- Women's Health
How to Get Ready for Your Baby During Pregnancy
Get Ready for Baby
Get Ready for Baby During Pregnancy
Once a woman has found out she's pregnant, she will usually begin planning the future for the new baby:
What am I going to name him or her? What theme should the nursery be? How will I afford a new baby? What am I going to do about maternity leave?
Preparing for a new baby is all part of the pregnancy process. The good news is, as long as you're not a woman who found out in labor that she is pregnant, then you have about nine months to complete all of your planning and tasks. Learn how to prepare for your baby by staying healthy, considering your finances, planning for maternity leave, setting up the baby's nursery, planning for daycare or staying home, choosing baby names, and talking to the baby's older siblings.
Health During Pregnancy
One of the first and best things you can do for your baby is to be a healthy mom during your pregnancy. Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, taking prenatal vitamins, staying hydrated, and getting exercise are just some of the things you should be doing now to stay healthy for your baby.
Another part of pregnancy health is to consider how you're gaining weight. Gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy is key to having a healthy baby, having an uncomplicated delivery, and recovering postpartum. For those who are in a healthy weight range, gaining about 25-35 pounds. Depending if you are over or underweight, you may be asked to gain less or sometimes more. Whatever you gain, just remember that it's best to gain the weight slowly and steadily.
Having trouble sleeping? Guess what: that may be your body's way of preparing you for sleepless nights with the baby. When the baby is born, you can kiss sleeping through the night goodbye, at least for a few years (or more if you have more children!).
Until the birth of your baby, try to get as much rest as possible, even if it means taking a few naps during the day and getting a super comfy pillow for the night.
Have you considered yet how much a baby's needs and supplies cost for one year? Depending on preferences and lifestyles, it can cost anywhere from $1,500-$9,000 to support a baby for one year.
Seems like a lot, right? It is. To see how the baby's needs and supplies add up, visit Baby Expenses.
It's best to start saving money and figuring out how you're going to pay for the baby's needs and supplies while you're pregnant. Here's a few things to do:
- Create a family budget. If there's room in the budget for saving extra money, set aside some money each month for future baby costs.
- Consider a baby shower registry. A baby shower registry will definitely help those having their first baby or having a baby a long while after having other kids.
- Look into coupons, rewards programs, or free samples/supplies. Start by registering with diaper companies, baby food companies, formula companies, etc. By signing up, you may get access to special promotions, free samples, and rewards programs that can help save you money in the future.
By doing these few things before the baby arrives, you'll be financially ready to handle the needs of your baby.
Money Saving Tips for Babies
Get Samples of Baby Diapers
- Diaper Sample Packs, Variety Packs, Great Baby Shower Gifts
Diaper Dabbler allows you to try different brands and varieties of baby diapers for the cost of only 1 box of diapers! I reviewed them on my blog Mommy Knows What's Best and I think it's a great idea for new parents!
Maternity Leave Rights
If you are working while pregnant, you should start looking into your maternity leave rights. By law, specifically the Family and Medical Leave Act, companies or businesses with at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius need to provide at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any twelve month period to their employees. This law covers pregnancy complications and the birth of your child.
For more details about this law, especially about who is covered, visit "How Does FMLA Work?"
If you will be taking maternity leave, you need to start thinking about it and planning for your leave at least when you're in the second trimester of pregnancy. You'll need to give your employers at least 30 days in advance (or however many days are stated in your company's policies), plus you may need to think about if you are going to use any vacation or sick time to pay for some or all of your leave. Another consideration would be if you are going to use all or some of the twelve weeks, or if you are planning to become a stay at home parent instead.
Before your leave, it would be wise to help train the person who will be taking your position while you are away. It would also be a good idea to finish up any projects that you know the specifics of so that someone else doesn't need to quickly learn what needs to be done and potentially make a mess of what you started.
Take note: at no time should you be made to feel uncomfortable or be harassed for being pregnant while you are still working. Pregnant workers are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, even when asking for maternity leave or while on family leave.
When Should I Tell My Boss I'm Pregnant?
Most women wait until the 2nd trimester, but when did you tell your boss you were expecting?
How to Choose a Daycare for Your Baby
If you will be returning to work after the baby is born, you should begin looking for a reliable and trustworthy daycare now. Many daycares have waiting lists, and you may need a few months to find a place that you like.
Here are some options for daycare:
- A relative or friend who can trust to care for your children.
- A daycare center for working parents within your company.
- A daycare that provides educational opportunities as the children grow.
- An in-home daycare, with services provided by a certified adult.
No matter where you choose to send your child, make sure you visit to see what it's like and how the adults handle the children. How many adults are there per child? What are the rules about dropping off or picking up kids? Are all of the state and local permits and codes available and being met? How much does it cost on a weekly or monthly basis?
If you are satisfied with a daycare, place your name on the waiting list. Make sure to check in with the daycare a few weeks before your child will be attending to see if your spot is still available and what you might need to prepare to bring to the daycare for your child (diapers, food, etc.).
Becoming a Stay at Home Mom
Many new moms think about becoming a stay at home parent when they first become pregnant. For me, it wasn't until I had my second daughter that I realized it was the right choice for me.
No matter when you decide, being a stay at home mom can be very rewarding, although it may present some challenges especially when you're used to working or having a second income. Before you make the decision to stay home with your baby, consider these things:
- Can your family handle the typical financial demands on only one paycheck? If not, how can you adjust your budget to meet those demands?
- Are you willing to take on most of the house work and child care?
- Is being home with your children better than being in a day care or other child care facility?
- Does your spouse or partner support your decision to stay home? If not, what do they think is the best solution for your family?
- Are you used to being in a social environment? If you choose to stay home, how will you make the connection to the outside world?
These are just a few things to consider, but they are definitely worth having a discussion before the baby is born. For more about how to be a successful stay at home parent, visit this article.
How to Choose a Baby Name
One of my favorite things during my pregnancies was choosing the baby names. I felt that it was quite an honor to be the one to bestow a name that would be my child's for the rest of his or her life!
Daunting task, right? Choosing a baby name can be fun, but you should consider a few things about what names you choose:
- How do the names work with the last name(s)?
- Will there be a middle name?
- Will you choose a popular name or one that is unique?
- What nicknames can be derived from the name?
- Will the name be that of a family member or friend?
- Will the spelling be traditional or something different?
- What does the name mean and what is it's origin?
I have two perspectives when it comes to a child's name: that of a parent and that of a teacher. When choosing my own children's names, I chose names that both my husband and I could agree on, plus suited our tastes and the wish for the names to not be one of our former students' names.
As a teacher, I felt terrible when I came across a name I couldn't pronounce, or when I heard a child being called a nickname that they clearly were not comfortable with. Be mindful of these things when naming your child for the sake of your child.
Baby Nursery Ideas
Another fun part of pregnancy is preparing a room or nursery for your baby. Of course, this brings up another question: will you find out the gender of the baby before he or she is born? If so, then you can design your baby's nursery for the gender of your baby. If not, you'll have to find some gender neutral items for the baby's nursery.
Here are some baby nursery ideas:
- Cars or trucks
- Under the sea
- Stars and Stripes
- Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey or Minnie Mouse
- Lion King
- Jungle animals
- Zoo animals
- Noah's Ark
- Precious Moments
- Geometric patterns
- Frogs and lily pads
- Sports teams
It's best to choose your theme, and then choose the paint. Trying to find bedding or décor to match the paint could be more difficult. Also, consider a color or theme that could grow with your child. Using a neutral color for the baby nursery could be useful when transforming the nursery to a preschooler-approved bedroom.
Preparing Siblings for a New Baby
If this isn't your first baby, you'll have to prepare the older siblings for their new brother or sister. How you do it depends on how old your children are and what they are able to understand.
Here are some tips to prepare young siblings for a new baby:
- Wait until you pass into the second trimester before announcing your pregnancy to siblings. If you announce the new baby too early and heaven forbid you should have a miscarriage, it may be difficult to explain the loss, especially to younger children.
- Keep the explanations simple. There's no need to start explaining the birds and the bees with young children (although it might not hurt with much older siblings!). Something like "Mommy and Daddy love each other, and love you, so we decided to have a new brother or sister for you to grow up with" will do.
- Talk about their babyhood. Talk to your child about when he or she was a baby, and show him or her their baby pictures. Show them pictures of feedings, bath time, lovies, nurseries, etc. and tell them stories of what they were like as babies.
- Let them in on the decision making. Let your kids be a part of the preparation process. Let them help you pick out décor for the nursery or a few new bottles. Ask them what they would name the baby (my son wanted to name my daughter 'Wampi' and the new baby 'Sheldon'...yeah, not so much). If they feel that they are a part of the process, jealousy of all that is happening is less likely to occur.
While these tips could work for older children as well, you could be more frank with them and explain their new role as an older brother or sister and what their new responsibilities may be when helping you with the baby.