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Baby on the Way: Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Newborn
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Welcoming a new baby into the world is such an exciting time—congratulations to your family from all of us at First 5 California! But it can also be a little overwhelming trying to get everything done in the months before birth. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to make the transition as stress-free as possible so you can focus on making memories with your baby.

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The most important steps to take are to make sure you’ve confirmed your birth plan with your doctor, doula, or other birth helpers. Your birth plan includes your preferences for labor and delivery, such as the following:

  • List your doctor or birth helper’s name and contact information, as well as the location where you’re planning to give birth. It will be helpful to have this handy when the big day comes!

  • Describe the environment you’d like to give birth in. This can include anything from the music you’d like to be playing in the background to whom you want in the room with you. Consider your labor preferences. Would you prefer to walk around the room? Or would you rather give birth in a small pool? Some caregivers use birthing stools or chairs. If you’d like to learn more, your birth helper will be able to walk you through some different options so you can find one that feels right to you.

  • Many caregivers also include their preference about pain medication. Some people who give birth request an epidural, a drug that numbs your lower body. Whereas other caregivers explore pain management techniques like massage or breathing exercises. It’s completely up to the preference of the person giving birth, and you can always change your mind.

Outside of your birth plan, there are so many fun ways to prepare for your new baby and build your excitement for welcoming them into the world.

  • Prepare your baby’s space, starting with finding an age-appropriate crib. Cribs for Kids is a great resource to find free or discounted cribs for infants. They also provide information about safe sleeping for infants. A rocking chair is also a great addition to any baby space, especially for feeding time.

  • Get a car seat and set it up in your vehicle. Many hospitals will require that you have a properly installed car seat before you leave with your newborn, so this is a good one to check off the list before you welcome your baby to the world. The California Office of Traffic Safety has a portal to connect you with organizations in your county that might offer free car seats. Many organizations like AAA, local fire stations, and more also offer free car seat fittings by appointment. Kid Travel provides more resources for free or discounted car seats, as well as information on where you can get your car seat inspected.

  • Order your free Kit for New Parents. First 5 California is proud to provide all new parents in California with a free kit with a Numbers Touch-and-Feel book, What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick book, and more. Kits are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Sign up to receive yours.

  • Stock up on diapers—you’ll need more than you think you will! Some caregivers prefer reusable cloth diapers to eliminate extra waste and avoid buying a large number of diapers throughout infancy. If you or someone you know is in need of free diapers, SupplyBank.org provides a list of resources in counties across California.

  • If possible, prepare some freezer meals ahead of time. Finding time to make meals can be difficult once the new baby arrives. You’ll thank yourself later for having meals ready! Communicate with family and friends about your birth plan and what support you need from them. Your support network can help prepare food, babysit any older children, and more.

  • If you have an older child, prepare them for their new sibling. This article can help.

  • Practice the drive to the hospital or the location where you’re planning to give birth. Pack your bag for the hospital, and make sure to include at least one comfy change of clothes for the person giving birth and a change of clothes for your newborn.

First 5 California
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