Being pregnant with your first child is an incredibly exciting and daunting experience. After all, you’ve never done this before, so you probably have lots of questions — not to mention a never-ending to-do list. However, if you want to make sure you’re prepared for your newborn’s arrival, you should probably add a few more things to that list.
Clean the Carpets
Humans shed nine pounds worth of skin cells every year, the majority of which end up in your carpet. Your rugs and carpets can also contain dust mites, bacteria, dander, and other allergens that can affect air quality and irritate your infant’s respiratory system. Therefore, it’s crucial that you deep-clean the carpets before bringing your newborn home.
Use a bristle brush and laundry detergent to wash the carpet by hand or rent a cleaning machine to rid your floors of contaminants. Alternatively, you could hire a professional carpet cleaning company to remove stains and deep-clean the nursery.
Pick a Pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician is a big decision because your child will visit them at least once a year for the next 18 years or so. During that time, you’ll likely form a long-term relationship with the doctor and come to rely on them for accurate diagnoses and advice. Therefore, they must be likable, trustworthy, and capable.
Begin searching for a pediatrician three months before your due date. Ask friends, family, and your OB-GYN for recommendations and do some research about each potential candidate. Consider driving distance and how each office operates to further narrow down your options.
Odds are you won’t be doing much cooking after your newborn arrives. However, consuming the proper nutrients is essential for mother and baby, especially if you choose to breastfeed. Therefore, it may be wise to prepare a few freezer meals in the weeks leading up to your due date.
If you don’t have time to prep and plan now, ask a friend or family member to organize a meal chain. This way, you’ll receive a steady stream of food without having to lift a finger.
Nearly 60% of married households include two fully-employed parents and, if yours is one of them, it’s wise to plan for childcare now. In urban areas, you’ll want to start your search early because daycare facilities can fill up fast. However, if you live in a more rural neighborhood, you may have to wait until a month or two before giving birth to determine which centers have openings.
Of course, you can also ask friends and family to watch your baby while you work, complete household chores, and run errands. This option is much more affordable, especially if you’re willing and able to return the favor down the road.
Start a Baby Fund
Baby supplies, cleaning supplies, hospital bills, and birthing services can really add up. In fact, out-of-pocket spending for labor and delivery can cost more than $4,500 with insurance. If you or your partner take unpaid leave, it may take months — or even years — to pay down your debt. Thus, starting a baby fund is a must.
Cut unnecessary spending and ask for essentials at your baby shower. Look for cheap baby clothes or use hand-me-downs from friends and family and save everything in case you have another child later on. These small decisions will help you learn to budget and save more so you’re financially stable when your little one arrives.
Install a Car Seat
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among children between ages three and 14. Sadly, 37% of these kids weren’t restrained by a seatbelt or car seat. Had their parents taken the proper safety precautions, these fatalities could have been prevented.
Therefore, it’s absolutely pertinent that you install a car seat — and so correctly — before you have to tote your little one around. Locate a child fitting station and ask a professional to inspect your seat. They can tell you if it’s secure and recommend ways to make it even more so.
Pick a Name
Last but certainly not least, pick a name for your baby. While some parents agree on names while they’re still dating, others can’t seem to decide even after the baby’s born. However, picking a name is an essential part of the bonding process and one of those things you just shouldn’t wait on. After all, the last thing you want to do is negotiate names in the delivery room, so start considering options early on.
Typically, the middle of the third trimester is the best time to start narrowing down names. Any earlier, and you might get stuck in a rut. Any later, and you might still be hashing out options after bringing the baby home.
Take Time for Yourself
Many parents take a babymoon before becoming a family of three. This little trip will mark one of the most bittersweet times in your life. Sure, you and your partner will go on dates after your little one arrives. However, they’ll likely be few and far between — not to mention a little absent-minded. So take some time to be alone before adding a third person to the mix. You’ll be happy you did once the busyness of raising a child begins.