No matter how much you prepare beforehand, there’s no denying that a new baby is a life-changing event. Preparing for baby comes in many forms, and making some lifestyle changes to help your pregnancy run smoothly is often the first step. Having some big conversations and planning ahead can ease your worries about what parenthood means for you and your family. So how can you prepare for a baby? Here are our top tips.
In this article: 📝
- How to prepare for a baby
- How do I prepare for my first baby?
- Preparing for a newborn
- And two bonus tips, because people also ask…
How to prepare for a baby
To be honest, there’s no way to be fully prepared for a baby (sorry!)… but these ideas might help!
Tip #1 — Eat right
You’ve probably already heard that eating well during pregnancy is super important. No shame about the occasional donut or bag of chips (those cravings are hard to ignore), but as much as you can, focus on nutrient-dense foods to help baby grow and keep you feeling energized. Folate, iron, calcium, and DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) are all key nutrients for healthy fetal development. Try to eat a diverse diet of lean proteins, eggs, legumes, fatty fish, whole grains, dairy, and of course, plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
Tip #2 — Exercise
A great way to ward off common aches and pains and help with birth and postpartum recovery is to find a pregnancy-safe exercise that you enjoy. Staying active will also help when you need to bounce, rock, and cradle your newborn for seemingly hours on end!
Tip #3 — Think about work
So you’ve just found out your wonderful news and your brain immediately switches to practical mode, thinking “what am I going to do about my job?!” Even if you’re not ready to tell your boss yet, it’s never too early to scope out your company’s maternity leave policy. Speak with your partner or family about how long you’d like to have off work and how your return to work might look.
Tip #4 — Research child care options
While your little one is still tucked away in your bump, it might seem ludicrous to be planning their child care. But having a plan in place will help if you return to work. If you have a specific child care center you want to use, you may need to get on a waitlist. If you’re unsure of your options, going on tours of centers and speaking with local nannies can help you get a better sense of your preferences and budget.
Tip #5 — Postpartum you
It’s likely that once your little peanut makes their arrival, you’ll find your own self-care tumbling down the list of priorities. So, get prepped ahead of time with some must-have postpartum items. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about anything too glamorous, just the essentials, like maternity pads and comfy underwear. You’ll also want to have nursing bras, breast pads, breastfeeding-friendly tops, and a pump if you’re planning on breastfeeding.
How do I prepare for my first baby?
Preparing for a baby as a first-time mom can seem overwhelming. Preparing for baby checklists can help you feel some kind of control, if you’re the kind of person who loves checking things off a list (and who doesn’t?).
Tip #6 — Buy your baby essentials
Try not to get sucked into all the fancy advertising! A baby doesn’t actually need much. You should be looking for items like a car seat, stroller, and crib or bassinet that all meet safety requirements. Your baby will need diapers (cloth or disposables), wipes, swaddles or blankets, and a range of clothing to suit the weather. If you’re unsure, talk to other Peanut mamas to find out their best buys!
We prepared this guide with the 24 baby essentials you’ll need.
Tip #7 — Sign up for a birth class
Especially for first-time moms, going to a birth class with your partner can help you understand the logistics of birth. Learn things like signs of early labor, when to go to the hospital, and different pain medications and types of birth, like inductions. It can help you feel a whole lot more prepared as the weeks tick past.
Tip #8 — Make a birth plan
Tip #9 — Prepare your partner
The non-pregnant partner in a relationship can often feel a little left out of the pregnancy experience, especially with a first baby. Have frequent conversations about birth, your postpartum recovery, and practical stuff like the division of chores after the baby arrives.
Preparing for a newborn
With the brain fog that often comes with the newborn phase, it can be hard to feel on top of your game, but you know what? All your newborn baby really needs is you.
Tip #10 — Hire a doula?
A doula is a specialized support person to guide you through your birth and/or postpartum period. If you don’t have a large support network around you, a doula could offer the extra care you might need once your baby is here.
Tip #11 — Attend a childcare class
If you’ve never changed a diaper or swaddled a baby before, a child care class could be what you need to get the basics of newborn baby care covered. They’re often run by hospitals or birthing centers, so ask for a recommendation at your next prenatal appointment.
And two bonus tips, because people also ask…
How much money should you have saved before you have a baby?
This is really subjective, and there’s no magic number. But pregnancy can be a great time to make some budget adjustments – skipping your daily latte (cliche, we know) might pay for the bassinet, or paying off some debt before the baby arrives might ease the load once you’re on maternity leave. Babies can sometimes mean tax breaks and government payments, so check out your eligibility, too.
How to prepare a dog for baby
If your family already includes a fur-baby, prep them for the big arrival. Playing recordings of babies crying or fussing can help desensitize them to these noises. Introduce them to babies in your family or friend group so they can get used to tiny humans!
💡 More from The 411:
How Having a Baby Changes Your Life
What To Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant
Pregnancy Must-Haves: Top 10 Pregnancy Products by Peanut
Preparing for Childbirth: Helpful Things to Know
Signs That Labor is 24–48 Hours Away