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14 Things That Need To Be Done When You're Having A Baby


This article is from the General Pregnancy FAQ, by swnymph@FensEnde.com (Sabrina Cuddy) with numerous contributions by others.

14 Things That Need To Be Done When You're Having A Baby

At 14 weeks - start asking questions about when to do what.... :-).

> Things I have done already include:
> - began taking folic acid (did this when we started trying) & other vitamins

All good. BTW: For the last one - I'd suggest having a look at some of
the 'diets' the books suggest, such as WTEWYE "Best Odds" diet. There
is a point at which you should start being careful about vitamin
supplements - some are not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Anyway, your OB should be able to fill you in. It should be possible to
get everything you need through diet, barring those weird and wonderful
(not!) shortages that your body invents during pregnancy -
Magnesium/Potassium and Calcium leap to mind for a few people I know -
when you do need extras.

> - buy maternity clothes
or borrow ? My wife, Julie, got a fair proportion from friends. As you
see stuff, and as your current clothes get uncomfortable. Julie used
an elastic band to extend the reach of her jeans etc. for a few weeks
(during winter, with longish jumpers :-) ).

> - begin looking at daycare centers
A.S.A.P. Get onto lists early (we submitted as soon as we
had a confirmed pregnancy - 6+ weeks ?). It varies by country/state/city
but if you're on the list early it removes a stress. Funny thing - I was
skulking around centres, checking them out, before we even announced
we were trying (let alone successful :-)) and we were worried about
getting caught by somebody we knew :-). Both of you check out a set
and make a shortlist. Revisit the shortlisted ones together. See which
both of you like.

> After that, WHEN (or at least in what order) do I do the following:
> - move furniture to create a nursery
When you have the urge/energy to. In our case we did it over the
last 3 months, and with two weeks to go still have a bit to do.

> - buy major baby items (crib, carseat, stroller, etc.)
Is this your first baby ? Consider if the newly pending grandparents
are likely to spring for big ticket items. Again, also see if somebody
will lend you one - e.g. our cot has been used by 15 babies so far :-).
The only big thing we bought was a pram/stroller (at 13 weeks :-) ), as
they were on sale. If space is at a premium you'll have to slowly
adapt your household, we did!...

> - buy baby clothes and minor items
Again, take it easy before buying stuff. You may get many gifts
along the way. Certainly don't buy toys and such - they're an obvious
gift. We've bought the bare minimum for the hospital and the first few days
at home (clothes, that is), the rest we've received via gifts. Not knowing
the gender stops some people, so we request green things :-). There is
time, even after birth, to fill in some gaps in our stocks....

> - take birthing class
Absolutely. We had a debate a while back - is it better to have it early
or later ? With Julie tiredness became a bit of a problem (classes went
past her bedtime :-)). Also, we learnt some physio techniques that would
have been useful earlier. OTOH, some aspects of labour we didn't
want to know about at all :) - so too early would just have given us more
time to get stressed.... We had ours from week 33-37, and coped just fine.

> - develop a birth plan
as above. Probably after/during the birthing classes, once you are
really well informed. Those books can't cover everything you ever wanted
to ask !

> - select a hospital
That came first with us, then the OBs from the (only slightly)
restricted sample. A good OBs is valuable, a good hospital invaluable

> - see financial planner about investments and insurance
> - rewrite will and designate guardian
Something that can be done at almost any stage - if you're in the mood, go
for it !

> - look at home care and nannies
You probably already have a gut feeling if you're going to need one, or
even want one. Now, it may be a difficult birth, or your baby may be
stressful to take care of, in which case a 'possibly not' becomes 'heck yes!'.
You want to know who to call on ommediately. I'd suggest checking your options
early. Recommendation: "What to expect the first year" has a section on
just this topic, including how the father gets involved. Check it out.

> - make final decision on daycare
Not sure if I understand that right. It may be decided for you, depending
on waiting lists...

> - choose names
Half our shortlist was chosen before we got pregnant :-). The other half
was chosen, then dropped, then picked up again only a few weeks back.
Some friends have noted that when the baby arrived they didn't think their
chosen name(s) fitted, and changed it on the spot ! Have them ready
and comfortable before the day, but be flexible :-).

> - read up on baby care
when not reading about mother-care-during-pregnancy ! Be informed.
Before the birth don't worry about anything beyond the first 6 weeks of
baby's life - by that stage you'll develop your own routine. Knowing about
all the funny things the pregnant body does is very helpful - you and
your partner should know the index of your favourite pregnancy book ! :-).

> - pack hospital bag
To be honest - Julie chose not to pack nearly anything until it's very
close - she's worried that the earlier she packs the later rugrat will
arrive ! Know what you need to take (hospital/OB will tell you), and
perhaps stockpile it. You can add to it over the last 3 months, perhaps
leave stuff out...

> - select pediatrician
If you want to - we'll go with the hospital's choice for a while, as
we trust and like the hospital staff. We can always choose a different
one later. Perhaps ask friends for suggestions (pro/con) and have the
list ready if you need it.


Cuppla things: Take a look around the hospital, if your classes don't
give you a tour. Visit the nursery and the delivery rooms. Find out what they
provide for your comfort (TV ? showers ? Spa ?, beanbags ? pillows ?
heatpacks, coldpacks ? A bed that folds into any comfortable angle you
might like to be at during labour (including squatting, or over on your
hands and knees ?). Do the staff support you in your choices as to what
to do ? Are they strict on visiting hours ? (preferably fascist ! :-) ).
What can you do in/out of hours - who can you ring/talk to, where's the
doorbell when they lock the door overnight, can you come in for
reassurance and not feel guilty.... Do they support rooming-in (the baby)
or give you a choice to chop-and-change as needed ? The W.H.O. has
a set of guidelines for 'baby-friendly' hospitals - see if your choice
is one.

You may wish to do this very early, so that you're comfortable with
the hospital well before the big day arrives. If you don't like
it very much - choose another (if you can).

Another thing - book a *really* *relaxing* holiday for about week 24-26
(not much later than week 26 I'd suggest). We went on a houseboat,
self drive, room for 8 but only the two of us and Julie's grandmother
(who we get on with really well), took a bit over a week off. Julie's
batteries were draining rapidly by then - the holiday saved her.
She could then cope with working till week 37 (although she could have
left at week 34).

> I don't want to leave anything till the last second. But some things
> shouldn't be done too early, either. Please help me find the optimal time.

There t'aint no such beast - every pregnancy, every baby is different.
Take it very easy as you go, eat well, relax a lot, read, be happy,
talk with your partner, and do things as you feel comfortable with them.
Unlike a wedding, a pregancy knows no timetable and involves a third party
who has *never* read any of the books !!! Seriously - there's no
comparing the two.


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