Preparing For Baby

As due dates draw near, the excitement over baby’s arrival builds, and parents begin to turn their thoughts towards specific baby preparations. While some parents are hesitant to begin baby preparations before the actual birth of their child, other parents scramble to have every last detail in place before the arrival of their bundle of joy. It seems that many experienced parents favor the latter of the two strategies subscribing to the belief that when it comes to babies, "the best defense is a good offense." Having things in order can lessen new parents’ feelings of being overwhelmed by their new responsibilities, and allows more time and energy to be spent on the actual care of their newborn… not to mention more opportunities to sneak in some well-deserved parental naps! Preparations for baby can take place gradually over a period of time, and should begin whenever parents feel comfortable with the idea. However, don’t forget that some babies do arrive earlier than expected! Well thought out baby preparations can help make a smoother transition both mentally and physically into the wonderful world of parenthood.

Baby Preparation Guide

This Baby Preparation Guide has been designed to help parents in their quest to get organized, and includes a variety of items that should be considered before baby’s arrival.

  1. Get plenty of rest and proper nutrition! Running yourself into the ground trying to prepare for baby will actually defeat your purpose. Pamper yourself now so that you will be able to best take care of your baby’s needs later.


  2. Make important medical decisions and preparations. Spend some time interviewing potential pediatricians; discussing and researching birthing options with your doctor; visiting the maternity ward of your hospital; taking educational classes such as Lamaze or baby CPR/safety courses; contacting your health insurance provider in order to complete any required paperwork; pre-registering at your hospital.


  3. Pack your hospital bag! The last thing you want to be doing is feverishly throwing together your things in a mad dash to the hospital. Once again, it is important to remember that babies don’t always follow schedules!


  4. Purchase or borrow essential baby equipment. Make sure that all items meet current safety standards. Hospitals will not allow you to take your baby home without having a government-approved car safety seat, so this tops the list of baby equipment necessities. At a minimum, your baby will need a place to sleep (either a crib with crib mattress, bassinet or cradle), a place to be changed or dressed on, essential toiletries (such as diapers and medicine chest supplies) and feeding equipment and formula (if not breastfeeding).


  5. Consider and discuss with your doctor feeding options for baby. If you are planning to breastfeed, it is advisable to do some reading on the subject to help you get a smooth start and assist you in purchasing or renting any accessories you may need. Hospital lactation specialists are also available to assist you after the birth of your child. If you plan to bottle feed, you may discuss recommended feeding equipment and formula with your doctor. Nipples and bottles will also need to be sterilized before using.


  6. Purchase and wash layette items. Remember that babies grow very rapidly especially in the first few months so keeping layettes simple and flexible is advisable. Clothing should be washed before baby’s arrival in detergent made especially for babies. Read all garment labels, especially sleepwear, before laundering.


  7. Complete purchasing or borrowing of baby equipment and accessories. You may wish to make a baby registry list of need items for your own purposes or for baby shower ideas. Other baby equipment and accessories you will need can include: crib linens, bumpers, blankets and waterproof pads; diaper bag; diaper pail; baby carrier; toiletries and medicine chest supplies; playpen; bathing pad or tub; stroller. Complete nursery assembly and decorations.


  8. Select a name for baby if you haven’t already done so. Several good books are available in libraries and bookstores on the subject. You may wish to have both boy and girl options just in case, and keep a few second place names waiting in the wings should you change your mind at the last minute.


  9. Prepare siblings for the new arrival. Many hospitals provide excellent programs on sibling preparation that help big brothers, sisters and parents cope with the upcoming family changes.


  10. Get educated! Once again, "the best defense is a good offense." There are many wonderful books available to new parents which provide the advice and reassurance needed to make the challenges of caring for a new baby less stressful and more enjoyable.