After spending many months preparing for a new baby, it might seem like you’ve gotten absolutely everything taken care of. The nursery is perfect; those tiny socks are folded, and you’ve got a list of who to call when the big day finally arrives. But are you sure that you’ve really dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s? Here are five last-minute preparations that every mom needs to make before a new baby arrives.
1. Wash and dry all the baby clothes.
Those cute little tee-shirts and hats might look like your baby can wear them right away, but hold up! New clothes often have residue from manufacture and shipment and can cause rashes on sensitive baby skin. Used clothes may be even worse if they came from a home with pet hair, dust, or cigarette smoke. Run a load of laundry with all your baby clothes now, using a hypoallergenic baby-friendly detergent.
2. Install the car seat.
This is not something you want to put off until the last minute! Car seats can be extremely difficult and confusing to install, which is why more than 80% of parents do it incorrectly. You’ll want to make sure that you handle this quickly, since the hospital won’t let you leave without an appropriate car seat and since you’ll want to make sure it’s installed properly beforehand. Ask your local health department or fire department to double-check and make sure your car seat is appropriately installed.
3. Get the medication you need now.
If you take any medication on an ongoing basis, you’ll want to make sure you don’t run out during a critical time, such as right after the birth of your baby. If you’re nearing your due date, ask about getting a refill a week or two early on any medicine you might be running low on. Now’s also a good time to stock up on the postpartum medication you might need, like Tylenol, lanolin, hemorrhoid ointment, Epsom salts, stool softeners, and heating and cooling pads.
4. Get your “team” ready.
If you’ll be getting any help during or after childbirth, now’s the time to make sure everyone’s prepared to help out. Have phone numbers for friends, relatives, and babysitters who have volunteered their efforts either during labor or in the challenging weeks afterward. If anyone will be coming from out of town to visit you, make sure you know in advance where they’ll be staying. You don’t want surprise visitors overnighting in your house if you didn’t plan for it!
5. Arrange for a housesitter or petsitter.
Don’t let Fido and Fluffy– or your house plants– get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of having a new baby! You’ll be staying in the hospital for at least a day, and in complicated situations, it can add up to a week or more. This could leave you in a bind if you haven’t already arranged to have a friend (or someone else) swing by to take care of your pets and your home in your absence. Make sure you’ve got all these plans taken care of before, not after, you head to the hospital.
A new baby is an exciting addition to your family, with no time being more exciting than the final weeks as you await your little one’s arrival. Make sure you’ve got everything squared away beforehand, and you’ll be rewarded with less stress, fewer worries, and more time to bond with your new baby.