Alright, we aren't talking about the typical things like registering for baby supplies and setting up the nursery. This is about all the things that will hit you suddenly that you may want to get a head start on now (so you're not sitting on google for hours stressing out about what the baby should sleep in). I'm not stacked with all the answers, but I'll open up the thoughts and even give you a list of unique things to prepare for.
The Big Ones:
Nesting- I know I said I wouldn't be talking about the "normal things" but you definitely want to nest, and I suggest using that built up energy to PURGE and get rid of all the crap in your home because babies bring in A LOT of stuff. Also, consider deep cleaning your carpets because babies put their hands in their mouths non-stop. Download this nesting checklist to help you along the way!
Breastfeeding/Pumping- Make yourself familiar with ALL the products. If your planning to breastfeed I still suggest having a pump in your home and familiarizing yourself on how to use it (like watching a YouTube video or following an IG account). If you don't plan on breastfeeding than you will want to make sure to prep bottles, pumps, washing station, sanitizer, milk bags, and the space in your freezer.
Food- This was the most recommended thing to prepare... EVERY MOM SUGGESTS IT! An entire freezer full of meals, soups, crock pot recipes, breakfast sandwiches, etc will still not be enough. Make as much as you can before hand. In addition to that take time to set up an online order with some easy postpartum foods to be delivered when you get home from the hospital, and consider a meal train where friends and family can sign up to deliver meals!
Along with food, you can stock up on household items you know you'll need or even pet food and treats (or subscribe and save through amazon)!
Housework- Talk with your family (or anyone willing to help) and establish expectations for the first few weeks, months, etc. Consider hiring a cleaning service if you know this will be too much on your plate.
Paperwork- Grab a binder or make a filing system for important papers, birth certificate, vaccine records, etc.
Plan ahead- Plan annual appointments for mom & dad (dentist, doctor, ophthalmologists, etc) and try to get these checked off if possible!
Pamper Yourself- haircut, eyebrows, nails, maybe a MOVIE? Do things that will make you feel good because time will fly by and you'll realize its been 6 months since you shaved your legs.... speaking from experience here.
Educate Now, Stress Less Later:
Now below is a big list of things that would be beneficial to be aware of. I'm not saying you need to be an expert in everything, but it's all common things that will more than likely cross your path so researching now will save you the stress later. Plus, some of these are good conversations to start with your spouse BEFORE baby comes!
CPR/First Aid- Consider taking a class at the hospital and make sure you have a first aid kit in your home!
Learn a bit about jaundice, lip/tongue ties, and other things that may affect your newborn baby. The more we know, the less scary it is if it happens!
Prepare yourself for a C-Section & recovery regardless of the type of birth you want.
RESEARCH circumcision. If you decide to go forth with it, make sure you are prepared for the recovery.
Learn about breastfeeding and alternative feeding methods. There are some incredible social media accounts that offer courses (check out my breastfeeding highlight on Instagram), along with other online schools, and even your hospital! I highly recommend being as educated as possible so that you can be as confident as possible no matter what happens.
Understand how to safely co-sleep and bed share (EVEN IF YOU DON'T PLAN TO). Learn how to SAFELY co-sleep because more likely than not it will happen at least once with your little one. (@co-sleepy on instagram is a great place to start!)
Research safe baby sleep as well as what they should wear, what the temperature in the home should be, sleep training etc) *sleep is a CONFUSING one, so the more prepared you are the better.
Educate yourself on baby schedules. It can be confusing trying to figure out how much they should sleep, when they should eat, or what to do while they are awake. At the very least have an understanding of the first month with baby to get your started and feeling confident. If your using the "What to Expect App" Continue using it!
Create a v-ccine schedule that works for your family; whether its the CDC recommend schedule or a modified version. If you want to learn more I highly recommend Dr. Green Moms V-ccine course (use code jessicahaizman10 for 10% off) for an unbiased education on baby v-ccines.
Your pediatrician will more than likely keep you updated on baby milestones but again, the more you know.
Babies are sensitive to the toxic ingredients that saturate our world, so spend some time learning about non-toxic baby products. I highly suggest @just.ingredients on instagram as a starting place.
Familiarize yourself with feeding baby (baby food vs. purees vs. baby led weaning) and spend some time learning about fostering a healthy relationship to food/sugar.
Consider quantity, quality, purpose when it comes to baby toys. (we love Lovevery!)
Learn about different types of baby wearing and practice!
Consider types of schooling (public, private, home school, alternative)
Explore positives and negatives related to devices and screen time
Get up to date on car seat safety and how to properly install and use your specific car seat and base. @safeintheseat on Instagram is an amazing resource!
Focus on Mom
Postpartum is an intense time as a mom. You have a newborn baby demanding all your attention, you are most likely not sleeping as well as normal, and through all this your body is recovery from a HUGE event. Below are things that you can set up NOW, to prepare for that crazy time.
PT- Interview/set up a postpartum appointment with a Pelvic Floor Therapist. (Don't wait till your ready to see one to start looking!)
LS -Interview and schedule an appointment with a Lactation Specialist before or after (some hospitals provide a lactation specialist in the hospital but I highly recommend seeing one for as long as you need).
Chiro- Enjoy Chiropractic adjustment and massage throughout your pregnancy AND after birth.
Postpartum Norms- Educate yourself on what your body will be going through. Your body will be healing, your hormones will be a roller coaster, and you will be trying to navigate a new bond with your baby- learn what you can about postpartum so that you can support your body.
Stock up on Essentials- Here is my list of postpartum must haves on amazon so you can make your very own postpartum basket.
Family Support- Have conversations with your family and partner on how they can support you.
Supplements- Keep taking prenatal or postnatal even after you have baby!
Family is Important
Right off the bat moms are expected to continue loving spouse, kids, pets, while still giving their all to their newborn child. We're superhero's, total superhero's.
Siblings- Talk with other kids, create plans for right after birth (i.e where they will be, who will be caring for them), plan to make them feel included and special once home!
Pets- Create plan for pets during birth (have an actual print out for dog sitter if necessary), learn about ways to introduce to baby, spend time training, have special toys to keep them occupied!
Spouse- Brainstorm ways to connect with spouse (when your exhausted and may not want to leave the house). My husband and I like to tell each other 3 things we love about the other before we go to sleep at night no matter what!
Who to Trust?
Pediatrician- Interview them until you find one you LOVE, it's never to early to start.
Daycare- get on waitlist ASAP. I'm not speaking, but the moms of Instagram highly suggest getting on a waitlist as soon as you find out your pregnant because the WAIT is REAL!
Babysitter/Nanny- Establish your plan, conduct interviews, express expectations, etc.
Establish a birth plan that aligns with your values and share with your care team (here is what mine looked like)
Familiarize yourself with maternity leave/FMLA policies and paperwork
Learn how to add baby to insurance, get social security card and birth certificate.
Check in with your budget. Make sure you include maternity leave, baby expenses, utility costs with being home more, etc.
Set bills to auto-pay so you don't miss anything.
Create a plan for savings, investments, and college fund for baby
Construct or edit your written WILL to include baby
Other things to think about:
Holidays: what will holidays look like with a baby?
Visitors: how can you preparing for visitors and set any necessary boundaries?
What type of baby book do you want (bonus if you start it before baby comes, add in maternity and baby shower photos ahead of time)
Where will you keep thoughts, notes, letters? Email account, on the notes app of your phone, a physical journal, on a pad of sticky notes?
Announcements- Pick out the cards and pre-address envelopes so you can easily add a photo in and send out.