Having a baby? Congratulations! Having a baby is a wonderful experience, but there is so much to do to prepare it can be overwhelming. The last thing you want is to have the baby without feeling ready. So prepare for your baby in advance by following this checklist.
In addition, I’ve made a printable checklist of all the final items to do before you leave for the hospital. Be sure to get this final checklist, which you can find at the bottom of this post.
Furthermore, I made this 30 Things to Do to Prepare For a Baby – Ultimate Baby Planning Guide into a printable checklist. So be sure to scroll to the very bottom of this post if you just want to download the checklist now.
Now onto preparing for a baby!
Preparing For a Baby – 30 Things To Do
1. Call Your OBGYN If You Think You’re Pregnant
The very first thing you should do when you think you are pregnant is call your OBGYN. Ask to set up a time to see your doctor.
All doctors are different for at what point they want to first see you. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, I was all excited to call the doctor’s office and set up my first appointment to get that official confirmation I was pregnant. When I was on the phone with the nurse sharing the good news they said the doctor waits until you are 8 weeks to first see you. I was SO disappointed! At that time I was only 3-4 weeks pregnant and waiting another 4-5 weeks to see a doctor and get the confirmation I was pregnant felt like an eternity.
With my 2nd baby I had a different doctor and she wanted to see me at 6 weeks. So just know that all doctors are different on when and how often they want to see you and your baby growing inside you.
Finally, ask your doctor for books, magazines, things to review, and list of classes to take to prepare for baby. Most of the time they have information for free and will give them to you
2. Check Into Insurance Coverage
Check with your insurance what is covered with appointments, labor and delivery, and baby appointments once he/she arrives.
3. Go Over Your Budget
Sit down and look at your budget. How will a baby affect your budget? Set a budget on what you can spend on the baby. In addition, look at what your budget will be like with a baby and the expenses.
4. Select a Hospital and/or Birth Plan
Select which hospital you want to deliver your baby. You may not have a choice if your OBGYN only delivers at a certain hospital. Talk to your doctor about your birth plan and write it down. Make a copy and make sure to pack it in your hospital bag (see below). Although labor and delivery can be unpredictable, it helps to have your wants and wishes along to accommodate as many of them as possible.
If you do not want to deliver your baby at the hospital, check into other options such as a home birth or a water birth.
5. Tour the Hospital
Take a tour of the hospital. Do this a month or two before your baby is due. It will ease your anxiety for when the big day comes if you have seen the labor and delivery rooms before, the halls, where to check in, where to park, etc. Also, it was a fun experience to do as you anticipate the baby’s arrival.
6. Select a Pediatrician
Select a pediatrician for your baby. Feel free to make and appt with a couple to help you decide who you like. Ask questions, check days, hours and availability. Let them know where you will be delivering and how the communication process goes once the baby arrives. Your baby’s pediatrician will need to make a visit or two in the hospital.
7. Pick Out Baby Names
Start thinking about and picking out names for both a boy and a girl. Decide if you want to know the gender ahead of time or not.
8. Prepare For A Baby With Your Employer
First tell your supervisor at work you are pregnant. This way if you are sick, have restrictions, or are not yourself, they will understand why. Second, if your job is strenuous on the body, there are restrictions for pregnant women and they need to know your job may need to change. Lastly, contact human resources to see what you need to do to prepare for maternity leave. Check on what is covered and the different options that are available.
Figure out if you will return back to work after the baby or be able to stay at home.
9. Find Childcare
If you are going back to work after you have the baby, research childcare options. Ask friends and family who they use or have used and for recommendations. Visit some daycares you are interested and ask to take a tour. Your baby will end up spending a lot of hours at daycare so take the time to select the right one. For more on finding childcare click here.
Make sure to begin researching childcare early on in your pregnancy. Some daycares have waiting lists and you want to have everything set up and ready before you have the baby.
If you are staying home or not, check into potential babysitters for your baby when you need a couple hours away or a night out. Check with family what they are willing to do so you know what they are thinking and what to expect. For more on new babysitter tips click here.
10. Attend New Baby Classes
There are a ton of different baby classes out there. Figure out the ones that make sense to you or that will calm your nerves. There are 3 main topics to cover. Pregnancy and how it will go and how to manage/safe pregnancy. Then there is the labor and delivery part. Which the time span is short but crucial party of having a baby as it is the actual time you are having the baby. Then there is what to do and know once the baby is actually here.
11. Watch For Baby Item Sales & Deals
Start watching for deals and sales and stocking up on baby essentials like diapers and wipes.It may be hard to know exactly which diaper your baby will use as not all diapers work for all babies, however at first babies go through so many diapers you will surely use them. Furthermore, get to know the prices and what is a good deal or sale on baby essentials like diapers and wipes.
12. Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding
Decide if you are going to try breastfeeding or formula feeding. For more on how to prepare for breastfeeding click here. Also think about if you will you be pumping at all. If you will be going back to work and breastfeeding you will need to pump at work . Lots of insurances cover the cost of a breast pump so check into your insurance and see what they offer.
13. Pack Your Hospital Bag
Pack your hospital bag. Also get a list for what the spouse/father/birthing coach should pack. There may be a couple items – like toiletry items you may not be able to pack until you are ready to go to the hospital. For a checklist on what to do before you leave for the hospital scroll down to the bottom of this post to get the Ultimate baby planning guide – Items to do before leaving for the hospital.
14. Pick Out Your Nursery Theme
Picking out a nursery theme can be as simple as selecting the colors for the room ands its contents. On the other hand a nursery theme can be very detailed that may include specific characters, decor, furniture, bedding, books, and colors. Themes do vary in price as well depending on how detailed you want it and how many items you want included.
15. Get Nursery Furniture & Decor
Get appropriate nursery decor and furniture (crib, changing table, dresser, rocking chair, etc) Most of this you can put on your registry. However, be prepared to buy items if no one else gets them for you.
16. Create Your Baby Registry
Put items on here you really need/want. Have items of all price ranges. Some people will go in with a group to get you something while other individuals want to get yous something or several things. Do not register for clothes as you will get so many clothes as gifts when the baby arrives, the baby will not need clothes until the first year.
17. Request an Early Baby Shower
Request to have your shower earlier on in your pregnancy. I am not sure why, but people like to wait until like a month before to have their baby shower. I know it is fun to see a 9 month pregnant lady, but if your shower(s) are early you can better prepare for your baby. By having your shower earlier like at 5-6 months you will know what you still need to get from what you did not receive as gifts. Also, request to get the baby necessities at your shower, not a bunch of clothes.
18. Assemble All Baby Items
Put together all baby furniture, toys, other items that need assembly. Things will do no good sitting in a box when the baby comes. Set up everything so it is 100% ready for when baby arrives.
19. Prepare Your Home For a Baby
Your home is about to change big time. Nearly every room may change at least a little bit to accommodate a baby.
Set up all the baby items you just assembled. Put all baby items where they are going. If you aren’t quite sure on some items that is ok. Set them up where you think best, and if you need to change it once the baby comes that is ok.
This includes setting up the nursery, the bathroom, kitchen, living room and more. For more on preparing your home for a baby click here.
20. Prepare Baby Feeding Gear
It can take a lot to feed a baby. So many options, parts, and things to wash and keep clean. Get all your feeding gear in advance and set it all up.
If you are going to be pumping or formula feeding you will need to decide on what kind of bottles you will use. Ask around, friends, family that have recently had kids and what they used, liked, didn’t like. Add bottles and other feeding gear to your registry. Then once you get the bottles follow appropriate sanitation rules and put them together and get used to how they work.
In addition, if you will be pumping get all the parts and put together the pump and parts. Make sure it works and that you understand how it works. Try it out, put it together, google/youtube it and watch a video on how it works.
Note: If you are getting a pump through your insurance, you may not be able to get it until a month before your due date. Check with your insurance several months in advance and sometimes you can order it ahead, but might not be able to pick it up until a month before your due date.
21. Prepare Baby Clothes
After your shower go through and see what clothes, onesies, and jammies you all received. Do not panic if you do not have much as once the baby is born you will get lots more. For what you do have – and plan on using, take the tags off and wash it so it is ready to go. The baby has to wear something and will go through multiple outfits in a day sometimes with pooping through clothes or spitting/throwing up.
22. Install Baby Car Seats
Get baby car seats and bases installed in the car and ready to go. Your doctor or hospital should have places and phone numbers you can contact to help you properly install the car seat. For more on baby car seats click here.
23. Prepare for a Baby Emergency
It is not something you want to think about, but you want to be prepared in the event there is a medical emergency with your baby. Believe me as I have been there, when something is wrong with your baby or there was an injury the last thing you will do is stay calm and think rationally.
So prepare for an emergency in advance by having a proper first aid kit, a complete emergency information sheet, and being prepared yourself to perform CPR and first aid. For more on how to prepare for an emergency click here.
24. Prepare Yourself for a Baby
There is so much to do, so much to get ready for this sweet baby that is coming that sometimes new moms forget to prepare themselves for the changes that are coming. For more on how to prepare yourself for a baby click here.
25. Make Freezer Meals
One of the best pieces of advice I received before my first baby was to make freezer meals ahead of time. Before I had a baby I thought how would I not have time to cook a meal when I am off all day on maternity leave? Well it is the truth! Trying to find time to prepare even the easiest of meals is difficult with a new baby.
What I found even harder was getting a meal ready once I returned back to work. There is so much to do when you get home from work that the last thing you have time for is to spend 30 minutes getting a meal ready. So if you are going to follow any of these tips, follow this one and prepare freezer meals ahead. For more tips on making freezer meals click here.
26. Get A Diaper Bag Ready
Every baby needs a fully stocked diaper bag for when you leave the house. This bag will be used regularly even if you do not plan on going out much. The baby’s first check up is a couple days after birth so you will need it almost right away.
It is up to you what style of bag you want to use as long as it can hold the necessities. The bag should include diapers, wipes, diaper cream, burp cloth, blanket, emergency sheet, and anything else your baby may need.
27. Baptizing or a Baby Christening
If you are going to baptize your baby think about when you want to do that. In the hospital? When you get home? At church? Reach out and talk with your pastor and/or church beforehand to communicate your wishes and find out how they do things.
28. Finish Errands and Appointments
Take care of all necessary appointments as much as possible before the baby comes. It is so much harder or at times impossible to take a new baby to an appointment or to run errands. Get your dentist teeth cleaning in, the car oil change, if you are on committees at church or other non profits, etc take your “turn” doing the thing before the baby is born. Set yourself up for success and to enjoy time with baby and being a new mom.
29. Look at Upcoming Months
Look at your month in advance: what cards, gifts, parties, birthdays do you have in the next month? Get other items in advance like: thank yous, gift for older children, food in house for meals, stocked up on laundry detergent, stuff for house and rest of family. House in order, baby room ready when date getting close. All repairs done on house, pay bills paid on time.
30. Get Some Rest Before Baby Arrives
Lastly, get some rest for the lack of sleep you are about to get. You will need it once the baby arrives. Rest now because the sleepless nights, night time feedings, and hours of crying are not far away.
Final Thoughts On How to Prepare For a Baby
Follow this checklist to get prepared for your baby. If you think you are busy now, it will be much harder to do with a newborn. You may think being off of work you will have all the time in the world. A baby consumes your day and it is hard to describe as you might not even be able to tell someone exactly what you did all day. So prepare as much as possible in advance because you will be glad you did.
Unfortunately there will be something that you need that you didn’t prepare in advance because it is hard to 100% know what you and your baby will use. Every delivery, experience, mom and baby are different! However by following this guide above you will be in great shape and prepared to welcome a new baby into your life.
Sign up here to get the Items to Do Before Leaving For the Hospital printable checklist and the 30 Things to Do to Prepare For a Baby – Ultimate Baby Planning Guide printable checklist.