For new parents-to-be, the final weeks of pregnancy are full of excitement, anticipation and a list of things to do. This is also an important time to soak in a little “you and me” time, while getting prepared for one of the biggest changes in your life – welcoming a new member to the family. Here are some tips for getting everything ready, while also enjoying the moment.
Select Your Pediatrician
Some parents know as soon as they are pregnant whom they would like to choose as their child’s pediatrician, while other parents might save this selection for later in the pregnancy. Before the baby arrives, make sure you have chosen the pediatrician who fits your family’s needs. You can schedule interviews with potential pediatricians to learn about their style, as well as compare criteria such as location, same-day scheduling and on-call schedule.
Tip: Utica Park Clinic offers an easy-to-use online search to help find pediatric providers.
Childcare/Future Work Plans
Much like choosing a pediatrician, selecting a childcare provider must be completed before the arrival of the baby if both parents plan on returning to work. Ask for referrals from friends, family and co-workers, who have children a few years older. Consider selection criteria such as proximity to work and home, before care and after care hours and child-to-caretaker ratio. You will also want to draft a few “Plan B’s” when your child is sick and you can’t miss work.
Tip: Some employers offer childcare for employees or other benefits such as flexible spending accounts. Check with your employer before leaving for maternity leave to learn more.
Birthing/Parenting Class Refresh
It may have been a few weeks since attending your birthing and parenting classes. Go over your notes and remind yourself what you need to know to be prepared. This is a good opportunity to talk with your partner about what to expect and any questions they may have. One thing most expectant parents want to know is “when do I go to the hospital?”
Tip: Take any questions you have to your weekly appointments with your OB/Gyn.
Make it a Date
Take advantage of this time to get out of the house for dinner or a movie, without a baby in tow. Plan a weekly outing with your partner and try to unwind. Anticipating the arrival of a baby can be a little stressful. Keep in mind these opportunities will become much less frequent and now is a great time to spend together.
Tip: Plan an outing shopping together to find baby’s outfit to wear home from the hospital.
Don’t Worry If It Isn’t All Organized
Expect the unexpected when you bring your bundle of joy home from the hospital. That means, if you don’t have all the outfits perfectly folded and put away, supplies organized and neatly placed on the changing table or every little shoe in the right place in the closet, don’t worry. You will find out quickly what you need to have within an arm’s reach as soon as baby comes home.
Tip: Keep a handy changing supplies tote packed and ready, even if you don’t plan on leaving home. You’ll be changing 8 to 10 diapers a day and may not want to go back to baby’s room every time.
Prepare Baby’s Gear
From the crib to car seat and stroller, get all the gear to keep baby safe ready well before the arrival. Make sure the crib is assembled according to instructions and has not been recalled. You can check for all product recalls online through the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Install the car seat to installation specifications. Finally, learn how to safely and easily unfold and fold the stroller. This may take a few tries.
Tip: Not sure if you have the car seat installed correctly? Stop by your local fire department. As long as they are not out on a call, they can check your car seat and make sure baby will be safe.
Put Your Feet Up
Finally, take breaks and take them often in the final weeks of your pregnancy. Take time to rest, put your feet up and tune into how your baby is doing. Count kicks and fetal movement. You probably know by now when your baby likes to be active and when they like to rest.
Tip: Count fetal movement when you know your baby is typically active. Lie down on your left side or sit quietly. If you notice any decrease in fetal movement, contact your health care provider.