Once you reach full term of 37 weeks, the clock ticks faster than ever. The waiting game is officially on.
Here are 10 important things to get done hopefully before your fateful ride to the hospital to meet your little one.
1. Pack your hospital bag
Make sure the key documents and essential items for you, your partner and baby have all been pre-packed into the bag so you can simply grab and go when time is ripe!
View our packing checklist to ensure you're not missing out anything YET not overpacked.
It's always about striking the right balance.
2. Attend a prenatal class
Popular prenatal classes include childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care.
If you're particularly anxious about a topic and would like to master the basics, or have personal questions you are dying for an expert to answer, attending a class with your partner would definitely allay those concerns and make you feel more prepared about parenthood.
Among the 3 topics, I figured I would be in capable hands of the doctors, nurses and lactation team at the hospital I have chosen to deliver at so I didn't feel very compelled to take the childbirth and breastfeeding classes.
I chose to attend the newborn care class with my husband seeing as we are first-time parents and very much on our own in the States. The verdict... no regrets forking out USD$45 to attend the 2-hour session!
It was nice to see the trainer upfront and personal, especially when she demonstrated how to tie a baby front sling wrap and taught us how to use it safely and expertly.
WE WERE COMPLETELY SOLD. Went home and ordered a baby front sling wrap off Amazon immediately. Lol.
I liked that the trainer narrated stories and learnings from her personal experience because those are nuggets of wisdom you could never get from an instructional baby book or guide.
3. Get your breastfeeding equipment in order
Even though I was planning to direct latch my baby, I figured it would be good to still invest in a pump and bottles.
Glad I had the foresight to!
The pump came to my rescue when I suffered from engorgement (aka rock hard boobs), a common problem that plagues new mums before their supply stabilises. For many mums, pumping also helps to increase their supply.
As for the bottles, my baby eventually rejected them (I will leave that story for another time) so back to exclusive latching I went! If she had taken to the bottle, my husband (her secondary caregiver) would have been able to help with night feeds - this has saved many fellow mums' sanity! Bottle-feeding is a bonding activity dads typically enjoy.
4. Set up a baby nursery and wash baby's clothes
Wait for your nesting instinct to kick in!
With the burst of energy, you will enjoy allocating and setting up designated areas in the house for baby to sleep, nap, get her diapers changed and play.
You might even like to include your nicely decked out baby nursery in your maternity photoshoot!
I also got down to washing baby's newborn and 0-3m clothes, sorting them out neatly in a closet organiser. I picked my favourite outfit to be baby's going-home clothes from the hospital. Having the clothes in a ready-to-be-worn state helped assure me that I was ready to bring baby home and it is one less thing to worry about when recovering from childbirth. What's more, I could easily find out which kind of clothes were in shortage and do a top-up accordingly!
5. Align a birth plan
This is something you can align with your obstetrician prior and bring to your delivery ward so the medical team is aware of your inclinations (I say inclinations not decisions because events unfolding during childbirth can be beyond your control).
Knowing your preferences and options regarding medication, procedures and interventions for the delivery will help you feel like an informed patient.
6. Pre-register at your hospital
When contractions hit, you wouldn't want to be stuck at the registration counter filling out forms.
Pre-registration gives you more prompt medical attention once you swing through the doors, and your obstetrician and paediatrician would be informed without you lifting a finger.
7. Freeze up easy meals
Chances are you will live in chaos (and even filth) during the first week baby is home. Sleep is at the highest premium.
Prepare ingredients like frozen broth and marinated meat in advance so you wouldn't have to start cooking from scratch. This way you don't even have to compromise on nutrition!
You can also freeze full dishes that just require simple warming like pastas and stews.
Lastly, know your take-out options! Pin their menus and delivery hotline numbers for convenience on your refrigerator.
8. Prepare confinement essentials (for Singapore mums)
Plenty of ginger. Herbs for the customary red date tea and nourishing soups. Herbs for bathing.
Have them neatly ordered in the kitchen for your confinement nanny to utilise.
9. Install the infant car seat
In the States, you wouldn't be allowed to drive baby home without an infant car seat.
Give yourself ample time to read the instruction manual and install it correctly before you go into labour.
10. Choose your paediatrician
If the hospital isn't going to appoint one for your baby, or you have a specific paediatrician in mind, be sure to contact her beforehand to ensure she is accepting new patients.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.