You've taken the test, you've jumped for joy, you've had the ultrasound and seen the little hands and feet. Now the work begins: it's time to prepare your life and home for the tiniest member of the family. Here are some things to keep in mind in the months, weeks, and days before bringing home your baby:
1. Babies need a lot of things.
2. Those things they need are expensive.
3. You need to make sure you have all of the expensive things both they and you need. You don't need to go over the top. If you can afford a $2,000 stroller, great, but it's not necessary.
There are three phases of baby preparedness:
Make sure you're ready to give birth. Parenting or birth classes, top-tier doctors whom you trust, and plenty of talks with current parents are all essential in making you feel as ready as possible before you start toting around your little, bald-headed plus-one. It will also be essential to prepare other members of your household for the baby, including older siblings who may need to be walked through the process of welcoming a new life into their world. And the closer you get to labor, be sure to have transportation – and backup transportation... and backup backup. And don't forget a hospital bag full of traveling essentials that will be ready for grabbing at a moment's notice.
Make sure you're ready for day-to-day baby care. And that means being prepared for any and every scenario. Specifically, you should focus on getting the little one's nursery ready, stocking up on diapers, selecting baby food, baby gear, and making a readily available list of must-have doctors’ phone numbers in case of any question or emergency. Make some easy-to-heat meals for yourself in advance so you won't have to cook after early hour baby feedings – you’re going to be pretty tired.
Get ready to call in help. Finally, when you're ready, don’t be afraid to call in plenty of help from friends and family until you get the hang of your new baby life. When you first get home, you're going to be tired. And probably a ball of happy/excited/nervous emotions. If people are offering to help out, don't be shy – accept it! At the same time, guests can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for both you and the baby. Don't feel rushed. Have your partner act as the company gatekeeper while you rest and become comfortable with your new situation.
For more info on preparing for your baby, there are hundreds – nay, thousands – of guidebooks at your disposal. Luckily, lots of other people have done this before. Don't worry. You'll do awesome!
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.