How To Prepare For A Baby: 12 Things To Do Before Baby's Arrival

Getting ready for your baby is an exciting time—but it can also feel a little overwhelming. So, how to prepare for a baby? There’s so much to buy, research, organize, and do to ready your space (and your life) so it’s safe and welcoming for your little one. But what’s a must-do and what’s a nice to do? Our checklist eliminates some of the stress by focusing on what’s really necessary. 

We’ve broken it down into 12 essential things to do to prepare for baby. Use our 'preparing for a baby' checklist to plan all the things you need to cross off your to-do list before your baby’s arrival so you can feel prepared and confident bringing your baby home.

When should you start preparing for a baby?

It is always a good idea to start preparing for a baby as soon as you know that you are expecting. This can include making sure that your finances are in order, researching the different types of childcare options available, setting up the nursery, and purchasing any necessary items for the baby.

It is also important to understand labor and delivery procedures so that both parents can be prepared for the big event. Additionally, it's wise to discuss plans with family and friends so they have an understanding of what help may be needed after the baby arrives. Getting ready for a baby gives parents time to get organized before their bundle of joy comes into their lives.

Preparing for Baby: Labor and Birth

1. Create a birthing plan

When preparing for a baby there are some things to consider - Who do you want with you during labor? Do you want pain meds? Are there specific birthing positions you want to try? Do you want to nurse the baby right away? A personalized birth plan clearly communicates what your ideal labor and delivery will look like. The hospital or birthing center might not allow all your preferences, but clearly communicating how you envision things going can help ensure you get what you want from the birth experience.

Make several copies of the birth plan and tuck them into your hospital bag so you can hand them out to the nurses and caregivers on your labor and delivery and post-care team.

2. Choose a doctor

Chances are you already have an OBGYN who is caring for you during your pregnancy and will be there for the delivery. But did you know that the time to choose a pediatrician is before your baby is born? When getting ready for baby, look into which local pediatricians accept your insurance, start asking friends and other parents you know for recommendations, and schedule interviews with local pediatricians to find the right doctor for your family.

3. Communicate your wants to family and friends

Be open about your wants for baby’s arrival with family and friends so they know how to give you the support you need. Some people want lots of people with them in the room with them throughout labor and delivery, while others want just their partner there. 

Review your birthing plan with everyone who will be at the hospital so your expectations are clear. And remember, there’s no right or wrong way to welcome your baby, so if you have to deviate from the plan be flexible.

4. Prepare older siblings

If you have other children, set aside some time to sit down with them to prepare them for the new arrival. How you’ll break the news varies depending on the age of your children. This article gives great tips on how to talk to kids of different ages about newborn preparation and welcoming a new brother or sister. Be open to all of their questions and reassure them about this next exciting chapter for your family.

5. Consider joining a community for other new parents

You may want to seek out an in-person or online community just for new and expecting parents. This group can give you the support you need as you prepare for the life-changing transition to parenthood. Together you can share experiences, ask questions about things to do to prepare for baby, or get direction on any resources you might need.

Preparing for Baby: What You’ll Need After They’re Born

Many expecting parents endlessly prepare for birth without really thinking about what happens after the baby arrives. Preparing for a baby to come home requires just as much—if not more—planning and preparation. Make sure you cross these off your baby prep checklist:

6. Babyproof before baby’s arrival

Even though your baby won’t be mobile for months, the best time to start babyproofing is before your baby arrives so you’re not tasked with making your home safe in the throes of sleep deprivation. Cap outlets, block stairways, and install baby locks on cabinets to keep your baby from getting into danger. Read this article for more babyproofing tips.

7. Set up childcare

Line up any needed childcare, such as a night nurse for the first few days at home and a nanny or daycare if you’re going back to work when maternity leave is over.

Items to Have at Home

In addition to diapers, wipes, clothes and nursery furniture, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got the gear you’ll need as your baby grows from newborn to infant to toddler. So, what should I have ready before baby comes?

8. Bassinet

From birth to six months, your baby needs a safe and comfortable sleeping space. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep on a firm, flat sleep surface that’s in the same room but a separate sleep space from their parents.

While you can set up a crib in your bedroom, a lightweight, portable bassinet is a better option for most people: it’s easy to move around the room and you can pull it up to your bedside to make nighttime feedings easier. When preparing for a baby, an automatic rocking bassinet like the MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet offers all this and more: it has 4 built-in sounds, 5 motions, and 5 speeds that help parents meet baby’s changing sleep needs in those first months.  

9. Baby swing

Baby cuddles are great—but there are going to be times when you need to put your baby down so you can get stuff done. During these times, a baby swing that feels familiar to your baby and keeps them safe can be a lifesaver. The MamaRoo® Multi-Motion Baby Swing™ entertains your baby with parent-inspired motions, speeds, and sounds so you can get some hands-free time without worrying about your baby.

10. High Chair

As your baby grows, mealtimes when you sit down and connect as a family can be one of the most rewarding times of day. So, how to plan for a baby's impending growth? To make the most of these times, you’ll need a high chair that has secure, adjustable straps, a dishwasher safe tray, and easy-to-clean parts. The 4moms® Connect High Chair™ checks all these boxes, plus it’s designed to grow with your baby: it can be fully reclined to safely use with a newborn and transforms into a toddler chair that can be used until your little one is 60 pounds or 60 months old.

11. Baby bathtub

Baths don’t just get your baby clean. A nightly bath can help establish a bedtime ritual that calms and relaxes your little one, so a good baby bathtub is an essential. Unlike other tubs that leave your baby laying in dirty bathwater, the keeps a constant flow of fresh water moving throughout the tub, plus it has a built-in thermometer to keep water at a safe temperature and grows with your baby from birth to toddlerhood, making it the only tub you’ll ever need to purchase.

12. Baby playard

Whether you’re at home or on the road, a baby playard offers the ultimate flexibility in child care: it’s a baby changing station, a safe sleep space, and a play space for those times when you need a hands-free moment. With its “one push open, one pull close” functionality, the Breeze® Plus Playard is the all-in-one care station you need with an easy one-handed set up.

Choosing the Best Gear for your Baby

When preparing for baby, having a plan is the first step in making sure you’re set to welcome your baby to the world and into your home. With the right gear and a trusted, supportive community, you’ll be able to focus on caring for your newborn—and yourself—during this exciting time.