When it comes to prepping for childbirth, your to-do list could probably look more like a book. Your head may be swimming with birth plans, breast pump options, and babywearing methods, but take a moment and breathe. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some of the top 10 things you should focus on in your baby prep. And remember that everything will sort itself out, and pretty soon all that will matter is the new baby you’ll be holding in your arms!
1. Confirm all details of your maternity leave or PTO.
Triple check this if you have to, because nothing can pull you out of your new baby bliss faster than a call with your company’s HR. Your doctor may have to provide confirmation of your delivery date and/or type of birth to your benefits provider, so make sure that all parties are in sync before the big day. Set up your Out Of Office email response, then let it go!
2. Make some freezer meals.
Hopefully, friends and family will bring you food after baby is born, but it never hurts to have varied options ready to go in the freezer. Delivery nurse and mom of 4, Karrie Locher, has some great options on her blog Karing For Postpartum.
3. Select a pediatrician.
You may not choose to go so far as interviewing dozens of options, but you will want to select a pediatrician before delivery. And don’t take for granted that your chosen doctor will be available. Call the office in advance to confirm that he or she is seeing new patients, and can accept your baby into their practice. You may want to go ahead and get your insurance on file and confirm where you will be delivering. You’ll have a check-in with a pediatrician a few days after your baby is born at the pediatrician’s office, and the doctor (or someone else from their group) will also visit you and baby in the hospital.
4. Do last minute laundry.
Don’t worry about getting your favorite silk dress dry cleaned just yet, but make sure you have lots of clean pajamas and lounge clothes on hand. The last thing you’ll want to do in the early days is worry about laundry, so at least make sure you have some of the essentials ready to go. Many people also wash baby clothes, especially newborn clothes, before baby wears them. If you do so, opt for a fragrance and dye-free detergent to reduce the risk of irritation or an allergic reaction.
5. Pack your hospital bag.
This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but pack your hospital bag earlier than you think you might need to. As you get closer and closer to 40 weeks, you may find your due date sneaking up on you, so it’s better to knock it out sooner. Not sure what to pack? Read our post on It’s also a good idea to go ahead and install that car seat well in advance!
6. Make an “after care” bathroom caddy.
The key word of your postpartum recovery is going to be “convenience.” You’ll want everything easy and in close reach. Consider creating a bathroom caddy with postpartum essentials like a peri bottle, a pain-relief spray like Dermoplast, and even some deodorant wipes for those days you just can’t seem to fit in a shower. Your “essentials” will vary depending on your delivery type. If you’re unsure about having a vaginal delivery or a C-Section, you may want to be prepared for both!
7. Take time for yourself!
Go shopping alone. Get your nails done. Go to a movie sans partner. You won’t likely be able to embark on these simple indulgences for a while once baby comes, so get them in while you can. Many couples take “babymoons” before the big day, but solo time is even more elusive once you bring a new life into the world. “Solomoon” in peace and quiet for a day if you need to!
8. Make birth plans A, B, and C.
Some say, “write a birth plan, then throw it out the window.” If you still truly want to be prepared, write your “ideal” birth plan, plan A, then plan for some additional twists and turns. You don’t have to think through every single possible birth scenario, but you may want to at least think through some of the most likely ones. For example, if you’re really set on having a vaginal birth, at least have a rough sketch of a C-Section birth plan so that you’re not totally caught off guard if that becomes the ideal course of action.
9. Set up child and/or dog care.
More than likely, you will not know the exact day that you’re going to deliver, so this planning can be a bit tricky. Talk to any potential baby, house, or dogsitters as early as possible to ensure they have flexibility around your due date. Ideally, family can pitch in here, but if not, you’ll also want to set aside the proper funds for any paid sitters. And always plan for them to stay longer than you think you’ll need them, because you may end up with an extended hospital stay.
10. Ask your doctor about Labor Guard.
As you’re writing your birth plans A, B, and C, consider adding in Labor Guard. Talk to your doctor in advance of your due date to ensure that it can be available for your delivery. Using Labor Guard can help decrease your risk of delivery-induced hemorrhoids, so your postpartum self will thank you.