It’s been almost nine months, and the day you’ve been anticipating is practically here. You bought all the baby gear, taken a few child-birthing classes and even washed all your baby’s clothes. Now all you have to do is wait for him (or her) to make their grand entrance…right?
While you may think you have all the baby bases covered, it doesn’t hurt to double-check that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure a smooth arrival. Here’s some things you may have inadvertently overlooked—and what you still have a chance to take care of before the big day.
Packed and Prepared
Your hospital bag is one of those items that can be casually tossed aside—both literally and figuratively. While there’s no need to pack everything under the sun, having the comforts of home at your disposal is essential when you’ve just experienced something as overwhelming as childbirth.
Certified baby planner Ali North with Sweet Expectations of Los Angeles (www.sweetexpectationsbabyplanner.com) offers the following checklist for your hospital bag:
· Insurance card
· Photo I.D.
· Video camera
· Still camera
· Cell phone charger
· Toiletries and make-up
· At least 2 pairs of pajamas
· Nursing pillow and bra
· Maternity or loose-fitting clothes to wear home
· Outfit for baby to wear home that is warm, has legs and includes a cap
Just because mom has her list, doesn’t mean dads don’t have their own ideas of what they’d want to have on hand. North suggests fathers to be pack snacks and water (to keep up their sustenance during a potentially length delivery), a cell phone charger and photo I.D.
Before Heading Out
Now that your bags are packed, ensuring that your home is well-equipped is next on the agenda. Registered nurse and founder of Lavender Baby Nurse Lindsay Pascoe (www.lavenderbabynurse.com) recommends arranging your baby’s nursery and assembling as much baby gear as possible in advance. “The last thing you’ll have the time or energy for after birth is setting up your bassinet or swing,” she says. “You’ll want everything to be ready and waiting for you when you get home, so you can just focus on bonding and snuggling with your little one.”
That being said, whipping up a batch of meals in advance enables you to enjoy home-cooked food once you’re back settled at home. “Make it a fun date night with your partner,” she suggests. “Put on some tunes and cook up a couple of meals you can freeze for the postpartum days.”
North suggests getting all the necessary paperwork in place, so you’re not completing forms in a sleep-deprived state. “Your hospital should guide you on exactly what to do during postpartum, but you should check with your health insurance provider about certain things [how many nights are covered with vaginal and/or C-section births and whether or not your deductible will be met] before you deliver,” she advises.
An Extra Pair of Hands
After birth, new moms may benefit from some extra help with their newborn. Pascoe details the advantages that a baby nurse can afford a new mother. “With a baby nurse there to help care for your little one at night, you’ll at least be enjoying longer stretches of sleep that will allow you to more rested and alert during the day,” she says. “She’ll also help to ensure that your recovery is going well and that breastfeeding is off to a good start.”
If you decide to go the baby nurse route, North suggests going through an agency or working with a certified baby planner to locate a reputable source. “Baby nurses should be trained extensively with newborn care, have glowing references and clean background checks,” she advises.
The cost of a regular baby nurse can be pricey—North quotes anywhere from $375-$700 a day—but some insurance plans offer reimbursement, so check with your healthcare provider.
Regardless of what you’ll pay, insiders believe the baby nurse benefits far outweigh the cost. Lavender baby nurses provide specialized training in infant massage and developmental care, in addition to traditional services. “Remember to begin looking early, as experienced baby nurses can be in high demand and book up well in advance,” says Pascoe.
Last but Not Least
No much how much you prepare, as new moms quickly learn, there’s bound to be some aspect of those first few weeks that will go awry. To help parents feel more in control, North advises her clients to come up pressing new parenting questions like ‘Who will do the laundry/cook/run errands?’ and ‘How long will dad be home before going back to work?’ beforehand and then write out their answers. “Keep the list posted after the baby arrives,” she suggests, so you and your partner can refer to it whenever necessary.
And when all else fails, keep in mind that parenting is always a work in progress. “Every mother should be proud of herself for the most awesome of feats: bringing a life into the world,” says North. And even on a difficult day with a newborn, maintaining that mindset can be the best preparation of all.