The months before you welcome your new baby are filled with anticipation, excitement, and love—but also stress. Knowing you’ll have little to no free time once your little one arrives, get a jump-start on these nine tasks before your due date.
1. GET A HANDLE ON YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE.
Look into your current health insurance plan to determine what it will cost to go through labor and delivery. Ask your insurance company if your premiums will increase after your baby’s birth, and find a pediatrician who accepts new patients and is within your network.
2. GET LIFE INSURANCE
At first blush it may seem morbid to think about life insurance when a new baby is on the way, but getting insured is an important part of protecting and creating a stable financial future for your family. Since every family’s insurance needs are different, speak with an insurance agent to discuss the appropriate coverage for your needs.
3. CREATE A STOCKPILE OF BABY ITEMS.
In order to make room for your new baby and all the accessories he or she requires, purge unnecessary items and clean your home. Then stock up on baby items, toiletries, and household cleaning products. Wash your baby’s clothing, create a space to store diapers, and buy plenty of bottles.
4. FIGURE OUT YOUR BIRTH PLAN.
Although your birth plan probably won’t go exactly as you intend, sketching out how you want your labor and delivery to go will bring you some peace of mind. Think about who will take you to the hospital, how you’ll get there, and what breathing exercises you’ll do in the midst of painful contractions. Also consider how much pain medicine you want, who you want in the delivery room with you, and if you’ll get your baby boy circumcised.
5. PREPARE YOUR OLDER CHILDREN.
If this baby isn’t your first, prepare your children emotionally for the new baby’s arrival and the imminent change to your family dynamic. Depending on how mature your child is, talk about how the baby will need extra attention and care. Spend one-on-one time with your child while you’re still pregnant, answering any questions she may have. You can also read relevant books together about becoming an older sibling.
6. SAVE MONEY.
Have a money meeting with your partner to discuss your budget, savings, any debt you have, and how you’ll pay for your baby’s needs. Think about your short-term needs (diapers, childcare) as well as long-term money goals (a college fund). Having a sufficient emergency savings fund will provide a financial cushion when unexpected baby-related costs come up. Saving money now by skipping dinners out, movie nights, and shopping sprees will help you provide for your baby when he or she arrives.
7. SCHEDULE MATERNITY LEAVE
If you work full-time, you’ll have to figure out your schedule for the next several months. How late into your pregnancy will you work? Health issues requiring bed rest may force your hand, and you’ll also have to work within your company’s maternity policies. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your company’s maternity and paternity leave procedures, train someone to temporarily replace you, and schedule your return date.
8. LEARN HOW TO KEEP YOUR BABY SAFE.
Local hospitals and community centers offer classes on infant CPR. You can also enroll in a prenatal class to learn techniques to get through childbirth, how to breastfeed, and what to do to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some classes even cover the basics, such as how to bathe and swaddle a baby.
9. PROPERLY INSTALL YOUR BABY’S CAR SEAT.
If you’re driving your new baby home from the hospital, you’ll need to have a car seat properly installed and ready to go. After you read the instructions and install the car seat, make sure you’ve done it right. For new parents who have never installed a car seat before, get a certified technician to check your work or contact the car seat manufacturer for help.