10 Practical Ways to Prepare for a Newborn
First time parents and not sure where to start when it comes to your pregnancy to-do list? Wondering what the must-haves are for your registry? From health insurance to baby gear, we have all the bases covered.
How to Prepare for a Baby
As new parents, the last thing you want to do is overlook a vital step or something important that will make labor and first few days at home more difficult. Here’s a list of things to do when preparing for a newborn:
- Check health insurance coverage
- Choose a healthcare provider
- Plan your family leave
- Do some financial planning
- Create a birth plan
- Find a pediatrician
- Take childbirth and infant-care classes
- Do essential home repairs
- Plan your childcare
- Plan your baby gear & setup your registry
We provide more detail on each of these baby prep steps below.
Check your health insurance coverage
Wondering how much it will cost you to bring your baby into the world? Under the current Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), qualified health plans are required to cover pregnancy and childbirth costs as well as a range of counseling and screening tests for pregnant women and newborns.
But if you had your insurance plan before the introduction of Obamacare in 2010, it might be “grandfathered” and won’t necessarily cover your antenatal or childbirth costs. The best way to find out what your plan covers is to call your insurance company with a list of questions and take detailed notes.
This is also a good time to enquire about adding your baby to your plan. Your newborn should be covered by your insurance for the first month or two of life, but after that they will need to be added on as a separate person.
Choose a healthcare provider
As soon as you see those two pink lines appear, it’s time to start shopping around for an OBGYN or a midwife depending on the type of birth experience you’re hoping to have. A midwife can help you have a more personalized and natural birth with fewer medical interventions, while an OBGYN is your best choice if you have a serious medical condition or plan on having a C-section.
Other factors you should take into consideration are recommendations from friends, your personal connection with the provider, and whether your health insurance covers their services.
For more tips, read: How to choose an OBGYN
Plan your family leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles certain employees to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave when they have a baby. Your employer may also offer a certain number of weeks of paid maternity leave and your partner may be entitled to paid paternity leave. Depending on your workplace, you may be able to fill in any gaps with sick days and vacation days. Enquire about your options early so you have time to plan and fill out the necessary forms.
For more information as to the eligibility criteria, review the United States Department of Labor site for more information.
Do some financial planning
It’s no secret that children are expensive! It’s a good idea to map out a budget not only for the first year of your baby’s life, but also for more long-term expenses such as education and extracurricular activities.
Consider setting up a savings account or a 529 College Savings Plan for your little one. You can then make monthly contributions and ask grandparents or other close family members to chip in. The good news is 529 plans come with tax benefits, so don’t forget to look into those offered in your state.
Create a birth plan
C-section or water birth? In a hospital or at home? Epidural or all-natural? There are so many decisions to be made when it comes to your ideal childbirth scenario, so it’s best to write down all your preferences and discuss them with your OBGYN or midwife. Not sure where to start? Read: How to write a birth plan. Don’t forget to pack your hospital bag, too!
Find a pediatrician
With all your attention focused on your pregnancy and delivery, it can be easy to forget about finding a doctor to care for your little one once they’ve made their grand entrance into the world. Recommendations from friends and family are always your best bet, or try the American Academy of Pediatrics’ online search tool for a pediatrician in your area.
Take childbirth and infant-care classes
Contractions and breastfeeding and swaddling, oh my! A childbirth education class will teach you everything you need to know about labor and childbirth and help you approach the big day with confidence. Infant care classes cover everything from breastfeeding and bathing to swaddling and settling. You might also want to take an infant CPR class. Ask your doctor or do an online search for classes near you.
Do essential home repairs
Patching holes in the wall and replacing lightbulbs? Who has time for that with a newborn! Get all those home repairs and minor renovations done before baby arrives. If you and your partner aren’t handy, consider hiring a handyman.
Airtasker is a great place to get competitive quotes for any job you need done. If you plan on having any painting done, remember to do your research on safer, Low VOC paints in order to protect you, your growing baby and the rest of your family. Here is a great resource for non-toxic paint vendors.
Plan your childcare
If you’re planning on going back to work, you’ll need to plan your childcare sooner rather than later. Options include daycare centers, home daycares, nannies and care provided by family members. If you’re unsure what’s best for you, ask friends and other parents in your area for recommendations.
Plan your baby gear & set up your Baby Registry
To help you in your decision-making process, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite products, which have all passed the Tot Test for safety, innovation, quality and style. It’s a good idea to set up and install essential gear such as the car seat and crib several weeks before your due date in case your little one decides to turn up early!
For a more in-depth look at what you may like to include on your registry list and to view starter lists, visit The Tot Registry.
Our Baby Registry Must-Haves
The award-winning 2019 Nuna PIPA Lite LX Car Seat provides the ultimate in comfort and safety in a stylish, sustainably produced and flame-retardant free package, while the Nuna MIXX 2 is a fantastic lightweight stroller that provides comfort, safety and style.
While some people prefer a more traditional style baby carrier, many love the closeness a wrap provides. Whichever way you’re leaning, we can’t recommend Ergobaby and Solly Baby more!
Bassinet + Crib
Safe sleeping is the most important factor when choosing nursery and sleep gear. But that doesn’t mean it can’t look fab too! Tried and trusted by parents at The Tot, we can’t stop raving about these options from Halo and Million Dollar Baby Classic. The Halo Bassinet rotates 360 degrees and can be adjusted to any bed height, while the Million Dollar Baby Darlington Crib grows with your child and eventually becomes a full size bed.
Available in more colors
While dedicated changing tables are fantastic, it’s not always an option if you’re tight for space and money. Try opting for a dresser and then adding a removable changing pad or tray like Olli Ella’s Reva Changing Basket.
When you have a baby, suddenly you have stuff! Wet wipes, diapers, changes of clothing, hats, teethers and hopefully a place to store your sanity. Since we’re all about versatility (and being hands-free) we like the JEM + BEA Denim Backpack!
Small and lightweight, the Elvie Pump is worn inside a standard nursing bra, making it a comfortable, discreet and stress-free way to express milk.
Versatile and comfortable, nursing pillows can be used as pregnancy pillows (great for propping between your legs to alleviate hip pain), for feeding, for holding a baby during a flight, for helping your baby learn to sit up and more. Made from a non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials, we are all about the Nook Niche Feeding Pillow.
Ranging from $119 – $129
Available in more colors
The lightweight Stokke Flexibath can be used at home or while traveling to bathe children from birth to four years. The included newborn support provides the support newborns need to bathe safely and freely. Use it to store toys in once you no longer use it as a bath.
In the first few months of their lives, babies spend a lot of time on their backs. Designed to grow with them through every stage of muscle strengthening, the Lovevery Play Gym comes with exercises for parents and babies to do to help them reach each important developmental milestone.
The Fridababy Bitty Bundle of Joy is the perfect starter collection of all-natural, safe and effective fuss-busters recommended by pediatricians and parents. The Toolkit includes:
- 1 NoseFrida the SnotSucker,
- 24 NoseFrida Hygiene Filters
- 10-pack Windi the GasPasser
- 1 NailFrida the SnipperClipper set
- 1 Fridet the MomWasher with waterproof Fridet pouch
Because babies have such delicate skin, we only choose organic or naturally hypoallergenic materials like pima cotton. Exclusively available at The Tot, HART + LAND have created a line of basics and pajamas that will make getting dressed and out the door with your baby an absolute breeze.