Preparing for a baby is exciting but there’s a lot you need to think, plan and know before you bring your little angel home. So, if you’re confused about how to prepare for a baby, we’ve put together the core of what you’ll need to do right from the time you know you are pregnant before the time your baby arrives. In the end, you will also find answers to some FAQs regarding the same.
How to Prepare for a Baby in the Third Trimester: Your Ultimate Checklist for Baby Preparation
Can’t wait to hold your baby in your arms? Wondering how the pregnancy flew by so quickly? Well, pretty soon you are not just going to have your sweetheart close by but will also have hefty routines and sleep-deprived nights. Now that your life is about to change – for the better (of course), it’s time you buckle up and prepare for your new parenthood ride.
Don’t panic! The joys your bub will bring you are sure to outweigh the challenges in the journey. Moreover, preparing for a baby can be a lot easier when you have the right advice and know important things to do beforehand. Get ready for the excitement (and hard work) of preparing for a new baby with our little guide.
Here’s an extensive list of 12 crucial things to do while getting ready for a newborn:
1. Take a Family Leave
Since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants parents the benefit of getting up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to take care of their newborns, you must enquire about the specific rules and regulations held by your employer.
Depending upon the number of weeks and conditions set by your employer, plan your family leave accordingly and complete the documentation work beforehand. If you are a working mom preparing for a baby, talk to your healthcare provider and determine how many weeks you need to take off before your baby arrives.
2. Choose the Right Health Insurance Plan
Since babies are expensive, checking your health insurance coverage for childbirth costs is sure to come in handy. Or if your insurance plan does not cover such benefits, take expert advice on how to add your pregnancy to your health insurance cover or choose the one that offers maternity and newborn expenses including vaccination and delivery. Furthermore, add your baby to your family’s health insurance policy as soon as they cross the age benchmark.
3. Get Your Finances in Order
From pregnancy to birth and raising children, you need good financial backing to be able to provide your child with the best of everything. Hence, securing the baby’s financial future is one of the biggest concerns for new parents. If you are preparing for a newborn, ensure proper financial planning by re-budgeting, savings, and investments. Don’t forget about the long-term expenses, especially your child’s education.
4. Purify & Baby Proof Your Home
We suggest removing all the toxic or suffocating things during pregnancy and after the baby is born to ensure utmost safety at all times. And since clean air becomes even more important when you are expecting a baby, it is a great idea to plant some air purifying indoor plants so that you can breathe better while improving the aesthetics of your home.
The Rubber Plant, Peace Lily, English Ivy and Bamboo Palm are some of the top air-purifying plants choices by moms. Furthermore, you must get the renovations and the necessary home repairs done while you are preparing for a baby because you are going to be too busy for this stuff later.
Hear this from a mommy! You live in a prim-and-proper home with decor pieces, candles, flowers, and soft toys only until your baby starts crawling or begins to walk. After that, everything needs to be baby-proofed for ensuring your little one’s safety. Hence, analyze every element in your home deeply and replace them if they are fragile or dangerous for your baby in any way.
5. Enroll for Online Birthing, Infant Care, & Lactation Classes
The third trimester is overwhelming for most of the parents because of the anxiety, nervousness, and excitement building up every single day. Hence, preparation for a baby can be very relaxing if you enrolled yourself in baby care classes that teach you everything about labor and contractions, childbirth, infant care, and breastfeeding.
Some additional classes will also help you understand common baby signs and behaviors, medical emergencies, and the right techniques and safety standards about bathing, swaddling, etc.
6. Plan for Labor and Delivery
If you are preparing for a newborn, don’t outlook planning for your labor and delivery. Therefore, creating your birth plan depending upon your health condition, available options, personal preferences, and budget constraints.
- Choose between a vaginal birth, water birth, or c-section.
- Decide whether you want to deliver at the hospital or your home.
- Understand the pros and cons of getting an epidural.
Consult your OBGYN or midwife about your choices and preferences and anticipate the costs to be ready for your baby’s birth. Most importantly, be prepared with a plan B and don’t get nervous if some things don’t go as planned.
7. Find a Pediatrician
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby must undergo a medical checkup within 48 to 72 hours after birth. This newborn screening makes sure your baby is detected against potentially harmful diseases if any – to get the required treatment at the right time. Hence, finding a pediatrician in advance is sure to help you save time and confusion once your baby arrives.
8. Plan the Baby Shower & Create Your Baby Registry
Preparation for a baby is incomplete without a baby shower so that your close friends and family get involved in your child’s life. Furthermore, making a baby registry list makes it easier for parents to prepare for the baby. In case you didn’t know, a baby registry is a list of essential items that parents would like to receive as their baby shower gifts. From clothing to diapers or toiletries, these items can be anything.
Although a baby registry is not essential, most families choose to do it to boost the excitement and financially support new parents.
- Seek within and understand your lifestyle to create the best baby registry.
- Do not get overwhelmed and think deeply while creating your list.
- Lists all the essential things you will need once your baby is home.
- Ensure that your guests don’t find your registry very boring or demanding.
- Submit it to your host before the invitations are sent.
9. Set Up the Nursery
Designing your baby’s nursery not just adds more fun to your parenthood journey but is also a responsibility. Set up a functional yet interesting nursery and let your creative juices in. Plan and research well before buying baby furniture and determine the best sleeping option as per the nursery’s layout, your sleeping preference with the baby, and your style inspiration.
- Finalize a theme and draft a rough design. Depending upon your baby’s gender, you can choose from a variety of themes such as adventure-theme, space-theme, floral-theme, etc.
- Find the best baby nursery colors, explore creative painting ideas, and determine your ideal color palette and core patterns. Choosing the right colors provides a conducive environment for the physical and mental growth of a baby.
- Choose the right furniture that serves for some years and offers convertibility but do not ignore the space availability.
- Carefully decide between choosing a co-sleeper, bassinet, cradle, or crib.
- Create a focal point to be the statement of your nursery.
- Pick complementing elements that enhance the nursery’s design.
- Look for affordable, good-quality furniture but try to stick to a budget.
- Try to get involved at all stages but please make sure to be restful and do the chores joyfully. Don’t let the baby preparation take a toll on your health.
- Ensure baby’s safety in all aspects.
10. Get All Essential Baby Gear Sorted
Furthermore, carefully explore several baby gear options and purchase the ones you essentially need. Since a car seat is essential for a baby’s safety while you are on the road, pay deep attention to its quality and do not compromise with it. Changing tables, diaper bags, baby carriers, strollers, chairs, swings, and bathtubs are some other baby gears that you might choose from depending upon your requirements, budget, and space availability.
11. Create a Shopping Checklist
Picking the needful products can be a daunting task, especially for first-time parents. Some parents might overlook essentials while others might stock up on unnecessary products. Find shopping checklists online, grab the essentials given by your hospital and take recommendations from friends and family about useful purchases you need to make.
Here are some major categories of products you must find useful while creating your baby shopping list:
- Medical equipment
12. Prepare and Freeze Some Healthy Meals
Although there is no replacement for fresh food, freezer meals and snacks are life savers when you have a newborn, a very busy routine, and no one to cook for you every day. Explore healthy postpartum meal options and freeze your meals in the right proportions. Do not overstock and don’t forget to defrost properly.
Frequently Asked Questions about Preparing for a New Baby
Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions by parents who are preparing for a baby.
Should I take maternity leave before the baby is born?
As per FMLA norms, you are eligible for family leave while you prepare for your baby or have a serious health condition that needs proper bed rest. However, most new parents take family leave after their babies arrive to spend more time with them.
How do I prepare for my first baby?
Here are a few things that are sure to help you if you are preparing for a new born:
- Family leave
- Baby’s health insurance
- Financial planning
- Home repairing
- Attending birthing, baby care, and breastfeeding classes
- Creating a birth plan
- Finding the baby’s pediatrician
- Creating the registry and planning the baby shower
- Setting up the nursery
- Purchasing baby gear
- Creating a shopping checklist
- Meal prepping for the family – especially if you live alone
How do you financially prepare for a baby?
Financing planning is one of the biggest aspects of baby preparation. Here’s how you can do it:
- Analyze your current budget, set a new limit, and try not to exceed it.
- Carefully choose a newborn baby health insurance plan that includes regular medical check-ups, vaccination expenses, medical emergencies, etc.
- Analyze the needs vs. wants for your newborn and don’t go overboard with baby products.
- Start saving early and consult an expert financial planner if possible.
- Explore the top investment options and build your child’s successful future from a young age.
When should you start setting up the nursery?
Since your baby can arrive by the time you are 36 weeks pregnant, try designing your baby’s nursery once you reach the third trimester and finish it off within six to eight weeks.
Getting ready for a newborn can be confusing and scary, especially when you are a first-time parent. With these 12 most important things to consider, we hope you found our easy guide on preparing for a baby useful. Knowing what to expect and preparing for a newborn not just makes the first few weeks easier but also helps parents and babies transition quickly into the joyful voyage of love and togetherness.