Preparing for a baby is a pretty big ordeal. Because of that, it can be difficult to think of everything you should do to get ready. There’s more to it than just making a baby registry, but you don’t always hear people talk about what else goes into it. Here is a list of things you need to do in order to prepare your life for a baby.
1. Make a financial plan and start stockpiling money.
Having a baby can cost a lot. You never know what could happen at the hospital so it’s always a good idea to have extra money set aside just in case. Try to set aside as much as you can into a savings account.
2. Make a will.
Once you’re a parent it becomes more important than ever to have wills prepared. That way if, God forbid, something happened to you and/or your spouse there would be instructions on what should happen with your belongings and who should take charge of your children.
3. Open life insurance policies.
You should have policies for yourself and your spouse. If anything happened to either one of you and you didn’t have life insurance then it would likely put the other in a very tough position financially.
And yes, even if you’re a stay at home mom you still need life insurance. Without you around dad would then have to pay a lot to cover childcare. Just stay away from whole life insurance and choose term insurance instead.
4. Get renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.
It’s always good to be prepared in case a disaster strikes. Renter’s or homeowner’s insurance means you don’t have to stress as much if something like theft or a natural disaster happens, which is important with a baby around.
5. Decide if you need to move.
Assess your living situation: will you have enough room? Is it a good location? If you’ll be moving to one income can you still afford it? Take all those important sorts of questions into account and decide if you want to stay put or move.
6. Clean and/or purge your home.
Do as much of this as you are able to manage without stressing over it too much. You can’t expect your entire home to be perfect. But you will likely find yourself wanting to do some cleaning as you get later into your pregnancy anyways.
In my case, I became obsessed with putting my pantry staples into glass jars rather than having them in the original packaging. So I spent hours looking online at jars and finding glass markers for labeling. Once I gave birth, though, I promptly lost interest.
7. Do some meal prepping.
It’s really helpful to have some food set aside and ready to eat after baby comes. It’s possible you may not need it at first if people are bringing you food, but once that tapers off you’ll probably be happy there is something you don’t have to cook.
Some ideas of things you could make and freeze are soups, pasta sauce, lasagna, seasoned meat for the sous vide, cooked and shredded chicken, cooked ground beef, dough for rolls, etc.
8. Make sure your car repairs are up to date.
Not something you want to have to think about right after baby comes. You’ll also want your vehicle to be extra safe when it comes time to bring that little bundle home.
9. Take a CPR class.
Important for if there is an emergency and also for added peace of mind.
10. Decide what style of birth you want.
You would think birth would just be a pretty straight forward thing, but in reality there are a lot of decisions to make about it! Do you want a hospital birth or a home/birthing center birth? Do you want midwives or a doctor? Natural or epidural?
It’s ok to not be completely decided on some things, like the epidural for instance. Honestly, I went into it thinking I would try for a while without painkiller and see how it went. I knew there were some benefits to not having an epidural, but I didn’t know how I would feel once I was actually in labor.
That’s ok. Just make sure you know beforehand what you really do feel strongly about. Once you’re in labor you won’t necessarily be able to articulate things well.
11. Make a list of everything you will need for the hospital and postpartum.
You don’t want to be scrambling to grab things to pack as you’re having contractions. Make a list of everything you will want while you’re at the hospital and pack it for easy grabbing.
You’ll also want to make a list of recovery items to buy so that you can be as comfortable as possible after you give birth.
12. Take a breastfeeding class.
Contrary to what I thought before giving birth, taking a breastfeeding class can’t necessarily prevent problems from arising. But regardless, it’s still a really good idea to take one. That way you will have the basics down and know how it’s all supposed to work.
Just knowing things like the different positions and the way that your body works when it is producing milk is really helpful in preparing your mind and dispelling any misconceptions you might have.
And nowadays there are many options: you can do in person, often through your hospital, or there are online classes. I did this Milkology class, which I would say is a good basic class that covers a lot of topics and is cheap.
13. Take a newborn class.
Even if you have previous experience with babies, if you haven’t taken care of a newborn before, well that is a whole different ball game.
I actually had a pretty good amount of baby experience before I had baby boy, but I really didn’t know about newborn specific things, like how long a newborn should be awake for or how often they should eat or the best way to calm them down.
I took the Taking Cara Babies newborn class and found a lot of the information really helpful. Just be careful, though, when taking a class of feeling like you will be able to have that newborn sleeping through the night right off the bat.
For some babies that totally happens, but for others you have to wait until more like the 16-week mark when they are mature enough for sleep training.
14. Make a baby registry.
This, in my opinion, is one of the more fun aspects of preparing for baby. I love baby products so much that I had been saving them on an Amazon list for years (I was a nanny for five years so was around a lot of baby products).
Be sure not to get too bogged down, though, with all of the products baby websites tell you that you “have” to get. You really don’t need as much as they say you do. For more information on how to make a baby registry check out my post, “How To Make a Minimalist Baby Registry.”
Having a baby is definitely a huge life change, and it’s natural to feel kind of stressed about that. But if you do a little preparation in advance to make sure things like your finances, home, and car are in order, take a couple of classes, and research birth and baby/postpartum products then you will be setting yourself up for a much easier time after baby comes.
What are you doing to prepare your life for a new baby?
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