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What you need to do before the baby is born

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Your baby is due in a few weeks (or months) - are you ready? Following is a list with some recommendations of some things you may need to do ahead of time. The more you can accomplish ahead of time, the easier your time will be after the baby's arrival.


  • Arrange for help around the house, if possible – meals, cleaning, laundry.  Let friends, church members, relatives help you.
  • Ask your physician about when to call when you are in labor, who & where to call.
  • Attend a breastfeeding class.
  • Attend a newborn care class.
  • Check with the hospital and your physician to find out what they require or recommend to do before the baby is born.
  • Choose and purchase diapers.
  • Clean, organize, cook and get other chores done ahead of time.
  • Consider cover mattress, chair, car in plastic sheet, shower curtain or towels in case your water breaks (a few weeks before).
  • Cook ahead and freeze meals
  • Decide about breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding.
  • Decide about circumcision (if having a boy).
  • Decide about cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers.
  • Decide where your baby will sleep – in a crib, bassinet, in your room, in their own room.
  • Fill out hospital paperwork.
  • Fill the car up with gas, and then refill often – so that you have plenty of gas in the car.
  • Find out if your grocery store will deliver.
  • Gather a collection of take-out and delivery menus, and set aside cash for food orders.
  • Gather all items on “baby items – first 2 months” list.
  • Go to a birthing class.
  • If you have older children, pack up items for your child while you are in labor (for them to bring to the hospital & spend time with the baby, and for them to have with them while they are with a friend/family during labor) – change of clothes, entertainment, snacks, drinks, toiletries, toys.
  • If you will be returning to work, research daycare options.
  • Look ahead to see what events are coming up that you need to purchase gifts for – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, showers, wedding presents, parties, … Shopping is difficult after baby arrives, so shop early.  Stock up on gift bags, wrapping paper, greeting cards, scotch tape.
  • Make sure digital camera has a fully charged battery and clear memory card.
  • Make sure you have a reliable method of reaching your partner (pager, cell phone, …) for when you go into labor.
  • Make sure you have your ID card, insurance card and money for co-payment in your wallet.
  • Make your home safe for the baby.
  • Pack diaper bag (see “baby diaper bag packing list”).
  • Pack items from “hospital labor, delivery packing list” (see list).
  • Pack up items for your partner during your hospital stay.
  • Pamper yourself! Get a pedicure. Relax. Take a soothing bath. Indulge in your favorite hobby. Spend time with friends. Enjoy yourself!
  • Pay bills.
  • Pick out birth announcements. Put together a list of people to send to.  Locate addresses. Address and stamp envelopes.
  • Plan out menus, review recipes, purchase ingredients.
  • Practice breathing, relaxation and positioning techniques.
  • Practice the route to the hospital and approximately how long it will take to drive there.
  • Prepare a list of people to e-mail after the birth of your baby.  Set up a e-mail group, or draft an e-mail. Start the e-mail so your partner or friend can just fill in the blanks - .date, time, baby’s full name, length, weight.  Instruct your partner how to send the e-mail and attach a photo.
  • Prepare a room or place in your home for the baby to call their own – a quiet place to sleep, storage for clothing, supplies and diaper changing station(s).
  • Prepare your pet for the adjustment of the new baby.
  • Purchase all baby items needed for the first 2 months, or pull out of storage & clean up.
  • Put the Federally approved car seat in the car, and learn how to use it.
  • Read a baby book.
  • Refill prescriptions.
  • Review your medical insurance policy and make sure there are no recent changes.
  • Review your will and other legal plans.
  • Run errands.
  • Select a physician (pediatrician or family practice) to be your baby's doctor. Meet the doctor. Arrange for them to visit the hospital.
  • Send out thank you notes for any gifts you have already received.
  • Set up a blog or photo-sharing web site to show off photos of your new baby.
  • Set up a changing table or place to change diapers (or consider setting up stations throughout the house for changing diapers – a basket on every floor with diapers, wipes, ointments, change of clothes, trash).
  • Set up the crib, bassinet and/or play pen. Make sure it meets current safety standards.
  • Shop for and stock up on staple and convenience items (paper products, toilet paper, toiletries, frozen meals, food, …).
  • Start your baby’s scrapbook – gather scrapbook supplies.
  • Stock up an extra supply of baby items to keep in your car – for when you don’t have you what need in your diaper bag when away from home – diapers, wipes, bottle, formula, bottled water, trash bag, change of clothes, toy,  blanket.
  • Stock up on sanitary supplies.
  • Talk to your older children about the upcoming birth of your child.
  • Tour the hospital where you will deliver.
  • Wash all the baby’s clothing, towels, and bedding in baby detergent before using.
  • Wash bottles, pacifiers and other baby items.
  • Wash the bedding and make baby bed(s).
  • Wrap up your volunteer and work responsibilities, pass along duties to someone else.

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