Congratulations! You’re about to embark on the most exciting, fulfilling journey of your life – parenthood. Welcoming a newborn into the world is a huge step, and as wonderful as it is, it can also be overwhelming.
If you’re among the millions of first-time parents this year, you might not even know where to start when it comes to how to prepare for a newborn. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Outlined below is a step-by-step guide to baby preparedness. After you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be ready to bring your newborn home.
1. Get Your Healthcare in Order
The first steps you need to take when preparing for a newborn have to do with healthcare. Before anything else, you’ll need to contact your health insurance company to determine what they cover in terms of prenatal care, childbirth, and antenatal costs.
Many plans are required to cover pregnancy and childbirth costs, but even if you think you fall in this category, you should call your insurance company to confirm. You also need to start thinking about your baby’s health insurance. For the first month or two of their life, they’ll be included under your plan, but will need their own after that.
After you have the insurance aspect settled, you need to choose a healthcare provider. You’ll need either an OBGYN, a midwife, or both, depending on your birth plan. There’s no wrong choice here, but if you have an underlying condition or high-risk pregnancy, an OBGYN is the better option.
2. Discuss Family Leave With Your Employer
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, as a new mother, you’re entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave after giving birth. However, this might be in part or totally unpaid.
In order to plan accordingly, both you and your partner need to discuss family leave with your employers. Find out how much time you can take off, how much of it will be paid, and what kind of paternity leave options your partner might have.
Doing this as early as possible is recommended, as it will give your employers time to prepare for your absence and give you enough time to do any financial and life planning necessary before the time comes.
3. Organize Your Finances
Speaking of financial planning, it’s essential that you organize your finances before the arrival of your newborn. Babies are extremely expensive in terms of food and clothes alone. But when you factor in baby safety, hygiene, healthcare, and education later in life, you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Ideally, you will have set up a savings account for your baby well in advance. However, it’s never too late to start if you haven’t.
With your partner, draw up a budget for at least the first year of your baby’s life. It’s a good idea to start planning for the future as well by setting up a savings account or college fund for your little one. Yes, it’s early, but you’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead in a couple of decades.
4. Make Your Birth Plan
We mentioned before that the type of healthcare provider you need will depend on your unique birth plan. Well, it’s time to make one.
Now, keep in mind that a birth plan is what will happen in your ideal birth. No one can predict the future and circumstances may arise that force you to deviate from your plan. That said, it’s still good to have one, as it will not only bring you comfort but help you mentally prepare for the big day.
Think about all aspects of your ideal birth. Are you at home or in a hospital? Do you have an epidural or are you going without? Are you in a bed or a tub?
Write down everything you’d like to happen when you give birth and bring your plan to your midwife or OBGYN to discuss it. They’ll be able to guide you along the way and talk you through possible scenarios and what can and can’t happen.
5. Babyproof Your Home
At this point, it might be wise to sign up for a few infant care classes if you’re worried about how to watch a newborn. But whether you take these classes or not, you need to take the time to babyproof your home.
It will be a while before your baby is developed enough to get into things in your home, but it’s much more difficult to babyproof when you’re trying to care for a newborn at the same time. As your little one reaches different baby milestones, you might need to update your babyproofing, but here are some of the basics of how to keep a baby safe:
- Cover outlets with safety guards
- Place baby gates on stairs
- Hide electrical cords
- Put locks on cabinets, garbage cans, and toilets
- Store toxic substances out of reach
- Pull all furniture away from the crib
This is also a great time to tackle any small repairs you’ve been putting off. Remember, you’re going to have your hands full with your new baby once they arrive. Replace burnt-out lightbulbs, change out faulty faucets, repair sticking doors, etc.
Learn How to Prepare for a Newborn to Parent Like a Pro
Bringing a baby into your home is probably the biggest life change you’re ever going to go through, which is why it’s so important to learn how to prepare for a newborn beforehand. Using this guide, you’ll be as ready as you can be for your little one.
That said, remember that babies don’t come with instruction manuals. Even the most well-prepared parents are going to make mistakes along the way, and that’s okay! All that matters is that you’re doing your best.
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