Preparing for the birth of your child is an exciting, and anxious, time. As my belly grew larger, and the kicks got harder, I began to worry about whether or not I would be ready to give birth. It was my last days of pregnancy and I immediately sought advice: from moms, the Internet, and (of course) What to Expect. Every mother has advice on what is best, but it ultimately comes down to what YOU want and need. Instead of telling you what you should do, here is some advice for last days of pregnancy to help you decide what you would like for when your little one makes their debut.
Preparing Baby Checklist for Last Days Of Pregnancy
Preparing Baby Checklist Top Priority: You (and Your Partner)
Last days of pregnancy and everyone tells you to bring your birth plan, clothes, granny panties for that unsightly “after” period, but there are some things that get pushed aside. At the end of the day, you will need a change (or several) of clothes, toiletries, etc. but you also have to take care of your overall health.
Some things to consider are:
• Comfy clothes: for the drive home – you will be sore from either birth or surgery and will want to be comfortable.
• Snacks: not only will you need to eat, but so will your partner. Bring some snacks, and/or money for vending machines, to keep your energy up after your baby is born (while you will be running on adrenaline those first few nights, it is important to take time to eat so that neither of you burn out).
• Something to pass the time: unless you have been able to schedule your birth, and sometime even if you are, you will want something to keep you busy as the time goes by – try some of your favorite movies or books, maybe even a project (knitting is great!) to keep you occupied until you’re ready to go
• Electronics: one of the biggest regrets is not having your phone charger! Make sure you pack a spare, just in case. Also, if you so choose, a camera and/or video camera. Either your partner or a nurse will be happy to take pictures of the big arrival and you’ll be happy to have those with you!
Preparing Baby Checklist Top Priority: Your Baby
You don’t need to bring the whole nursery, but having a few essentials will help you bond with your new baby, and help them prepare for life outside your womb.
• Clothes: Bring a couple different sizes – ultrasounds can aid in estimating the size of your baby, but those are only estimates. You’ll want some clothes (aside from the ones your hospital gives you) and also want some options for traveling home.
• Swaddle Cloths/Sacks: These make a world of a difference! I was against them at first, but they really help your baby sleep better AND longer!
• Preferred Items: cloth diapers? specific soaps? Make sure you bring them with you! The hospital team will gladly use them for you and your baby. If you are using formula, feel free to bring your preferred formula to try and see how baby does (you’re already in the hospital so why not see how baby reacts?)
Other Things to Consider:
While there are “essentials” for every birth, there are a few odds and ends that are worth considering:
• Ways to soothe yourself: whether it’s certain music, smells, or a personal blanket/pillow you are going to want to make sure that you have something there to aid in stress relief – those hospital beds are not comfortable and you will be happy they are there.
• Breast Pump: If you’ve never used one before, it’s a great time to learn! The hospital staff will happily help you learn to use your pump. It is NEVER too early to grow your milk supply (especially if you’re planning on returning to work.)
• Nipple Shields: (If you are planning to breast feed.) The hospital may have some, but these are great for first time moms. Not every body knows how to work and needs trained, so do some babies. Having nipple shields help to ease the frustration of poor latching and eases your mind about feeding your baby while still offering the bond and benefits of breastfeeding. (Note: you can gradually switch to bare breast once your baby has established a good latch.)
• Pacifiers, gripe water, etc.: While some doctors will encourage you to wait, it is never a bad idea to have these things on hand! If your baby is colicky, why not have something on hand to try to soothe them.
• Guest Book: if you decide to have visitors, it is a fun idea to have a guest book for people to sign! They can jot down their first impressions of your little one and help create a fun keepsake for you to share with your bundle of joy down the road.
Preparing baby checklist is a fun and exciting time. Once you have things ready to go, it is never a bad idea to have them ready to go in the car (one less thing to worry about!) Keep in mind that this is a personal experience and you have to do what is best for you and your baby! Not everything will go as planned – I know mine didn’t – so being overly prepared is never a bad thing!
One last piece of advice for preparing baby checklist? Try to relax. I know this is hard as you’re uncomfortable and anxious about your new arrival, but try to soak up these last few moments of your pregnancy. While it is wonderful having your baby in your arms to hold and kiss, there is nothing like having that little life inside of you and before long you will miss those little kicks. Talk to your baby and enjoy knowing that you are ready for them to enter the world.