Helpful tips on preparing for your newest addition

Congratulations! I am absolutely thrilled for you and your newest addition! Whether this is your first or fifth, preparing for a newborn can be daunting. To make sure you are aptly prepared for those first few days, I’ve assembled my best list of helpful tips!  

10. Pack your go bag


Your go bag is a collection of everything you will need, might need, don’t need but want, and everything in between. This bag should include any paperwork that you need to bring, your birth plan if you have one, and your ID and insurance. Include your self-care items as well! Your robe, cozy socks, headband, and hospital gown if you have purchased a personalized one. Don’t forget those must-haves; toiletries, bras, underwear, pads, a phone charger, your favorite water bottle, and clothes to go home in. Your go bag can also include items to pass the time; a deck of cards, a good book, an iPad to watch movies if there is time, and your headphones. We can’t forget baby! While the hospital/ birth center may provide the basics, make sure you have a onesie, socks, receiving blanket, Medela nipple shield (just in case!), and their going-home outfit… while it may not fit in your bag, don’t forget the car seat!

9. Know where to go!

Even if you’ve traveled to your local hospital/ birth center multiple times, doing so while in a panic may not be as easy.  Spend an afternoon driving multiple routes to the hospital.  It may seem excessive, but if there are unforeseen circumstances you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.

8. Prepare their space

Making sure you have their space prepared just in case they arrive earth-side a little early is always a good plan.  Take some time to assemble the crib or bassinet.  Stock the changing table, install the car seat, and put away all of the gifts that you may have received.  Creating a space for your newest addition in advance will help with your peace of mind.

7. Helpful tips for the household

Take advantage of the months leading up to your due date.  Make arrangements for big brother and sister for when you go into labor.  Who will they be staying with and who will be responsible for transportation?  Plan and make ahead some freezer meals.  These are a great option rather than scrambling for a meal or getting take-out.  Stock up on essentials!  Toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, and all the wipes you can think of.  Bonus points if you can subscribe and save at places like Amazon. Make sure prescriptions have been refilled and will last a few months, Take care of any appointments; eye doctor, dentist, or the registration on your car.  Get it all done while you have the time.

6. Prepare the pets

It’s not just big brother and sister that need to have some prep work done before your baby arrives, pets need time to adjust as well! Put up any gates needed to keep your furry friends out of the nursery and create a plan for introducing your pets to your newborn. While planning, make sure to arrange for care for those furry friends (feeding, walking, etc) while you are in labor. Is there a neighbor who has offered to walk your dog once the baby has arrived? If so, take them up on it! If not, ask for help. Most neighbors are happy to help if you ask.

5. Homebirth Prep

If you are planning for a home birth, there are several things to prepare prior to birth. First and foremost, interview and select your midwife.  They will instruct you on what you will be responsible for in preparing for birth. That may be labor, birth, postpartum supplies, and your birthing tub. Once you have discussed your birthing plan with your midwife, you will have a better understanding of how to prepare.

4. Create a birthing plan & hire a doula

Your birthing plan is an outline of your preferences for the labor and delivery process. This can include simple things like who you want in the room with you and what you would like to be listening to. Your birthing plan also includes more serious items such as important medical history and your preferences on pain management. Using clear language, give instructions on the care you expect for both you and your newborn. I strongly recommend hiring a knowledgeable advocate who will be on your side, ie a doula. Someone who knows the ins and outs of hospital birth protocols and will fight for your birth plan to be followed.

Recommended doulas in Santa Barbara:

Anastasia Stone:

Kim Summer:

Santa Barbara Birth Center:

Hannah Miller:

3. Childbirth prep

Regardless if this is your first or fifth, taking a child birthing class will help you both physically and emotionally prepare for the birth of your child. These classes are excellent resources for breathing techniques, pain management, and what to expect during the labor process.

2. Plan your birth announcements

Sending out birth announcements is a wonderful way to announce the arrival of your newest additions.  If you’ve already scheduled your newborn session, you’re one step ahead of the game!  You can prepare your announcement prior to birth and fill it in once you receive your photos and have the details of the birth.

1. Take a moment for yourself

A prenatal massage, pedicure, manicure, or just a long afternoon nap are all wonderful ways to take care of yourself.  Enjoy these last few moments and know that you are fully prepared for your newborn.

Now that you are prepared, take this extra time and enjoy a bath or go on one last date night!  Congratulations again and I cannot wait to see you for your newborn session!  If you’re expecting but haven’t scheduled your session yet, it is ok!  Reach out by clicking the link below!