This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy through the link, I may earn a commission. Learn More.
It’s nature’s cruel trick that you have so much prep work while also growing a baby inside of you.
Between pregnancy brain and varicose veins, you are bound to forget something.
Don’t worry: As long as you take care of these 10 things, you and your baby will be fine.
Things to Do Before Bringing Baby Home From the Hospital
There are far more than 10 things that need to be done for your child. Luckily, many of those things do not have deadlines.
For instance, your baby won’t mind if you don’t have a fully decorated nursery before you come home.
That is not the case with the following.
1. Stock Up on Diapers
Your baby is going to go through more diapers than you can imagine. Plan on at least 10 diapers per day the first month and about six per day thereafter.
When you stock up on diapers, make sure you get the right size. One package of newborn diapers should suffice unless your baby is born early.
If your baby is surprisingly large at birth, as my oldest was, you might have to skip the newborn diapers altogether.
This is why it is important to have at least one package of size one diapers before bringing your baby home.
Are you planning on using cloth diapers? You will need to have a minimum of three dozen diapers to start.
You will also need your cleaning system in place along with a pre-planned schedule for laundering diapers.
If your budget allows, set up a diaper cleaning and delivery service to begin around your due date.
Pro Parenting Tip
If you are planning to use disposable diapers, keep the receipt and do not open the package until they are needed.
Babies grow fast and may outgrow the diapers. You can return or exchange them with a receipt.
Side note here’s a must-have for any nursery:
2. Install the Car Seat
If you have a car and a baby, you need a car seat. If you have two cars, it’s a good idea to have two car seats.
It is a necessity to have your child in an approved car seat any time you are on four wheels. Do not buy a used car seat, as there is no proof this device has not been damaged.
Do not accept used seats from friends and neighbors either. Spring for a new one or talk with social services about obtaining a free one if the price is too high.
Once you install the car seat, have it checked out by your local fire department.
They will happily ensure you have the seat correctly installed and secure.
Do I have to buy a car seat for every car?
While you probably could get away with not buying a car seat for every car, you probably should. It becomes very inconvenient to have to remember to switch the car base around.
3. Baby Proof Your Home
This is because you may not have the time later. Likewise, your baby can surprise you.
While most babies start crawling by around eight months, some start much earlier.
My son began crawling at three months, which made me very happy that I started babyproofing in advance.
Our Babyproofing Guides
I have several articles written already, beginning with the 15 things you need to babyproof today.
Check those out and let me know what you think.
4. Research Pediatricians
Your OB/GYN should help you find a good pediatrician. Still, you need to do your own research and get the appointments set up in advance.
Look for a pediatrician who is easy to reach.
If your child has any special needs that you might know about in advance, make sure the pediatrician specializes in those areas.
5. Make a Feeding Plan With Contingencies
Are you planning to breastfeed? If so, you will need to talk with a lactation consultant about some of the basics before the baby is born.
You will also need a consultation while in the hospital to ensure you are getting the right latch.
You should also think about how and if you will pump breastmilk. You’ll need a breast pump, bottle, nipples, freezer bags, and cleaning supplies.
Other equipments you need as soon as you get home from the hospital are tops that allow for easy breastfeeding and nursing covers if you choose to use them.
It’s also not a bad idea to make yourself aware of nursing areas in public places that you frequent.
While it is legal and increasingly accepted to breastfeed in the open, some babies cannot nurse if distractions are prevalent.
You may opt out of nursing your child for a number of reasons. This is perfectly acceptable but requires its own preparation.
Have formula, bottles, and a sanitization plan ready to go.
You will need a variety of nipples because each child has their own preference when it comes to feeding.
Pro Parenting Tip
You should also have a bottle-feeding plan prepared as a backup in case you face issues with breastfeeding.
6. Attend Parenting Classes
Ideally, you will attend parenting classes well in advance of having your baby. Most hospitals offer these classes for free.
They will include some basics on first aid, how to change diapers, and how to reach professionals in case of emergency.
You will also meet some other parents who are just as worried and excited as you are.
7. Plan Your Leave
Planning to leave with your employer is not fun, but it is necessary. Depending on the type of work you do and the relationship you have with your employer, you may have to haggle over days off and pay.
The Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees that you can have up to 12 weeks of leave time from your employer after a baby is born.
This is true for maternity leave and paternity leave. It can be used for biologically born children as well as adoptions.
Those three months with your newborn are important, which is why they are guaranteed by law.
Unfortunately, what isn’t guaranteed is pay. Your employer does not have to pay anything during your time off.
You will need to have a budget ready or arrange vacation pay with your employer’s human resources or payroll department.
If this isn’t possible, you might consider a work-from-home arrangement after a few weeks.
This will allow you to spend the needed time with your child while also earning an income.
8. Arrange Childcare
You won’t need childcare immediately, but you do need to have a childcare plan. Many daycares have long waitlists.
You won’t be able to call them the day before you head back to work and expect them to have a spot for your child. You will also need to tour the facility to ensure it is a good fit.
You may visit a dozen daycares before you find the right one. You might find that a nanny is a better option so your child can have one-on-one care while you are at work.
You will need to interview nannies and have one contracted before the baby is born.
If a family member plans to watch your child, talk with them about how you will carry out the childcare. Will they come to your home, or will you take the child to them?
If the latter is the case, you will need to make sure your relative’s home is childproofed, and all of the necessary equipment is in place.
Related: Is There Daycare For Newborns?
9. Talk With Your Insurance Provider
Health insurance is a nightmare. Talking to a health insurance provider is like pulling teeth, only not as pleasant.
You will need to make them aware of the upcoming birth of your child so they will honor the expenses that are meant to be covered.
You will also need to add your child to the policy.
If you have health insurance through an employer, you may be able to do this through your company’s health insurance liaison.
This is usually a human resources representative.
10. Spend Some Alone Time With Your Partner
You will not have alone time again until your child is in college. Take the time to enjoy each other before the baby arrives. You will be glad you did.
You have a lot of responsibilities before your baby comes. These ten are arguably the most important.
Do you agree or disagree? Do you have other tips for new moms and dads? Tell us in the comments!