Eight things? What about 10? Or five? No, we have eight. It may be a weird number, but these are seriously the most important things moms can do when they find out that they are expecting a baby.
Before you do anything, pitch your to-do list for a minute and celebrate! How you do that is up to you and your partner. Discovering that you’re having a baby is such a sweet moment, so make sure and take the time to truly enjoy it.
But don’t let the celebration stop at discovery. Find reasons to celebrate through your entire pregnancy. Have fun deciding how you’ll tell close family and friends. Really enjoy researching baby names. Go click crazy when creating your registry. And let your personality really shine through in how you plan your baby shower.
- Schedule That Prenatal Checkup
First thing’s first, call your OBGYN. They will want to start scheduling checkups and monitoring the baby as soon as you get your positive pregnancy test. Not only will you get some very important testing done in your first trimester, but you’ll also get an official due date for your baby! Forty weeks is a long time, and you’ll want a healthcare professional to walk with you every step of the way.
- Find a Pediatrician or Family Doctor
Once you have an appointment with your doctor on the books, start messaging your mom friends and asking if they like their pediatricians. The good ones often have a waiting list, so make contact early so you can snag a spot if one opens up. The pediatrician you chose may even be present in the hospital after the baby is born. (Ask about this possibility when setting up your first visit.)
- Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
To make sure your growing baby gets all of the essential vitamins it needs, start taking a prenatal vitamin after your OBGYN visit. The only reason you should wait until after this appointment is because your doctor can determine if any of the ingredients in a prenatal might be harmful to you in higher doses. (Some women might need to take folate instead of folic acid, and the amount of iron a woman needs may be much higher or lower depending on a variety of factors.) Generally, though, doctors will want women to take prenatals that provide her with enough folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA, and iodine.
- Plan for Childcare & Preschool
For working parents, finding childcare options that work for you is not something to push off until the baby arrives. Just like you called around asking about children’s doctors, ask your network about preschools, daycares, and other childcare options. Research the most promising ones, and see if there is an admissions process or a waiting list.
And most importantly, make sure your options serve a variety of ages! You’ll want childcare that can serve you for years, not just months. For example, Little Sunshine’s Playhouse has an Infant Program for babies as young as 6 weeks old, but we teach young minds all the way until pre-K.
- Take Advantage of Local Parenting Classes
There is a LOT to learn before a new baby arrives. Especially if you are having your first child, take advantage of the many kinds of support classes and sessions that local hospitals and birthing centers offer. Those could include, but aren’t limited to:
- Birthing classes
- Infant care classes
- Big sibling classes
- Prenatal fitness and massage
- Carseat safety and installation
- Breastfeeding basics
- Pet safety
- Understand Your Maternity Leave Options
Even if you LOVE your job, you need time away from everything after the birth of your child to rest (as best you can), heal, and get to know your new baby. Work needs to wait, which means you need to understand the ins and outs of your organization’s maternity leave options.
As soon as you’re comfortable sharing the news of your pregnancy with your employer, have a conversation with your supervisor and HR about the details of your leave. Maternity leave policies and benefits differ widely between states. Check with your employer about what your specific options are since there are no universal maternity leave options outside the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Understanding your rights and options empowers you to make informed decisions for you and your new family.
- Prepare Your Workplace for the Change
Your absence will be felt at work! But even after you come back, things will be different than before. Take the time ahead of your pregnancy to build a support network in your workplace. Discuss potential adjustments to your workload and responsibilities so things don’t fall through the cracks, ask where the lactation room is, and verify what your work-from-home options are in case your child is sick or can’t go to childcare.
The amount of tiny things to do before your baby arrives can snowball into something monstrous if you aren’t careful. Definitely lean on your partner, parents, or trusted friends to help you keep all the prenatal needs straight. But if you follow these eight broad steps, you’ll have the most important bases covered as you anticipate the arrival of your little bundle of joy.