It’s that time of pregnancy where you start feeling anxious about when the baby will finally be here. Everyone is asking “is the baby here yet?”, “can you feel the labour setting it?” or are re-checking with you again and again about your “EDD”.
Likewise, you start feeling so settled in the pregnancy and wish that it would last a little while longer. After all, it’s beginning to get a little comfy (you’ve gotten used to the aches) and you can feel the reassurance of the baby moving around certain times of the day, plus daddy-to-be is showering all the love and attention on you.
There are certain tell-tale signs of labour setting in that are hard to ignore. So here is how you can prepare for the baby and notice the signs of labour from the 35th week onwards.
Quick tips on preparing for the baby
- Pack your bags and the baby’s bags separately. When the baby is born, its ideal to hand over the bag to the nurse so that they can decide what the baby needs to wear. The hospital maintains a certain temperature level. Hence, remember to pack sweaters, socks, cap and mittens.
- You may need to check with your organisation on what all documents you need to submit to the hospital for medical claims.
- Prepare a template for announcing if it’s a boy or a girl. All the daddy needs to do then is to put a pic and the date of birth (you can include weight and height as well, if you wish).
- Organise your home in such a way that when you return from the hospital, you know exactly where your things are. Some of the things that we may forget are:
- Baby mattress, cover sheets and blanket. If you intend for the baby to co-sleep with you, getting a net bedding is also a good idea as using mosquito repellants around the baby is not good for the baby and sometimes leads to congestion.
- Always have spare diapers ready. You may be surprised with the number of diapers that you will be pulling out in the first two to three weeks. Hence always keep a pack of 48 extra diapers in newborn size handy. If you are planning to keep the baby on cloth nappies through the day, the first month may see you may use around 20 to30 cloth nappies a day.
- Don’t leave items like towels, toiletries etc for the last minute. Check with your friends what products they used in the first month and get those. Of course, no need to go overboard and stock up on everything. In the first 10 days, you may need to only sponge bath the baby hence keep soft muslin cloths handy.
- It’s best to avoid using wet-wipes on your newborn baby. The extensive use of diapers and wet wipes are too harsh for the baby’s soft skin. Hence keep a stash of cotton handy, so that every time you need to clean the private area, you dip the cotton in lukewarm water and squeeze the excess water from it before applying it on the baby.
- Stop listening to unwanted advice from people who are negative. While people giving advice may mean well, what works for another may not work for you.
- In case shopping for the baby is not allowed beforehand (according to some traditions), you can build an Amazon wish-list which you can order as soon as you come back from the hospital.
- The first few days (or weeks) can be tough as your body will need to recover from childbirth. Arrange for the needed help beforehand if needed. For example, in Asian cultures, a ‘confinement lady’ can help to prepare meals and take care of the baby while the mother rests during the first month after delivery.
- Consider preparing and freezing some meals before you’re expected to be in the hospital. They can be a lifesaver when you’re too tired to cook or just don’t have the time to do so once you’re back home.
When to start preparing for baby?
There is no right or wrong time to prepare for the arrival of your newborn. Some parents are super excited and head to the stores the minute they know they are expecting. Others wait till they are nearer to their due date.
A good time to start preparing would be in your second trimester. During this time, the morning sickness would hopefully have passed. You may also have more energy during this time, compared to the first and third trimester. Additionally, you will also be able to know your baby’s gender by the second trimester.
You may have also heard of the ‘nesting instinct’ during pregnancy. Many women get a burst of energy during the final weeks of the third trimester. Make the most of it if you’re inspired to clean and organize your house in anticipation of your baby’s arrival. However, do stay sensible and remember not to climb, lift heavy objects or overreach. Your safety is even more important than baby preparations.
Preparing for baby checklist
Here’s everything you need on hand for your newborn
- Bottle & Nipple
- Nipple brush
- Burp cloths
- Thermal bottle carrier
If you’re breastfeeding:
- Breast pump
- Milk storage containers
- Nursing bras
- Breast pads
- Nursing pillar
- Lotion for sore nipples
- Changing pad
- Baby ointment or creams to prevent diaper rash
- Disposable wipes
If you’re using cloth diapers:
- 4 to 5 dozen cloth diapers
- Waterproof covers
- Nappy liners
- Safety pins, velcro or snaps to secure diaper on baby
If you’re using disposable diapers:
- 8 onesies or undershirts
- 8 one-piece stretchy sleepers
- 5 pairs pants
- 8 pairs socks or booties
- 5 pairs mittens
- 2 jackets or cardigans
- 1 or 2 outfits for dressing up (this is optional)
- Laundry detergent for babies
- 1 infant tub
- Washcloths (separate from those you use on baby’s bottom)
- Baby soap
- Soft baby towels
- Sort bristled baby hair brush
If you are co-sleeping:
- Ensure that you are using a firm mattress
- Waterproof pads
- Light comforter
- Sleep sack
If baby is sleeping in a crib:
- Safety approved crib and mattress
- Waterproof mattress covers
- Fitted crib sheets
- Light blankets that fit the crib
- Sleep sack
Other baby necessities
- Infant car safety seat
- Baby thermometer
- Medicine spoon
- Baby nail clipper/scissors
- Baby monitor
Signs that your body is getting ready for labour
All that anxiety and no sign of the baby showing up? Well, there are a few signs that indicate the onset of labour:
- You may feel a cramp type of pain in the abdomen. The kinds you feel at the start of periods. This may be accompanied by back pain as well.
- You may suddenly feel lighter on the tummy. It’s actually called “lightening”. The heaviness of the baby’s weight goes away and you start feeling more comfortable, or as if the baby has gone higher or dropped lower. Whichever way it is, it does make the mummy more comfortable to move around.
- Of course, water-breaking is the most obvious sign.
- Bloody vaginal discharge or the mucus plug breaking loose.
- Few days of diarrhoea or nausea for no apparent reason.
- Nestling instinct. One may feel like confining themselves indoors all of a sudden, and getting things huddled together for comfort.
Preparing your body for labour
- While a woman’s body naturally prepares for labour as the delivery time approaches, following some quick tips mentioned below might equip you for an easier birth:
- Rest and relax as much as you can
- Eat right all through your pregnancy, which will naturally aid your body to undergo the required changes.
- Getting regular and light exercises all through the pregnancy is recommended in most cases (unless bed rest is specifically prescribed by your doctor).Yoga is a great option.
- Fill your hospital paperwork even before its time to arrive to smoothen the process.
- Pack your hospital bag well in advance (details provided in section above).
- Have your family and friends lined up to offer support and a helping hand when needed.
- Stock up all the supplies you’ll need post birth.
- Stay positive. Meditate and practice breathing exercises.
- Ask as many questions as you want to. Your doctor will offer you thorough guidance all through.
- Understand different labour positions. Take guidance from your doctor.
- Accept that child birth- either through natural labour or cesarean delivery are both normal and decided by the medical team considering the circumstantial requirements.
- Seek emotional support if you need to.
All the best!
This article was contributed by our partner Little Mister Trouble and has been published with permission.