The backaches have become constant and sleep at night is a daily challenge. Exhaustion kicks in just from taking a few steps. Congrats on making it to your third trimester! Your doctor has told you that the due date is nearing and it is time to prepare for the arrival of your little one. Most first-time mothers and even some who have had children before can find themselves getting a little flustered thinking about how to prepare for the hospitalization and the postpartum period.
Getting prepared in advance for this joyful period is the key to navigating through it smoothly. And what better way to prepare for something than to make a small checklist that you can cross off as and when they are completed. Here we present to you a simple checklist that can help you breeze through the process.
1. Get the baby’s bag ready
Clothes for the newborn are at the top of the list. While shopping for them, keep in mind that babies grow quickly and it is easy to overdo the number of clothes being bought for the baby. Clothes that are labelled as a newborn will typically fit a baby up to one month, after which they will outgrow them.
You will need to pack an assortment of onesies, socks, swaddles, sweaters, towels, sheets, and sleepers in the bag. Baby skin is extremely sensitive, so it helps to wash even new clothes with baby-safe detergent before first use.
Do not over-pack. The baby does not require an entire wardrobe. Pack enough for a few days. Keep in mind that both you and your baby need only the necessary items.
2. Pack a bag for yourself
It is not just the baby that needs clothes. It takes some time for the weight to drop off on a new mother, and this is normal. But clothes used during the third trimester may not work as well during postpartum due to the added breastfeeding. Wraparound dresses and robes, shirts work well for breastfeeding by providing easy access for nursing. Getting a few nursing bras is also a good idea. Get bottom wear that is roomy and comfy.
3. Get the hospital ready
Talk to your doctor and call up the hospital and get yourself registered. With most hospitals that handle deliveries, it is easy to keep a room on standby so that you are not left without a hospital bed or even worse, room, on the day of the delivery. Check if you are required to undergo any tests before your delivery. If any are required, reconfirm your appointments with the hospital staff. This will make admission easy when you are in labour.
On the family front, although your husband will be around on the big day, he also might need a few short breaks. Talk to your immediate family – mother, sister, mother-in-law, cousins – anyone who might be willing to help out for a few days. Whether at the hospital or taking care of things in the house like cooking or taking care of other children, this will take a lot off your shoulders.
4. Getting your home ready
There are multiple parts to getting your home ready to welcome your newborn.
Clean the house thoroughly. Owing to their highly sensitive nature, babies can catch allergies and fall sick quite easily. Cleaning your house thoroughly before their arrival can take care of most of these problems. Get help where required and make sure everything is spic and span.
Decide where your baby is going to sleep. It is recommended that you set up a small nursery nook in your bedroom so that you do not have to walk around the house in the middle of the night for feeding. This saves you some energy, as well as the baby, can be soothed sooner. If there is not enough space in the bedroom for the baby’s cot, it is recommended that the mother shift to the baby’s room for the first few months.
If you plan on having a nursery that the baby will be sleeping in, make sure that it is painted at least a week before your due date. This will give you enough time to add furniture to the room. The toxic paint fumes will not be a matter of concern as well. You can decorate the nursery during this time as well. Remember, comfort is key.
Have changing stations ready. Deciding where you are going to change your baby’s clothes and diapers beforehand can save a lot of stress after the baby arrives. Set up a changing station with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and a changing pad somewhere in the house. Do not forget a dustbin around this for proper waste disposal. If your house is large or has more than one floor, it makes sense to have multiple stations like one upstairs and one downstairs, so a station is easily accessible wherever you are.
Get nursing stations ready. A nursing station is a corner of a room that you will be comfortable in while breastfeeding. Keeping a couple of items like your books, iPad, some snacks will keep you entertained through the nursing process. For the baby, keep items like a nursing pillow, a swaddle, and a burp cloth handy. Choose a comfortable chair that you can sit on during your feeding session. It would be ideal if the chair has arms that will support your hands while you feed.
A new mother would prefer to feed while lying down. So, keep a few cushions handy to support your back while feeding. The nursing station can also have a few towels to handle any unexpected spillage.
Stock up on easy-to-prep meals and ingredients. You will be hard-pressed for time once the baby arrives and stocking up on the right kind of food will make things much easier. High energy foods like granola bars and smoothie bowls are easy to prep and will come together in a jiffy. You can also make boxes of food and freeze them for the postpartum period. You can also freeze a few meals that can be defrosted and used.
Get your car ready
Getting a car seat installed will show your responsibility as a parent. Get a good quality car seat installed, preferably in the back seat of your car. It has to be facing backward and make sure all the install points are followed and fastened properly. It also helps to have wipes, some diapers, and blankets in the car. Make sure that your car is cleaned thoroughly. Dust mites can affect your newborn’s health. Take out the trash that has accumulated in your car. It would be a good idea to get a professional clean-up.
The feeding equipment that you use need not just be feeding bottles. Most newborn babies do not feed on bottles and are breastfed. But it is important to make sure that any clothes that you will use while feeding, are clean.
In some cases, a newborn mother might need a breast pump, to help during feeding time. This is not a necessity. So, pack a sterilized breast pump in your baby bag.
Most importantly, remember that having a baby is a major change in your life. Your lifestyle undergoes a radical upheaval. You are responsible for another life, and between feeds, baths, quality time, and all the excitement, you may suddenly find yourself with no ‘me-time.’ So, it is important that you keep some time aside for yourself. This is the time when you can enjoy your pregnancy. It is also your calm before the storm. Relax, sleep and exercise so that you are ready for your little wonder. Catch up on your sleep, because your baby will determine your sleep patterns for the next few months.