How to Prepare For the Arrival of a Baby
Giving birth is one of the most painful experiences a woman can have. It’s certainly not one that women forget easily.
In spite of the changes that happen to a woman’s body during pregnancy or the excruciating pain of labor and delivery, mothers accept this challenge again and again. Bringing a new human into the world is an amazing experience. It’s worth suffering for.
It doesn’t all have to be hard. Friends and family members can pitch in to make preparations ahead of time. Preparing for childbirth and for bringing a new baby home can be as rewarding as it is challenging.
The real trick is to organize the home so that a mother-to-be feels calm and can connect with the growing baby. Creating a to-do list and following through with daily tasks protects her from being overwhelmed and keeps her healthy.
Tasks for the Mother and Father to do Ahead of Time
There’s a lot to do before giving birth. Besides getting the house in order, there are big ticket items to purchase and a myriad of small ones. Getting organized immediately when pregnancy is suspected is a good first move.
Here are some tips on how to plan and move forward a few months at a time:
When Pregnancy is Confirmed
- Get a good productivity app that can be shared with loved ones. It allows them to collaborate with the mother to get things done. Apps that combine to-do lists with the ability to comment are perfect because they allow others to check how the mother is feeling throughout the day.
- This is especially important if a woman experiences morning sickness. The first few weeks can be the toughest. Eating to feed the growing baby will be a top priority for the mother, but she may not feel up to cooking food. Use the app to create a rotating meal plan that is easy to prepare and provides good nutrition. The app could also be used for organizing and sharing grocery needs so that friends can do the shopping.
- Finding a doctor or professional midwife is the next step. It’s important to research the available medical help and visit caregivers to find one with a good bedside manner. Having the husband come with his wife to meet the doctor or midwife can ease her mind. It also helps the father stay connected with the little one as it grows.
- The first trimester is a good time for research and learning. Read books about human development. Learn about fitness routines that are safe for expectant mothers and watch videos on how to care for children. On the productivity app, organize lists of topics the mother would like to learn about and share them so that others can stay involved. The mom and dad might also consider planning for a birthing class they could take together.
- This is also a good time to go over the budget. Make a checklist of furniture items you’ll need, like a crib, rocking chair and changing table. Plan the amount that can be spent on these items and start looking ahead for deals.
- It’s also not too soon to start talking about possible names. The father and mother can use the app to share both boy and girl names that they like.
Halfway Through the Pregnancy
- Most likely, this is the time the new mama will feel the best while she’s carrying a child, so it’s a good time to get the nursery ready. Paint the walls, hang new curtains and buy the furniture. Make sure the light level will be comfortable for both the mother and infant and that the room will be warm enough.
- If there are older children, this is a good time to get them involved. Get their input on possible names. Let them make an announcement at school and shop for toys and blankets so they feel close to the baby, too.
- At this point, it’s a good idea to start gathering essential items like a car seat, stroller and diaper bag. Stock the changing table with small size disposable diapers, diaper wipes, and burp cloths.
- If the mama is planning to nurse her little one, this is a good time to look into buying a breast pump. If she’s not going to breastfeed the infant, research the various types of formula. This is a good time to buy bottles, nipples and a bottle brush.
- Consider throwing a baby shower. Most likely, close friends will have already offered to host one by now and planning the party is probably well underway. If not, use a to-do app to plan one yourself.
- By this time, the pregnant mother’s belly should be rounding, and her feelings of beauty might become an issue. Buy cute maternity clothes. They’re worth the cost.
- Finding a good position for sleeping can be difficult for an expectant mother. Invest some money in a good pillow that the mommy can put under the side of her belly at night. She’ll feel less crazy and overwhelmed if she gets plenty of rest.
- An ultrasound might happen around this time, and it might be possible to find out the gender. Knowing whether a girl or boy is coming makes it easier to get baby clothes ahead of time. This might be especially fun for the women who get to be the grandmothers.
- Make sure there’s insurance coverage prepared for the infant and for the birth. Check with the hospital or birthing center to pre-register the mother so things can go smoothly when she goes into labor.
- If the mother-to-be is working, look into maternity leave. Make arrangements ahead of time for a back-up person to cover her job when labor starts.
At the End of a Pregnancy
- Starting to look for a pediatrician now is a great idea. Ask a friend to recommend a doctor and visit with the caregiver before the little one arrives. If the caregiver is friendly and the parents feel comfortable, check about getting on the waiting list for new patients. While you’re there, ask about how to provide medical care for a young child.
- Gather all the info you can about how to care for babies, including how to wash them and how often to give them a bath. Learn what position you should lay your child when sleeping. Find out whether to tightly bundle the baby or loosely cover your newborn with a blanket.
- Pack a hospital bag. Include essentials like a hairbrush and toothbrush, comfortable sleepwear and skin care products.
- Tour the hospital or birthing center. Visit with the medical staff and get comfortable with the surroundings.
- If it’s possible, make your final decision on a baby name.
- The dad should start preparing to cut the cord and to be an emotional support during the birthing process. If the couple hasn’t yet taken a birthing class, now is the time.
- Prepare for postpartum recovery. Purchase feminine pads and other products to help the new mom stay healthy after giving birth.
- Enjoy the baby shower. By this time the pregnant woman might be low on energy and feeling emotional. Her closest community can provide daily support, but a special get-together could do wonders for her mood.
- Plan and prepare freezer meals in advance. Use the productivity app to create menus and gather recipes. Purchase the groceries, and while you’re in the store, stock up on paper plates and cups.
- Enlist the help of the women in the mother’s closest community for the first weeks following birth. Mommy and the baby will still be getting to know each other. There will be crying from both parties. Having loved ones around to do the cleaning and cooking while mother and baby bond is an immense support.
Daily Tasks for the Mother-To-Be
While a good productivity app can help plan and track preparations like the ones listed above, it can also help with important daily tasks that might slide when a mother-to-be feels frazzled. Use the app to track sleeping patterns and to remind the mother to eat, to exercise and to rest. It can also remind her to update her website or post pictures of her belly on Instagram so others can keep up as the baby grows.
What Friends Can Do
- Offers for help keeping up with the house matter to an overwhelmed mother-to-be. If it’s possible, assist with the shopping, cleaning and caring for other children.
- Host the baby shower. You can use the same app the mother uses to gather gift ideas and plan the party. Collaborate with other friends to shower her with gifts for the little one, parenting books, silly (or wise) parenting advice and items that help her feel pampered. These things matter.
For the mother, the father, and everyone in their closest community, the arrival of an infant is an emotional, sweet time of life. Staying organized and connected to each other enhances the joy.
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