Preparing for Baby: Sweat the Small Stuff

preparingforbabyFrom installing outlet covers to getting a car seat to figuring out day care options for after the baby comes, preparing for a new child is all about sweating the details. The planning should start as soon as you find out about the pregnancy and continue for about 18 more years, just to be on the safe side. If you want to truly be prepared for when the baby first arrives home, check out this course on bringing baby home that will help you with the first 6 months of the baby’s life.

While this all sounds quite stressful, and it is, this is a challenge that should be met with excitement. There are probably many more details to deal with than either of the parents ever would have thought possible. In addition to our article, there is a wealth of knowledge in bookstores, the Internet and other parents who have done this exact same thing. Try not to stress out too badly, and good luck with this exciting event!

Preparing Your House

You want your home to be both safe and comfortable for your new baby and there’s a lot of planning and shopping that will go into this process. Hopefully you can get a lot of this stuff from friends and family during the baby shower or from hand-me-downs from other parents whose kids outgrew clothes and toys. This course on baby-proofing your house will help you prepare your home for your new baby, and let’s go over some of the most important tips now:

Babyproofing the House

  • Make sure the baby’s crib is safe. Avoid soft bedding in the crib – of it’s too soft, it could lead to suffocation. Also, make sure the slats in the crib are 2 3/8 inches apart or less so their head doesn’t get trapped.
  • Make sure all small toys, balloons, balls, etc. are far away from the crib. These may pose a choking risk.
  • Don’t put the crib next to a window. The cords from blinds can be dangerous and if the window breaks, glass could injure the baby.
  • Use toy chests without lids or ones that have lids that prop open so the child doesn’t get hurt or trapped.
  • Install locks on anything that can be potentially dangerous: the toilet, cabinets, drawers, etc.
  • Unplug all electrical devices and hide them until they are needed. Also, install outlet covers so the baby doesn’t get shocked.
  • Make sure all sharp edges and corners are properly cushioned.
  • Keep anything poisonous out of reach. Household cleaners, medications and anything with a skull and crossbones on it should be kept locked up.
  • Set your hot water heater to a maximum of 120 F so that your child can’t burn themselves.

Buying Furniture and Accessories Checklist

  • A safe car seat that’s been federally approved and safety tested
  • Bottles and nipples for milk
  • Baby monitor
  • Crib or basinet
  • Diaper bag with diapers, blanket, change of clothes, plastic bag for soiled diapers, wash cloth or baby wipes
  • Diaper pale for cloth diapers
  • Changing table
  • Breast pump
  • Stroller
  • Pacifiers

Preparing Your Body

Pregnancy and childbirth put an incredible strain on a woman’s body but there are ways to prepare for the rigors of childbirth. It can also be scary, especially for first-time mothers.

  • Try taking yoga. This pregnancy yoga course will help you stay healthy along with your baby and prepare you for labor as well as help keep you fit after the birth.
  • See your doctor regularly. You’ll probably be seen once a month during the first and second trimesters. Starting at about 28 weeks, you’ll go every two weeks and then weekly from 36 weeks until you deliver. Women at higher risk of complications require more-frequent checkups.
  • Exercise and eat healthy. This nutrition program will keep you fit and feeling great. If you take care of your body during pregnancy, it will take care of you afterwards.
  • Figure out what kind of pregnancy you want to have. Will you want a natural childbirth (no medication) or will you take drugs for the pain, will you do it at home or in the hospital? There are many options these days for women; pick the one that’s best for you.

Miscellaneous

These are the things that fall through the cracks. They may seem small but if planned properly, will make this process that much easier.

  • Prepare an overnight bag for the hospital. It should contain: paperwork (insurance info, birth plan, hospital forms); warm socks; a robe; slippers; maternity bras; lip balm; toiletries; cell phone and charger; lozenges or candy; reading material. Don’t forget stuff for the baby, too – a child seat, coming home outfit, blankets to stay warm, etc.
  • Hire a doula (a woman who is trained to assist during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born), midwife (another type of childbirth assistant), or any other people to help with the pregnancy and birth.
  • Take classes to prepare you for parenthood and childbirth: breastfeeding class, newborn care class, etc.
  • Check into a cloth diaper service. This option may be cheaper than disposable diapers and is definitely a “greener” option.
  • Take a tour of the hospital so you will feel comfortable when the big day finally comes.
  • Arrange for a ride to the hospital if you don’t have a car.
  • Learn as much as you can about the whole pregnancy and birthing process. Be an active participant so that you can be as prepared as possible for the occasion.

Hopefully we were able to help just a little and set your mind at ease in this stressful but joyous time. While it is important to prepare for the baby beforehand, once he or she rears their little head, it will all fall by the wayside and you’ll just be focused on the tiny new person in your house and you will do your best to make them happy and safe. For tips on keeping your new baby happy after getting home, this resource on keeping your baby happy will  show you how to calm your little one during their first months and years of life.