Q. What are some of the things I should be sure to get done before our baby arrives?
A: My clients are such good planners. There’s no need to go overboard but a little planning and preparation can help keep stress at bay.
Though I could easily give you a long list, I’m going to share my top 8 things to do before baby comes, some of which may not have occurred to you.
Pick a pediatrician. It’s surprising how many people wait until after baby comes to do this. You’ll have your hands full after baby arrives and may end up making a hasty decision. So while pregnant, take advantage of the meet and greet that most pediatric practices offer. Narrow down your search by asking friends, co-workers, searching online and reading reviews, as well as checking your insurance options. I recommend finding one with a lactation consultant on staff if possible.
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Get your carpets cleaned. As a postpartum doula, I spend a lot of time on the floor with my babies. Though you’ll want to have a little quilt handy to place baby on, you’ll feel better about rolling around on the floor with your wee one when your carpets are freshly cleaned.
Find out what breast pump your insurance covers and what you need to do to get it. I’ve seen clients spending way too much time trying to track down this information after their baby is born and when they already need the pump. Save yourself a headache and handle this ahead of time.
Install the baby’s car seat and have it checked by an official car seat installation inspector. Many hospitals, fire stations and police stations offer this service. Read the car seat manual and practice using it, too. I worked with a new mom last week who did not know how to attach and detach the car seat from the base in her car. Luckily I knew enough to figure this one out. But what if I weren’t there? Know how to use the car seat.
Bake a few batches of lactation cookies and freeze them. They are a delicious and satisfying snack and have ingredients beneficial to nursing moms. However, they are a bit labor intensive to make, at least when you have a baby who doesn’t understand the words “just a minute”. You can always give this assignment to your mom or your postpartum doula, but it won’t hurt to have some ready and waiting.
Wash and organize by size new and hand-me-down baby clothes. I often see how overwhelming the bags of clothes given by well-meaning friends and family can be to a new mom. So do some of this ahead of time so you don’t end up leaving them in the corner of the closet until baby outgrows them.
Pick your birth announcements and have your addresses organized and ready to go. Then all you’ll need to do is get the photo and details and stick them in the mail. (Picking a photographer is a good idea, too.)
Finally, go on a romantic date with your spouse. Enjoy delicious food (eaten while still hot) and some lovely time together. Your life will soon be consumed (in the best possible way) with talk of your new baby - how much he ate, pooped, peed, slept. So take the time to talk about other things that you enjoy or are important in your life.
Pam Diamond of Cary is a parent coach, postpartum doula, baby sleep consultant and owner of First Daze & Nightzzz.