There are so many things to do before getting ready for a baby. You can find a post of non-baby related things to do here, but today we have provided you with a preparing for baby checklist. The truth is that many people will expect you to know what to do–but that can be difficult considering you are wading utterly unfamiliar waters.
Personally, I feel like I did a pretty good job with my first. I read different articles, not unlike this one, and wrote my own checklist of things I needed to complete. Crossing things off of lists is truly exciting for me, so I rarely miss an opportunity to do this. Consider writing your checklist down because pregnancy brain is real and most of this stuff shouldn’t be forgotten.
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What do you need to do in the third trimester?
Choose a Pediatrician
Choosing your baby’s health provider can seem like a pretty daunting task, especially considering the options you have. In my area, I had my choice of hundreds of doctors within a fifty-mile radius. I was willing to drive fifty miles to the perfect doctor, but it wasn’t necessary.
If you have a healthy amount of options to choose from, it’s incredibly likely that one of those options will be a good fit for your family. There are a few different factors that should play into your decision once you start narrowing your choices down.
-Does your insurance cover that provider?
Someone out of your network will likely be a lot more costly, and so doing this first will rule out all of the unrealistic options.
-Do you have any recommendations from close family or friends?
I did not have any friends or family close to me with little kids, and so I was not able to get kudos for a specific provider. Count yourself lucky if your bestie can give you a glowing review for her pediatrician.
-How far away is the facility from your home?
Do you care about distance? Even if you don’t care about the distance, it may be smarter to go with a provider who is closer to you. Not all pediatricians work with nearby hospitals, but many of them do. If you ever had an emergency with your child and had to get them to the nearest hospital, you will probably be more comfortable taking them to a hospital to which your provider has ties.
-Does the doctor have good online reviews?
Reviews can be a little sticky. Personally, I am suspicious of any provider or business that boasts all five-star reviews since some shadier companies will pay for excellent reviews. Paid reviews are not the norm, but still worth keeping in mind.
Thoroughly research reviews from different websites, and see if you can get a feel for the people reviewing. I have found facebook reviews to be really helpful, as I get to read the review and see the person who wrote it.
-Read their bio
Most pediatric facilities have a website, and this website usually has a short and sweet bio about the provider/s. Reading their little blurb will help give you a window into their beliefs and standards and hopefully give you some insight regarding whether or not you will connect well in person. You might also learn a few things that help ensure that your doctor’s values align with your intentions as a parent.
We originally selected a doctor who had no children, but who had hobbies in common with my husband. We ended up switching to a lady doctor who had kids of her own and could speak from personal experience and not just training. Both doctors were fantastic, but the latter better aligned with our needs and expectations.
-Meet them first
Most articles will encourage you to meet the pediatrician before the baby comes. I did not do this, as the thought of it made me uncomfortable. It felt awkward and strange to me, but it helps seal the deal for some people.
Have a Baby Shower
Having a baby shower was the furthest thing from my mind when I was pregnant, but luckily my loving grandmother got everything taken care of for me. Even if you don’t have family that can help, host your own! I am not very comfortable with situations where the majority of the focus is me, but I am happy we did it. Not only do you get a lot of really useful baby stuff, but you can celebrate something that truly should be celebrated. If you are low on cash, remember it is possible to throw a baby shower on a budget.
Wash Some of Baby’s Clothes
You are going to want to wash all of the clothing and bedding with which you are expecting your littles to come into direct contact. If you received a lot of clothing for baby, make sure that you strategically wash only what you think you will end up using. Remember that babies grow quickly, and it’s highly unlikely the store will let you exchange sizes with a freshly laundered tagless onesie.
With my first daughter, we received a lot of newborn and 0-3 month clothing. When I say a lot, I mean that baby had more clothes in these sizes than I have in my entire closet. Before she was born I bought baby-safe laundry detergent, and I got to washing. It was a waste of time and money. She grew fast, and we ended up with a garbage bag full of clothing she never wore.
The Nursery is not First Priority
Most people will tell you to make sure you have the nursery ready. Since I am a planner we had our nursey finished by the time I was four months pregnant. Truth be told, we only entered her room a handful of times those first six months after she was born. She slept in our room, and during the day we usually hung out in the living or dining room.
You will eventually have to set up their room, so it’s definitely not a bad idea, but it also doesn’t need to be the first priority. Decorating the nursery is a part of nesting, and should be enjoyable. Don’t rush it or let it stress you out–remember; your baby won’t care about the jungle mural you are painting on the wall for a few years.
Pre-register and Tour the Hospital
If you are giving birth at a regular hospital, most facilities will let you come and tour the birthing center. In your moment of induced panic when the real deal rolls around, you don’t want to be scrambling about, trying to figure out which floor you are supposed to be on.
Help the experience go smoother for yourself and tour the hospital and check to see if pre-registering is an option.
Take a Birthing and Breastfeeding Class
Luckily, most childbirth facilities offer both of these kinds of classes. You can certainly check those out if you are interested in going in person. Personally, I prefer to do everything online if I can. I took an online birthing course that I watched nestled on my couch with my many cats.
The best online birthing class I have found is from Hilary at Pulling Curls. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to what to expect from your birthing experience. She has a private community so you can have somewhere to ask all of those awkward questions…because yes–you will probably poop during childbirth.
For breastfeeding, this class from Milkology is excellent. Stacey goes into thorough detail regarding the science of producing milk, provides step-by-step instructions on how to breastfeed properly, and gives solutions to different issues that may come up. You can get bits and pieces of knowledge online, but if you are looking for something that can give you everything in the same place, this is it.
Write a Birth Plan
If it’s important to you to have everything go a certain way, definitely write out your birth plan. Do you want pain meds? Who do you want in the room? Do you for some unknown reason want to watch yourself give birth?
I did not write a birth plan, but I was not very worried about things going a specific way. It was important to me to be out of pain and to have a healthy baby. Both of these things worked out, and that was what was important. I also had my husband in the room with me to advocate for anything else I wanted or needed.
If you plan on going in alone or have a squeamish partner who may be gagging into a bag during the delivery, consider writing down what you want, even if it’s only a few things.
Read up on Newborn Procedures
There are some pretty standard newborn procedures that your baby will go through. These vary by state, so definitely get on your state’s local health department website and check out what your state requires. These are all good things for the baby, but it’s nice to have the information beforehand, so you aren’t surprised when the nurses have to whisk baby away for a while.
Learn About Cord-Blood Banking
Your baby’s umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can help treat or cure a variety of diseases and disorders. It can be costly, which is why so many families may be hesitant. This procedure is not standardized everywhere. If your hospital and doctor allow it, consider saving this blood and putting it in a blood bank. You never know when something simple like this could save your child’s life down the line.
Related: Postpartum Checklist
Prepare the Baby Gear
If you are like me, you may have purchased some neat looking contraptions to make your life with baby more comfortable. Before going to the hospital, make sure that you put batteries in any swings, put together your bassinet, and figure out how to use that breast pump.
You don’t want to be trying to do these things on the fly with a screaming baby. If you are interested in seeing what our favorite products for our kids have been, you can find our top 7 baby product list here. If you haven’t finished your basic shopping for general baby products, I would you to see the comprehensive list of everything you will need for your baby for the first six months.
Stock Up Your Baby Health Kit
While you may have already purchased the fancy baby bath and that organic shampoo, have you thought about products that may help when baby isn’t feeling very good? Now, I am certainly not a doctor, but I will say that there are simple issues that your baby will inevitably have that are easy for you to take care of at home.
While I am not going to go into those specific health issues, here are a couple essential items to have in your baby health kit. Please check with your doctor before giving your child any kind of medication.
You aren’t supposed to provide Infants’ Tylenol to a baby under three months without consulting your doctor. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it–it just means you want to ensure you are giving a correct dosage since your tiny baby doesn’t allow for a lot of wiggle room. Also, if you are concerned that your baby may need Tylenol, they may be sick enough to warrant a doctor visit.
Saline Spray/Drops are awesome for loosening mucus in a stuffy baby
They should give you one of these Baby Nasal Aspirator’s while you are in the hospital. It’s always good to have an extra on hand, but honestly the one from the hospital just seems to work better.
Gripe Water is an alternative treatment that contains water and herbs. Colic is super common in babies, and it causes a lot of stomach pain and screaming for hours from your little one. Gripe water is the solution for many parents. Some parents swear by gripe water for helping soothe those upset tummies. I didn’t feel that I saw a difference, but my husband would tell a different story.
These Gas Relief Drops contain real medication. This medication breaks up gas bubbles in your baby’s stomach–theoretically. The problem is that neither Gripe Water or Simethicone have been proven more effective in treating colic. Pick up both and see what works better for your baby.
The anti-gas drops we bought came with a dropper, but I personally hate giving medications out of a dropper so I purchased some 1ml Syringe’s instead. You may also find that you prefer using a syringe as well. Also, it’s good to have an extra on hand since they are easy to misplace.
Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with a cut or a scrape for at least a year. It’s still a good idea to have some things on hand just in case. Think about Bandaids, Gauze, and Medical Tape. Keep in mind that you don’t want to use anything topically without approval from your doctor.
What have you found to be the most important to get done in the third trimester? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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