Just think: in a month or so you will be holding your sweet product of hours of labor and months of pregnancy. Your entire life will forever be changed. The first few weeks of life for your baby will most likely be stressful for you, so it’s a good idea to take steps now to get your home and life prepared for his or her arrival.
First, it is important to get his or her room set up and everything together before you have a wailing baby’s demands to look after as well. Stock up on baby wipes, powders, cotton swabs, and other cleaning utensils now, as well as baby medication, gentle detergent, and the like. It’s a good idea to get just a few boxes of diapers now(you might have already received some at your baby shower), and then wait until after your baby is born to decide what size or brand is best before stocking up majorly. Wash all the baby clothes you have accumulated thus far and find a place for everything in your nursery. Think ahead while you are doing this: what will be most convenient while dealing with your baby? Make sure you have a soft light in the nursery for middle-of-night changes and feedings, and try to organize your essentials within easy reach for you. Your baby’s needs will be fairly minimal for the first few weeks, but it doesn’t hurt to think and plan ahead for the future, especially before the baby’s born. It is also essential to have a child safety seat properly installed in your car, after all, how will you get him or her home? Try to have this ready when you are full-term so you are ready whenever it’s time.
It is also important to prepare your family pet for the arrival for your little one. Although your pet may have a gentle disposition, it is still difficult to know how they will react to a newborn. If you have a friend with a baby, you could invite them over so your cat or dog will be more desensitized to the sight, smells, and sounds of children. If this isn’t an option, you could use a baby doll as practice: go through the motions of changing and feeding the doll around your pet; get them used to seeing the bundle in your arms and train them to stay out of your lap when a baby is occupying it instead. Consider using baby lotions and powder on yourself so your pet gets used to the smells, and try playing recordings of babies’ cries at random intervals so the sound isn’t such a shock to your cat or dogs’ system. Take them in to the vet for a wellness checkup and make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date. If, up until now, your family pet has been your ‘baby’, try to limit the amount of attention you give him or her so they gain more of a sense of independence, as most of your attention will be taken by your newborn and you don’t want your pet to feel resentment toward your child.
In addition to taking a child care class or two, you should spend this time arming yourself with knowledge about caring for your infant. There are many resources on the internet and in books about this subject, and you should be well versed and informed on the important subjects, such as changing, bathing, and feeding your infant, as well as ways to best help your baby establish good sleeping habits(your body will thank you later). You should also know how to gauge the health and growth of your baby, as well as when it is essential to take your child to the hospital. It’s a good idea to attempt to enlist an experienced mother to be around at least some of the time to help you in this overwhelming time, just make sure they are not the overbearing type that will criticize everything you’ve done wrong and leave you more stressed. Don’t let yourself stress too much over doing everything right; keep in mind your baby will probably be the most forgiving of anyone, and they most likely will not even notice if you mess up on something small.
Now is also the time to find one of the most important people in your child’s life: a pediatrician! Explore the options your hospital offers, and talk to your friends and family to see if they have any recommendations. Check with your health insurance provider to find out how to add your child to your policy to make sure they are covered as soon as they are born.
The last month of pregnancy can be extremely stressful, so make sure you try to make time for yourself and enlist help of others as you finalize everything for your baby. Remember, the more steps you take now, the easier you will have it later and you can focus more on enjoying time with your newborn!