Preparing for babys arrival

Congratulations, baby is on the way! So now what? The thought of soon having a sweet little person to care for may feel more than a little daunting if you’ve never done this before. How do you even begin to prepare? You may be collecting advice and information from family and friends who have been there and are happy to share what they know and what they wish they’d known before.

A few tips of what to do before baby arrives:

Have a birth plan

Consider what kind of birth experience you want, what your plan is for pre-labor and labor, and write it down in as much detail as you can. If you have no idea how to begin with this, do some research. Consider also taking a child birthing class, especially if you plan for a natural childbirth. Most classes will prepare you and your partner with helpful techniques and advice for when the time arrives. They can also be a great support group, sounding out experiences and lessening anxiety, celebrating with you and potentially providing an abundance of play-dates down the road. After deciding on your ideal birth plan, consider Plan B and Plan C. Know what you want, but consider also that you may need to be flexible and it’s better to know what you want beforehand.

Gather the nest

For some, baby showers are not traditional prior to baby’s arrival. In any case, be it for pre or post-birth gifts, get your baby registry ready. Ask a knowledgeable friend if you have left off anything essential. Some items may be essential to you, but not to others and vise-versa. So again, do your research and make a plan. Consider what sleeping arrangements you want. Do you want an attached bedside basket or a crib? Will you want glass bottles or plastic or any at all? Do you want disposable diapers or cloth or both? Decide as best you can now. It’s possible your baby may decide differently, but that you won’t know until you experience your unique bundle of joy.

Clean your nest

As your due date approaches, do your best to keep your living space clean. If you’re having your baby at home, you’ll want a clean space in which to give birth. If you’re bringing your baby home from the hospital, you’ll want to bring him or her to a clean home. This is not just for the health of the baby, but also for your own well-being. A clean home feels good. It is welcoming and comfortable and will support your ability to extend this welcome and feeling of comfort to your little one. It is also good to start with a clean slate, so to speak, as you may not have the energy or the time to do much cleaning for a while after.

Stock your nest

You will be hungry and you will need to eat well, especially if you plan on breastfeeding. However, the last thing you are likely to have the energy or time for is preparing meals. Plan for this beforehand by stocking your freezer with casseroles, soups and stews, pizza dough and other such items. Stock your pantry with plenty of healthy crackers, nuts and seeds, easily made pasta dishes, couscous and grains. If you are unable to pick up fresh produce, set up an account with a food delivery service to have as an option.

Rest up

This may be more easily said than done, but get plenty of sleep. Give your body the support it needs for the labor ahead. If you are having trouble sleeping, try a body pillow or placing pillows between your knees to elevate your hip and under your belly to give it support. Try meditation, prenatal massage and/or prenatal yoga if your OB/midwife has approved it. Such methods may support your ability to relax once you start labor as well as your ability to sleep more soundly in the meantime. Once Baby arrives sleep may become a precious commodity. The common wisdom is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Do this. Sleep deprivation will only increase emotional instability and lessen the fullness of this new joy, as well as your ability to be the nurturing parent you want to be.

Spend an abundance of quiet time with your partner before baby arrives. Be in a good place with each other. Once baby arrives your focus will be on baby, as it should be. It is possible that one or the other of you may begin to feel lonely. It will not be the same; it will no longer be just the two of you. If you spend some time with this realization beforehand, it is less likely to catch you off guard later. Be ready to welcome your child with love.