If you are expecting a new baby soon, it is natural to feel a combination of excitement and anxiety. You have been waiting to meet your baby for a long time, and even if this is not your first, every birth is unique so there is no way to be sure about exactly what is about to happen. What you can do is make some necessary preparations, which will reduce the potential for worry or stress when the day of the birth finally arrives. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the arrival of your new bundle of joy, so you can focus on enjoying this wonderful time rather than worrying about the practicalities.
Finalize your birth plan
You have probably been thinking about you birthing plan for some time, but if you have not put the plan into writing, now is the time to do so. This might include details such as where you would prefer the birth to take place, the pain relief you would like, being able to cut the umbilical cord, and having skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after the birth. Of course, it’s essential to remember that it is not always possible for the midwife or doctors to stick to the plan if it is not in the best interests of you or the baby, so the plan needs to be a best-case scenario with some flexibility.
Talk about the birth plan with your birthing partner
If you have a partner who will be involved in the birth, whether they are the father of the baby or friend/family member, it is best to talk to them about the labor and what you would like from them in terms of support. You might also want to talk to friends and family about how they can support you in the weeks following the birth.
Get advice from other moms
Try to speak to other moms to ask any questions you have about giving birth and/or the early weeks with a new baby. If you do not have any women in your life who have given birth, there are numerous friendly online forums and support groups where you can learn from the experiences of others.
Get your home kit ready
If you do not already have your cot, changing mat, stroller, car seat, diapers, clothes, and all the other essentials you will need, now is the time to complete your baby shopping list. You may even be able to save money by using Buy Buy Baby coupons and/or buying diapers in bulk.
It’s also a good idea to wash any new clothes or bedding with non-biological detergent to prevent the baby’s skin becoming irritated.
Make time for any existing children
When a new baby arrives, older children can become unsettled by the change as they will have to share the spotlight with a new sibling. Try to spend some quality time with them to reinforce your bond and answer any questions they may have. You can explain to them how much care a baby needs, that it does not mean you love them any less, and that they have a big role to play in looking after their little brother or sister.
Think about pets
Pets can also end up feeling displaced by a new baby, and it is important that you take care to show the pet that the baby’s arrival is a positive change. For example, if you have a dog, find out about how to introduce it to a new baby.
You also need to ensure that your pets cannot get into the room where the baby sleeps and that you do not leave the baby unattended with the animals.
Pack a bag for the hospital
Labor can start at any time from when you are 36 weeks pregnant, so pack a bag full of essentials for you and the baby, such as clothes, overnight toiletries, diapers, etc. You could also choose your baby’s first ever outfit that they will come home in.