done all the prepping for the arrival of your baby, the only thing that’s left to do is rest. By resting you’ll be preserving your strength and energy and saving them for the labor and delivery room. Do your best to catch up on as much sleep as possible, because you might not get much for several weeks after the baby comes.
Remember, preparing for a newborn is no mean feat! In some ways, there’s really not any “preparing” at all. Most parents will say they weren’t ready to be parents, but look at them now! Life has a way of throwing us in the fire to test us. Becoming a parent isn’t that different.