Preparing for a new baby can be a really big job. It can seem overwhelming and with pregnancy brain, it can seem like you are going to forget something… something important. So if you are wonder what you need or how to prepare for a new baby, I am working on and have compiled a 28 day checklist on how to prepare for a new baby to make sure you get everything done and don’t forget even the smallest detail.
It doesn’t matter if you start this list the moment you find our you are pregnant or later in pregnancy, but it’s definitely a helpful guide in helping you and your significant other prepare an environment while also preparing mentally and emotionally for the little newborn that’s about to enter your life.
Below you will find the first five steps or first five days in the 28 day (4 part) series. Find all of my pregnancy and newborn resources and go through the checklist to help you plan the pregnancy, birth, and newborn experience that suits you and your family best. Whether you are a first time mom or a veteran parent, it should be something to help everyone as I am compiling it now with my second child.
What do I need to do before giving birth?
Take a class/classes to ensure you and your partner are ready for labor
Personally, we did the Bradley Method as we wanted to not only try for a natural childbirth, but I wanted my husband to be as prepared as I was. In the end, when our first daughter was born, even though we had an emergency cesarean I have always said that we could not have done half of what we accomplished without going through the Bradley Method.
Even if you just go to a single day workshop at your hospital or with your midwife, anything is better than not being prepared at all. Take notes, keep a journal, and prepare as much as you can physically and emotionally for the wonderful even you’re about to experience.
Assemble a birth team & outline expectations
Know who will be a positive encourager and who maybe does not speak rainbows. Ok so maybe not rainbows, but really. Be honest with yourself and know what you need in your labor and if someone in your life is known to be a little more negative rather than affirm, it might be best to leave them off your birth team.
Obviously you should have a midwife and/or OBGYN on your team and maybe even consider a doula. Statistics show especially in hospital births that doulas can play an important part in getting you as close as possible to your desired labor and birth experience. She’s your advocate and that’s so important! And if you can’t afford a doula, think of who else might be great to fit this role.
For me, we did the Bradley Method so that my husband could be my number one advocate and support. Because for me he is the only one I want in the room other than my midwife team.
Know what you want. Write out your expectations. Have a go-to resource of all the things you need.
Not only is pregnancy brain a completely real thing, it’s great to have a portable system with you. You can keep copies of doctor visits, notes from childbirth classes, and printables from online in it. In fact, if you followed along my weekly pregnancy class reviews, you saw that I have several free printables including birthing positions that help with specific types of pains. That’s stuff you don’t want to have misplaced when you go into labor!
Having a birth plan, especially in a hospital setting, is going to help everyone know your expectations. It’s actually great to have on hand, signed in case something happens like your child was given a vaccine that you clearly stated you didn’t want or maybe you were given an a medication that you clearly asked not to receive. No matter the case it’s really a vital tool to have with you… and multiple copies.
At my daughter’s birth I had both my regular one and one for if I needed an emergency cesarean (I knew this might be a real possibility going into the situation). My nurses all stood around reading it and any time a new nurse came in, they were directed to the birth plan.
Research & outline your desires for baby after birth
Do you want to vaccinate? Do you want to administer Vitamin K? Is it ok for you to be given a sedative or do you want to spend time with your child? Can your child leave the room with a nurse or will a parent be present at all times?
Those are just some things to consider as you are researching and writing our your birth plan. Your desires for labor and delivery are important, but so are your desires for once your child(ren) get here so just don’t forget those steps!
Make a Contingency Plan
Complications can happen even for low risk women. The unexpected can always arise. For instance, I was in a car accident at 9 months pregnant with my daughter. We found out she was frank breech because of that and my doctor was only willing to schedule a c-section. I had no contingency plan and this meant scrambling to find a new provider ans switching at 38 weeks.
Know who is in your area. Have an alternate birth plan if you need it. BUT always think positively and know that they are just plan B’s in case you need them.
Find a community of local moms
I didn’t really do this with my daughter. Now I feel like I am a mom without a village or community. It is SO hard to make mom friends or to break into circles of moms and feel connected. Looking back, I wish I would have sought out other pregnant moms and local moms groups just so that I wouldn’t feel so alone. I did find a milk moms breastfeeding support group soon after birth, but that was more for my breastfeeding sanity than for close-knit community.
Keep an exercise and nutrition accountability journal
Pregnancy is like a marathon and even if you start training late, any physical and dietary training is better than none! Work on improving your nutrition by providing the necessary amino acids, proteins, and more to help give yourself engery and help your sweet baby grow. Follow some sort of guideline like the Brewer Diet to help give you an outline. Keep track of what you eat, the supplements you take, the water you drink, and the exercises you do. Writing it all down and calculating it all is great motivation to either do better or keep up the good work!