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Tips to Prepare for Baby’s Arrival

So, what do you need to do before your baby arrives? Buying diapers is much needed, but there are plenty of other ways to prepare and ease your mind. We are going to cover some things that are essential in preparing for a baby.

Prepare your home

There are many things you can do around the house to feel organized and prepared to bring your baby home. We are going to cover a handful of helpful tips! You may find that you are cleaning out closets, washing everything in sight, and scrubbing things clean. It’s normal to feel this way during pregnancy, and it’s fondly called “nesting.” Let’s get into it:

  • Make meals ahead of time and freeze them (and ask family to help)
  • Stock up on all of your other essentials like toilet paper
  • Research and buy any postpartum supplies that you may need
  • Get the nursery ready (baby may sleep in your room in a bassinet etc for a while, but it’s nice to still have the nursery ready to go). Consider black-out curtains
  • Prepare other parts of the house- you will want baby supplies in your family room for when you’re camped out on the couch feeding baby and watching Survivor
  • Get breastfeeding and bottle essentials prepped
  • Prepare a couple of changing stations- one in nursery and one in family room (or wherever you hang out)
  • Make sure you have a Boppy or other feeding pillow
  • Get your car seat installed by an expert in your area
  • Choose a baby monitor- from audio to visual to motion sensors- lots to choose from
  • Have bath supplies ready
  • Organize your essential baby-calming tools: swaddling blankets, bouncy seat, swing, baby wrap (for wearing baby), pacifiers, whatever you plan to soothe baby with
  • Nightlights for when you’re stumbling around in the middle of the night
  • Baby proof your house- there are a million gadgets to help with this, but a BIG one is you must anchor heavy furniture! Please don’t skip this one!
  • Have all of your gear assembled and ready, like your crib, stroller, car seat, pack & play, bassinet, and more

Talk with your partner

There are so many things to discuss before your baby arrives, especially if it’s your first baby together. The more conversations you have with your partner in advance, the more likely it is that you will be in agreement and that things will go more smoothly.

Here are some examples of things to discuss:

  • Birth plan
  • Baby names
  • Sleeping arrangements
  • Feeding decisions (breast, bottle, both)
  • Who will be responsible for what duties/chores
  • Plans for caring for the baby
  • When you both will return to work
  • Pacifiers
  • Family visits
  • Daycare
  • Family babysitting
  • Cord blood
  • Fears and dreams
  • Pets
  • Circumcision
  • Parenting style/discipline
  • Religion

Health Insurance

Find out from your health insurance company what the process entails and how much it will cost to add a newborn to your policy. Changing from Employee or Employee/Spouse to Employee/ Family can have significant cost differences depending on your insurance plan and your employer, so it’s important to do some research before making the switch. If you and your partner are both employed and covered by a health insurance plan through your workplace, compare both the cost and benefits for a baby.

There are many things covered that you might not think of: prenatal testing, help for quitting smoking, breastfeeding counseling, a breast pump for home, and more. To help with pregnancy pain relief and postpartum recovery, many insurance companies will even pay for compression garments. In order to lessen discomfort associated with pregnancy, maternity support belts shift the weight of the baby away from the hips, lower back, and abdomen. Garments designed for postpartum recovery serve to support the hips and lower back in addition to providing stability for the abdomen. Compression socks can be helpful during pregnancy and postpartum. They are beneficial in reducing swelling and improving blood circulation. Check to see if your health insurance will cover the cost of these compression garments, just in case you end up needing them! 

Lastly, it’s a good idea to learn about your costs for having a baby and any guidelines your insurance provider may have, such as the maximum length of stay in the hospital.

Life insurance & Wills

If you don’t already have life insurance, now is the time! It’s possible that your employer offers some type of life insurance; however, remember that most insurance plans provided by employers do not offer nearly as much coverage as you would probably want for your family. So, while you’re getting ready for your baby’s arrival, take a look at life insurance, which may be less expensive than you think. A term policy for several hundred thousand dollars in coverage can be obtained for a few hundred dollars per year. The process can take a few weeks and usually includes a health exam, so be sure to plan ahead and have this done before the baby arrives.

You’ve probably never given much thought to having a will, but now is the time. You don’t want there to be any stressful situations surrounding the custody of your child if something were to happen to both you and your partner. Even though it’s unpleasant to plan for this, there are online services that make it easy and inexpensive to draft a valid will. Make sure that both your will and your partner’s will reflect your current wishes.

Employer policies

It’s also important to find out what your employer’s policies are around maternity/paternity leave. All employers must provide maternity leave to full-time employees, and an increasing number are also providing paternity leave. Some companies will even let you ease back into work by starting with shorter days or weeks. 

You can also ask about flexible spending accounts for medical expenses and child care expenses, and college savings accounts. You’ll never know what benefits are available to you unless you ask!

Learning the basics

Attend a course at the hospital where you will deliver your baby (or a nearby one if you are having a home birth). Chances are, a hospital in your area offers birthing and parenting classes. They usually include infant CPR and are not too expensive. You can also consider an online course for expecting parents.

The last thing I’m going to cover is a very important one… schedule your Philadelphia area maternity and newborn portrait sessions!

It’s best to have your sessions scheduled and planned ahead of time, so that you aren’t stressing about them when you are very pregnant or have a newborn at home. Let’s chat about your vision for your session and look at the schedule! Let’s chat!

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