Congratulations – You Are Pregnant!
After the excitement of telling your family, friends and coworkers the realization begins to set in that this is both exciting and scary. Now is when you will start preparing for baby. As you progress through your pregnancy, questions swirl around from choosing a name, a pediatrician, what about my pets? What can I expect during my pregnancy?
To help expecting mothers, we compiled a few basics for you to prepare for your baby.
Importance of Post Natal Care
If you are at the planning stages of trying to conceive then you have a great opportunity in your hands! Now is the time – before you get pregnant – to get ready to have a baby. That means that starting at least 3 months before becoming pregnant birth you and your partner (yes both of you) can get your bodies ready to make the best possible baby you can make.
Mom can start her prenatal care even before she gets pregnant. Imagine, being able to help your baby before it’s even born! That is the power of prenatal care. Start preparing for your new baby before it’s even born.
If you smoke, then quit smoking. Stop drinking, start exercising (if you do not already) and start taking vitamins. In particular take Folic Acid supplements as it has been shown that this B vitamin can help prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy. Also quit any illegal drug use. Speak to your doctor about any medications you both currently use to see how they can affect your baby and to see if they are safe to continue taking. A man’s health can also affect the health of an unborn baby. Things like smoking – especially marijuana and alcohol. Both have been clinically proven to reduce the quality and quantity of sperm.
Once your pregnant, it’s time to head over to your doctor. (Don’t have one? Stop by or call any of our offices and we would be more than happy to set up an appointment – you’ll be glad you did!). Prenatal care is one of the most important things you can do for herself and baby. A healthy pregnancy is the best way to end up with a healthy healthy baby.
Choosing a Pediatrician
It may sound premature to think about picking a pediatrician when you have 9 months to go. But for that very reason, its best to start looking for one now – you only have 9 months – maybe less if the baby decides to come earlier. Picking a pediatrician is not as easy as it sounds and may take a while. For starters, make sure your pediatrician is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. This means that he or she was specially trained in the health and treatment of illnesses in children. There are a few ways to find a doctor – speak to your family and friends who have children and your OBGYN to get their recommendation.
Once you have a list of possible candidates then it’s time to hit the pavement! Pay a visit to each of the doctors on your list and ask if they can spend a few minutes with you. In essence, you will be interviewing each of the doctors. You should look for someone who you feel comfortable speaking to.
Some questions you may want to ask:
- What hospital is the doctor affiliated with?
- Is the doctor’s office located conveniently for you? Are his/her hours convenient for you?
- When you interview the doctor, did he/she seem amicable? Patient?
- What about the staff at the office – how did they treat you when you walked in?
- What is his/her policy on sick visits?
- How much notice do they need before you bring your child in? Some doctors (unbelievably) require appointments for sick visits.
The more comfortable you feel talking to your doctor and asking questions, the better it will be for your baby.
Making Your House Baby Proof
While this list is not exhaustive and cannot not guarantee that your home will be 100% baby proof, it is definitely a great way to lessen the chances of any accidents happening at home. Some common sense goes a long way! Print this list and have it handy as you walk around your house. It will help you to make your home as safe and secure as you can.
Living Room/Dining Area
- Wind up any hanging cords on blinds or curtains
- Lock up windows
- Put covers on all door knobs
- Cover all edges on desks, tables, and furniture with sharp pointy edges
- Secure furniture and tv’s to walls, including television stands
- Cover up your fireplace if you have one
- Insert safety covers on all outlet and power strips
- Gather up any loose electrical cords and tack onto wall or place inside a cord keeper
- Locks on all cabinets and drawer’s
- Covers on all outlets
- Locks on oven
- Covers for stove knobs
- Covers for burners
- Shield for stove
- All household cleaners and medications stored up high and locked away
- Covers for door knobs
- Covers for outlets
- Cover for bathtub spout
- Lock toilet bowl
- Non slip mats for both inside and outside the tub
- Turn down the temp of your water heater
- Keep all razors, blow dryers, curling irons, etc… stored out of the way and are unplugged. Also put away any cosmetics, tweezers etc..
Hall and Stairs
- Install gates at top and bottom of stairs
- Make sure stairs have non slip rugs or mats on them
- Cover up any outlets
- Get a nightlight for the hallway so you can see in dark if needed
- Cover all outlets
- Cover up all furniture edges
- Lock up drawers
- Secure furniture to walls
- Wind up any blind or curtain cords
- Do same with any loose electrical cords or cable/phone/internet/computer cords
- Lock up windows
The Rest of House
- Install carbon monoxide detector
- Install smoke detectors
- Lock your in-ground pool gate – install a gate if you do not have
- Have fire extinguishers throughout the house in case of a fire
- Get baby monitors
- Get locks and covers for all your exercise equipment or keep locked away in another room not accessible to the baby
Traveling with Baby
Truth be told, traveling with an infant is no fun. Most babies love a car ride but absolutely hate it when the car/bus/train stops! From personal experience, my youngest son would wail at every red light and be peacefully content as soon as the car went into motion. Just because you go on a trip, it does not mean that your baby will stop peeing, pooping or eating until you reach your destination. You still need to take care of your baby with the added pressure of having to soothe and/or entertain him/her while you are traveling. This goes double for a plane ride. The best thing to do is be prepared, have your partner, a family member or a friend come along with you to help out if possible.
Have your diaper bag ready to go at all times! Have it packed with a portable or disposable changing pad. It will act as a barrier between baby and the surface where you will change the baby.
Be sure to have plenty of diapers! Don’t get stuck having to buy diapers along the way. You would be surprised just how many diapers you go through when you’re on the road!
You will also want to pack at least a burping cloth as well as a bib. Babies are professional mess makers!
Bring some toys, books or anything that would be stimulating for your baby. Babies get bored just like we do!
Finally when you are ready to leave, don’t forget to pack your babies milk. If you breastfeed, pump beforehand and have a few bottles ready to go. Pack them in an insulated bag with an ice bag to keep them cool so they won’t spoil. If you use formula, do the same. If you use powdered formula, then even easier – bring a bottle of water and a few empty bottles with premeasured formula powder in them. All you would need to do is add the water and shake when baby is ready to eat. Also bring a pacifier if you baby uses one.
Pets and Baby
Welcoming a new baby is a happy and joyous time however your pets may not feel the same way. Much like a human being, pets can feel left out and ignored once the newest addition to your family is home and taking up all your attention. There are a few things you can do however to make the transition as peaceful as possible. For more details, read our post on Introducing Your Pet to Your New Baby. Some quick tips:
- Make sure to take your pet to the vet for a checkup as well as to be sure he is up to date with all his vaccinations
- Take your pet to a trainer or take a class so you can learn to address any unwanted behaviors from your pet
- Before baby comes home, play a recording of a baby crying so your pet gets used to the sounds of a baby
- Sprinkle baby powder or use baby lotion on yourself to him used the scent of a baby
- Most importantly NEVER leave your baby alone with your pet, make sure all interactions are supervised!
Preparing Your Other Children
Just like pets, your other children may feel jealous. Here is this newcomer who is going to take all of mommy and daddy’s attention! While that may be partly true, it is important to get your other children ready for your baby’s arrival. A preschooler for example does not understand the concept of time yet so telling him/her that the baby is coming in a few months will not mean much to your child. You can however try telling him that the baby will be here in the summer when it’s hot outside (or whichever season you expect your baby to be born). Preparing everyone before the newborn comes home is vital to keep your home as harmonious as possible.
Involve your older children in the care of the baby. It’s a win-win; bonding will happen between them and you will get much needed help. For them it means they are part of the family not being pushed away as “nuisances”.
Take out pictures of your children when they were babies and show them and remind them how special they are to you. Reaffirm to them your love and stress that you will always love them even after the baby is born. Be open to hear your child’s fears or concerns and encourage them to talk to you about them. You can take the opportunity to address any fears/concerns and reassure your child that although things may seem different when the baby is home, your love and caring for them will never change.
Once you are in your last trimester, start preparing your family for the eventual day when you will be running to the hospital. Start by having them help you pack your hospital bag. Explain to your children that you will have to go to the hospital but that you will be returning home a few days after the birth with the baby in tow. Once you are in the hospital have your children come to see the baby so they feel like they are being included. Make an effort to spend some alone time with each child so they feel like you still want to do things with them. Ask your other family members to also spend some alone time with them as this will make them feel special too. This is great opportunity for them to spend some quality dad time as well.
Firstly, if you are thinking about using an older sibling’s car set or a secondhand one please know that it may be dangerous. Why? Having an older seat means that the seat will probably not have the original instructions which means a) you may not install it properly b) you could me missing some important parts and will not know unless you can check the instruction manual. Also, the older the seat, the more likely the plastic the seat is made of is brittle.
This poses a danger to your baby because if there is an accident, it is possible for the brittle plastic to crack and break on impact. Safety Standards – these are updated all the time. If this seat does not meet the current standards, then there is a possibility that your child can have serious injuries in case of a crash. There have also been many recalls over the years and the second hand car seat you now have may have been recalled.
Preferably purchase the newest model car seat you can find. If you must use a second hand car seat, then be sure to get the manual that came with it or contact the manufacturer to send you one. Next check the manufacturer’s website to see if your car seat is on a recall list. A leading car seat safety organization recommends that the car seat be less than five years old.
Preparing Your Car
Once you have selected the car seat you will be using for your baby, then it’s time to make sure the seat belts on the back of your car are functioning properly. Sit in the back seat and buckle yourself in. Make sure you hear the telltale “click” sound of a properly locking seat buckle. Once you are sure the belt mechanism is in working order, install the car seat. Do not wait until the baby is born to install the seat. Prepare for your baby in stages for reduced stress – take it from me!
You can also prepare by:
- Getting a seat protector to place under the car seat. This will help save your rear seats from the sharp edges the seat may have that can damage your car’s rear seating surfaces
- Prep your seats with a stain guard. You can have your local car wash establishment apply it for you or you can do it yourself, just be sure to allow time to the coating to dry
- Purchasing a shade for your rear windows so the sun is not beating down on your baby. You can have the windows lightly tinted or simply buy a temporary shade and apply it via suction cup to the window
- Attaching a large, wrap around mirror to your existing rear view mirror. This will allow you to safely keep an eye on your baby while you are driving without the need to have to turn around. Next, install a headrest mirror while your baby is in a rear facing position so you will have full visibility
- Get a portable DVD player or tablet
Your Baby Bag
Mommy is the “Swiss Army Knife” of her baby. You have all the nifty and useful things that your baby will need to help make him comfortable. Just as we mentioned earlier in this article, having all the essentials in your bag is so vital for your baby’s comfort and also for your sanity!
Preparing the Baby Room
The baby’s room should be functional, reflect some of your personal style but not break the bank. To make it easier for you to figure out what you will need in the room, we will sift through what you definitely need versus what is “extra”. Once we establish the essentials if your budget allows, then go ahead and splurge on the extras!
Must Haves – Just the Basics
- Crib (brands safety record is more important than price)
- Crib mattress (go for the firmest and lightest)
- Diaper disposal pail
- Changing pad (any portable pad that is padded and you can place on any flat surface to change your baby)
- Bassinet (makes night time feedings easier, also helps reduce risk of SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome- by the simple fact that the closer your baby is to, the faster you will notice if anything goes wrong with your baby)
- Changing Table (try to get one with storage so you can store all the materials you will need to perform the diaper change like wipes, diapers etc…)
- Rocking Chair (rocking motion comforts baby)
- Baby Monitor (to keep any eye on the baby while you’re in another room)
- Mobile (hang inside the crib to play some soothing lullaby’s and give baby some visual stimulation)
- Night Light (keeps you from stumbling in the middle of night and helps baby learn to differentiate between daytime and night time)
- Table for Mom (place next to the rocker and have it filled with magazines, books, healthy snacks, water bottles etc…will come in handy when you are stuck on the rocking chair feeding baby or putting him to sleep)
Taking care of your baby will be hard at times but will always be an opportunity for you to bond with your baby. Every second that passes is a second less they are small. Appreciate these moments and cherish them as they are fleeting. If you need any help or have any questions, we here at the Birthing Center of NY are ready and more than happy to answer them for you. The Birthing Center’s Doctors and staff will help you in any way we can to be the best parent you can be. There are lots of resources on our website that you can access 24 hours a day. Additionally also have our doctors and staff just a phone call away – stop by our offices anytime! We will be glad to have you 🙂