Welcoming a new baby is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life, especially if you’ve struggled to conceive. Besides the changes your body will experience in order to prepare for your growing baby, there are some additional preparations you’ll want to make during these next months.
Bringing a baby home requires having a lot of supplies on hand that are ready to be used as soon as your return home from the hospital. Utilizing a checklist of newborn essentials can help you have some peace of mind by simply knowing you have all the necessities readily available.
Once you have all the items you need, make sure that they’re ready to be used as soon as you need them. This means washing your baby’s clothes in gentle laundry detergent made for a newborn’s sensitive skin, as well as washing any bottles and pacifiers ahead of time.You’ll also want to assemble and install the crib, highchair, stroller and carseat as soon as you receive them; this way there will be no delay when trying to get to the hospital.
Remember, you do not have to be responsible for purchasing every single item yourself. Be sure to create a registry with some of these essentials, as well as some gift ideas for new parents and babies that’ll make the transition into parenthood easier.
It’s important to make sure that your baby’s room is ready when you bring them home for the first time. This will take some time and planning, so you’ll want to get started early on in your pregnancy. Some people will want to wait until they know their baby’s gender so they can create a more gender-specific themed nursery, while others will opt for a more gender-neutral room.
If you want a more specific design, have a plan in mind for either gender. This way you can begin to enact that plan as soon as you find out. Whereas for something more neutral, you can begin at anytime and should start preparations as early as possible to be sure that everything will be ready on time. Either way, work with a nursery checklist to confirm that you have all the essentials. Planning and putting together your baby’s nursery as early as possible will not only ensure it’s ready for when you come home from the hospital, but offers other benefits as well.
Painting the room early ensures that any and all paint fumes will have subsided well before you bring a newborn into the room. Also, having a baby later in life can come with some health risks, so you’ll want to be extra careful later on in your pregnancy. Having everything completed while you still can actively participate will help ease your mind and lower any additional stress.
Having a baby is expensive and you want to do absolutely everything you can in advance to financially prepare for the arrival of your new baby. Getting your finances in order can mean a few different things, but it can also make a huge difference when it comes to welcoming a new addition to your family.
The first thing you’ll want to do is set any and all extra money aside to create an emergency fund. Using this emergency fund can provide leverage for any unfortunate or unexpected event to occur. From there you can create a budget to help you navigate parenthood and all of the extra expenses that come with it.
Next, you’ll want to take a look at your living situation. If you don’t already own a home, there is no better time to make the move since you’re already in a state of transition. Doing so after the birth of your newborn can make the buying process even more stressful than it already is, so do yourself a favor and begin the process during this preparatory time. Be sure that you know the minimum credit score to buy a house and what your credit score qualifies you for. After that, you can work toward getting pre-approved for a loan and begin looking for your perfect family home.
Pregnancy is an awe-inspiring experience that shows you how much your body is capable of. However, it can also take its toll on you. Throughout the entirety of your pregnancy, you will want to take steps to make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared. Your baby’s health is tied directly to your own. Therefore you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay physically healthy.
Society is beginning to talk more about the mental impacts of pregnancy, however these conversations are usually about postpartum mental health. It is imperative that you look after your mental well-being during all stages of your pregnancy. Be open and honest with those surrounding you about how and what you’re feeling. Do not be afraid to ask for their help when you need it. Being prepared yourself and looking after all aspects of your personal health will help you be the best parent to your new baby that you can be.
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
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