As baby planning consultants to expectant parents, our clients constantly ask us our advice on how best to prepare for baby.
While we’re not doctors or nurses or doulas, we are moms with a foothold in the industry who’ve done our research. And more and more and more research! We taste, touch, wear, carry, push, pull, and sleep with every single baby product and/or service that we can get our hands on! All of which allows us to provide up-to-date knowledge and information on all kinds of baby products from cribs to strollers to car seats to how to stock a nursery.
Of course we can talk for hours (and we do!) about the benefits of one stroller over another, which layette items are essential, and how to “interview” your pediatrician, but in addition to knowing where the baby is going to sleep and whether or not you’ll be using cloth or disposable diapers, here are a few other details to tend to. No they’re not quite as exciting as picking a name, but the following “must do’s” are always on The Baby Planners' checklist:
1.) Prepare a birth plan. A birth plan is your roadmap for how you’d like your birth experience to unfold. It’s meant to be a source of comfort and confidence but must remain flexible as no one can predict exactly how it will go. Basically, you should decide (before your water breaks) things like who you’d like in the delivery room with you (parents, in-laws, doula?) to whether or not you’re planning a natural birth (or if you’re open to medication should you need it). Discuss your birth plan with your partner and share it with your doctor. It’s important that you’re all on the same page now to avoid possible disappointment later.
2.) Have your infant car seat professionally installed. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 80 percent of car seats in use today are installed incorrectly. That’s a pretty scary statistic. The good news? It’s getting easier and easier to find a professional. Many baby retailers, from the larger chain stores to boutiques, now offer this service, sometimes even for free. There’s a great website we recommend for finding a certified car seat installer in your neighborhood. Simply plug in your zip code and you’re in for a smooth ride: http://www.seatcheck.org.
3.) Take an Infant CPR class. This is essential in preparing for your baby’s arrival. The idea behind it is to increase the likelihood of a good outcome in a potential life-threatening situation. A good CPR class not only gives you the basic skills you’ll need but also the confidence to handle even the most unpredictable event. Check with your local hospital, pediatrician, or the Red Cross for class information.