We all know to have clothing and other essentials ready early for the arrival of our babies, but here is a highlight of a few that most parents (I'm guilty as well) forget to do as part of the preparation process.
- Remind your out-of-town family to pack a "hospital bag" too. Okay, although it's not quite a hospital bag, it's still a bag they should pack if they plan to stay and enjoy new baby and parents for a few days. It's good to have this bag readily accessible so that they can just pick up and go if the baby decides to comes out of the schedule. Chances are, they just may. The BBC reported that there is only a 4% chance for the baby coming on the due date. They are more likely not to come on the due date if it's the first baby for the mom. I and my family got caught off guard a many times before - finding out a loved one is going into labor and we have nothing packed. It can slow your travel plans down by hours or even a whole day, and greatly increases the chances of you forgetting something. Avoid all that and tell your family to get their bag(s) ready.
- Arrange for an emergency pet sitter. You never know when the baby is coming, so knowing that you already have arrangements for the other member(s) of your house gives an added peace of mind.
- Sleep. This seems automatic, but you'd be surprised how many people don't try to get adequate sleep before the baby arrives. The excitement and planning of it all can be overwhelming, but you cannot forget to take care of yourself first. You'll get very little sleep once your LO arrives and it's easier to deal with post-baby sleep deprivation if you've made great efforts to get the appropriate amount of sleep in the time leading up to the birth
- Install your car seat and set up your crib. If you're not good at doing this, purchase your crib from a company that offers free set up on site, or have someone you know either help you or do it for you. I had a bassinet for my son during the phase I worried about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), but moved him to the crib in his own room because I was not interested in being a co-sleeper for years to come. I was happy that the crib was up and ready, because my husband had encountered missing parts during their set-up process that they needed to go and find. Had they waited until after the baby was there, it could've prolonged the wait for weeks. The car seat was much easier to install, as we used the Keyfit30; but my husband had this already setup so that all we needed to do was walk out of the hospital and go. It decreased the number of things for us to worry about and should be something you should think about doing as well.
- Discuss with your spouse/partner the important decisions you'll have to make. At the hospital, the doctors will give you options on whether to administer certain medicines or preventative shots. Research and/or ask your medical providers beforehand the purpose for, and side effects of each of them so that you can make the best decision for your family without hastily making a last-minute decision.
- Make primary and secondary plans for feeding. By the third trimester, most of us have settled upon a primary decision, and then we just make plans for that. But we can forget that situations can arise that don't allow for us to continue down that original path. While planning is very beneficial, and is recommended, we will not have total control over every aspect, as I wrote in my previous post. This is where the alternative plan comes in handy. I'd previously made the plan to breastfeed and I drank teas and made other preparations to ensure my milk came in, but when I had to have an emergency C-section, my milk just didn't come in enough to satisfy my son, so we were then presented with the question from hospital staff, "What type of formula is your preference?" Because I remembered what formula my mother used for us when we were babies, I simply decided upon that brand, but if you aren't familiar with a brand, then the hospital will give your baby what they themselves decide- which may or may not be to your liking. Avoid that by having an alternative available, and maybe even having it in the hospital bad just in case they don't carry it. I knew that since I had sensitive skin, and my husband had a sensitive stomach, I might have needed to have something formulated for sensitive tummies ready just in case my son couldn't take the original version the hospitals provide. It came in handy when we found that indeed he did.
Having a plan doesn't mean things will go as planned, but having an alternative provides a better scenario for you and your partner should things present themselves as atypical. Making sure you take care of yourself is one of the biggest lessons I've learned as a mom. You cannot take care of your baby sufficiently if you are not well yourself. Get your sleep, get your nutrition, and make prepare yourself where you can.
*Visit us for our next post on Walt Disney World with a Toddler****