10 practical ways to prep for a new baby - TheTot

10 practical ways to prep for a new baby

Don’t know where to start when it comes to your pregnancy to-do list? From health insurance to baby gear, we have all the bases covered.

Photo by Syrie Wongkaew

Preparing for the arrival of a baby can cause even the most zen mamas-to-be to break into a nervous sweat. Take a deep breath and remember that the key to staying calm as your belly expands is careful planning. Our easy step-by-step guide takes all the guesswork out of prepping for parenthood. You’ve got this!

  1. 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.

Helpful resources:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Plan your baby gear & set up your Baby Registry

The vast array of available baby products can be overwhelming. 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 tips on planning your Baby Registry, take a look at our Founder, Nasiba Adilova’s definitive guide to baby gear. To talk to someone about setting up a Tot Baby Registry, contact our Registry Concierge team for more information.


The Tot Gear Picks


Choosing a car seat and a stroller are two of the most important decisions you’ll make because you have to consider a range of factors including safety and your family’s specific needs. To help you decide, we’ve put together guides on picking the right car seat and stroller. Here are our top picks:


Safe sleeping is the most important factor when choosing nursery and sleep gear. But that doesn’t mean it can’t look fab too!


There’s nothing worse than running out of supplies in the middle of the night, so stock up on diapers, a natural diapering balm, and chemical-free wipes such as Water Wipes before baby arrives. You’ll also need these diapering essentials on hand.


At times, it will feel like your little bundle of joy does nothing but guzzle milk 24/7. Having the right feeding products will make your life so much easier.

Bath time

What better way to help your baby relax and unwind before bedtime than with a soothing bath?

Play time

Babies learn about the world through play. Enhance their play time with these high-quality toys and accessories.

Baby clothes

While you might be really excited to race out and buy lots of cute little outfits for your baby, just remember that for now, you really only need the basics to begin with. Now that doesn’t mean the basics can’t be super cute!

  1. 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.

  1. 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 on Non-toxic paint vendors.

  1. 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.

Helpful resource:

  1. 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.



By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson