8 Tips to Prepare for a Baby

These helpful things can ease your mind.

Having a baby means your life is about to change in weird and wonderful ways. These tips can help get you ready.

  1. Learn infant CPR: Becoming certified in infant CPR takes about 5 hours, which is an easy commitment before the baby arrives—but you’ll be hard-pressed to find that time once you’re tending to a newborn.  Classes usually cost about $50 per person and are offered at hospitals or at local chapters of the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
  2. Install the car seat: The safest spot for a newborn is in the middle of the back seat, facing backwards. Your local police or fire station can double-check your work. You can also find a car seat fitting station by calling 1-866-SEAT-CHECK or visiting seatcheck.org.
  3. Choose a pediatrician:  You’ll be asked to select your baby’s doctor while you’re still in the hospital. Do your homework ahead of time by asking other parents for names of local doctors and what they like—or don’t—about them. Visit a few practices, find out which ones accept your insurance, and request a brief meeting with the physicians.
  4. Take a tour: If you plan to give birth at a hospital, arrange to tour its maternity ward, ask which rooms offer features that interest you, such as whirlpool tubs, and find out how much it costs to upgrade to a private room.
  5. Cook ahead: Late pregnancy often brings with it a furious nesting phase. Harness it by prepping and freezing a few favorite meals, preferably comfort foods.
  6. Buy a nightlight or power up the flashlights:  In the coming months, you’ll be padding around the house in the wee hours, and the last thing you want is harsh lighting. Fuel your flashlights with fresh batteries or consider investing in the portable and rechargeable Mobi Tykelight ($30 at getmobi.com).  Bonus: As your child ages, it becomes a glowing buddy that will help him or her drift off to sleep.
  7. Get to know the breast pump: If you haven’t used one before, you may think the breast pump looks like a Rube Goldberg device. Take some time to assemble it, peruse the owner’s manual and learn how to sterilize it. Pumping with confidence can make a huge difference.
  8. Relax, and you’ll be ready for this next stage: People have been having babies forever. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be doing what’s best for your baby.
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