With birth quickly approaching, it is important to prepare as much as possible. This affordable mini-course provides video tutorials and downloadable checklists to help you get ready for your birth and newborn.
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This was so helpful! I used the downloadable “fill in” birth plan checklist to bring to the hospital. I also made the padsicles ahead of time like she said to do and it really helped with my postpartum recovery.
— Jackie Smith
Loved this! All of the downloadable checklists were so amazing. I feel so prepared now for bringing my baby home!
— Ally Johnson
When should you start preparing for baby?
You can start preparing for your newborn as soon as you like! Many parents find the second trimester to be a good time to start getting things ready. During the second trimester, the mother may have a little more energy than she will during the third trimester.
Hospital Birth Plan
A birth plan is printed out piece of paper that tells your care team at the hospital what your wishes are when it comes to your birth. I brought my birth plan to the hospital for my induction for my first baby and when I went into spontaneous labor with my second baby. Both times the nurses made copies and distributed them to the techs and doctors who were caring for me. They also left a copy taped in my room for reference.
Birth plans are helpful because the labor process and hospital stay can be a little overwhelming and chaotic at times. It is so nice to be able to think about what your wishes are beforehand and then have them clear to your caretakers the day of. I have included a checklist of topics you may want to include in your birth plan as well as a fill-in birth plan document in the course.
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist
Preparing your hospital bag can be exciting. It means baby is coming! You need to pack for both you and baby. Some of what you are going to want in your hospital bag depends on who you are as a person. Are you a minimalist or do you like to overpack? Do you want to give birth in something specific or are you fine with the hospital gown? Do you need your certain pillow to sleep or can you sleep with any pillow? Do you plan on putting on makeup for photos or just keeping it casual?
Whatever your style of packing is totally fine! There are a few essentials though that you should be sure to pack. I have a checklist of what to pack in your hospital bag included in the course.
Preparing For Early Labor
If you do not have a planned induction or C-section, you should think about how you would like to spend your early labor. Most hospitals don’t want you to come in until you are having consistent contractions 5 minutes apart. That means you will likely be laboring at home for a bit.
Is there a specific room that you would like to go to that relaxes you? I found it helpful to spend my early labor on an exercise ball. Some women like to take a bath or a shower. Some like to go on a walk outside to potentially speed up the process.
It can also be helpful to talk to your partner about how you would like them to support you. Would you like them to rub your back? Hold your hand?
I included a list of things you can do in early labor in the course.
Setting Up Your Bedside Nursery
It is recommended that baby spends their first couple of months sleeping in your room with you. You’re going to need to set up what is called a “bedside nursery.” This typically includes a bassinet, changing area, and other baby essentials.
When choosing your bassinet just think about what is important to you. Do you want to be able to look over and easily see your baby? Do you want a bassinet that rocks your baby on its own? Do you want a bassinet that you can easily reach over and comfort your baby?
If you have a large enough room, it may be helpful to have a full changing table in there. If not, you can do what I did and just have a little caddy that has a changing pad, diapers, wipes, and other baby care items.
I have a full list of items to include in your bedside nursery as well as a tour of an example bedside nursery included in the course.
Setting Up Your Nursery
If you are able to have your separate nursery ready before baby is born, that’s awesome! It is great to have somewhere besides your bedside nursery to lay baby down for naps. That way you won’t have to tip toe around your room all day.
You will find a checklist of what to include in your nursery as well as a nursery tour included in the course.
Setting Up Your Living Room
The family living room is usually what gets the most cluttered with baby items and for good reason. You are going to need somewhere to safely put baby down, somewhere to change baby, and possibly somewhere for baby to sleep safely.
I would definitely recommend a swing in your living room. Swings soothe babies like none other and are so helpful when you need to get a few things done like eat or use the restroom.
Having a changing area in your living room will save you a lot of time from walking the baby back to their changing table. With my first baby, I just used a little caddy that had a changing pad, diapers, and wipes and got what I needed out when I needed it. With my second baby, I had a whole pack n’ play nursery system with a changing table, and it was amazing.
Play mats are great to have in your living room as a place for your baby to stretch out, look around, and maybe do tummy time. As they get older they may start swatting at toys and rolling around on there.
I have a full checklist of items I’d suggest you having in your living room as well as a living room tour included in the course.
What To Clean Before Baby Arrives
You want to come up to a clean house after having a baby. It’s good for the baby and you. You’re going to need time to recover and the last thing you should be worrying about is cleaning your house when you are postpartum. Here are some things to be sure to do:
Dust – you want to get rid of as many allergens as possible. Consider giving the house a thorough dusting. Some areas to make sure to hit are: all surfaces, blinds, ceiling fans, air vents, and light fixtures.
Sanitize the kitchen – You may be preparing bottles, washing breast pump parts, ext.
Nursery bedding – Make sure all baby sheets and changing pad covers are washed.
You find a full checklist on what to clean before baby arrives included in the course.
Meal Prep Before Baby
Making meals with a baby who never wants to be put down can be super challenging so having meals prepped and ready to go is the way to go. Consider having a large meal prep session where you make 10 or more meals at once.
I included a list of easy meals to meal prep and stick in your freezer.
If you know your delivery date, having your fridge and pantry stocked is a great idea. Grocery delivery is awesome to utilize when you have the baby. Try figuring out what grocery delivery services are available to your location and download the apps you need ahead of time.
It is nice to have family and friends bring you meals those first few months or weeks. You can have someone set you up with a calendar on MealTrain.com and then friends and family can coordinate with you on there when meals are being brought over.
Preparing For Breastfeeding
Setting up a breastfeeding station is a great way to prepare for breastfeeding. This can be a comfortable chair or spot on the couch where you have everything you need to have relaxing breastfeeding sessions. This can include a cupholder for your drink, a charger for your phone, burp cloths in case of spit-up, and maybe an easy view of the TV for Netflix viewing. I give a video example of a breastfeeding station in this course.
I would also make sure you have your electric breast pump ordered are ready to go. Many insurance plans will actually cover the cost of a breast pump. If that is the case, I would suggest going through a breast pump website. I have included a list of websites that can assist you in ordering your breast pumps. These websites will contact your doctor’s office for you and obtain a prescription and then get the pump covered by insurance and shipped to your house. The sites will often even assist you in ordering replacement pump parts if you continue to breastfeed. Once your pump is here, you’re going to need to sanitize all your parts. This usually involves washing and then boiling them.
I have included a list of breastfeeding items I think can be helpful in your baby feeding journey.
Preparing For Baby Care
Let’s talk about how to prepare for baby care. Your little one is going to need baths, clothes, their nails trimmed, hair brushed, and more.
First up: baby bath. There are a few different ones that you can choose from. There are some that you can just put in your sink, there are some that you can put in your bathtub, or there are some that stand alone. I would think about where you would like to be bathing your baby and get the infant bathtub that will work best for you.
It is helpful to have a gentle cleanser on hand. You don’t want one that has fragrances or makes bubbles. That can irritate their skin.
When you first get home from the hospital you will only give your baby a sponge bath. You have to wait until their umbilical cord falls off to actually give them a true bath. Most people find their baby’s first sponge bath can be done with a simple washcloth with water and a gentle cleanser. You can get those little baby washcloths if you would like, but a normal washcloth works just fine too.
Our pediatrician always recommended Aquaphor to use as our baby’s lotion. We would rub that all over them after their baths. It can be helpful to go ahead and get the big tubs.
Be sure to check out the full list of baby care items in the course.
Preparing For Postpartum
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section, having a postpartum basket in your bathroom with some essentials can be helpful. You will need to your a peri bottle to cleanse down there and then perhaps also apply some sprays. You will also need pads or adult diapers handy. I have a list of what to include in your postpartum basket and a list of postpartum essentials included in the course.
Padsicles can be helpful to make ahead of time. A padcicle is basically a frozen pad that can provide some relief to you postpartum. I show how to make padsicles in the course.
Preparing Your Partner For Baby
I would recommend preparing your partner and your relationship for baby. You are in this together after all. It can be helpful to discuss expectations ahead of time. I give a list of discussion questions in the course.