Will your baby be born soon? It’s time to organize the house so that your family can deal with your absence calmly. Here’s a list of essential things to prepare ahead of time so that you can leave the house to give birth with peace of mind.
1Define everyone's responsibilities
Draw up detailed instructions for each person’s role in your absence, so that neither your spouse nor your children have to improvise. Depending on each person’s personality, it’s a good idea to remind some where their responsibilities begin and others where they end! This is the time to give more responsibility to the older ones. Each person will have a task in keeping with their age: setting the table, making their bed, putting a little one in their pajamas, leading the family prayer, etc.
2Set up the children's timetable
Make sure the children’s activity schedule is up-to-date (music, speech therapist, sports) and add phone numbers if they need to cancel. If possible, it’s always best for kids to stay at home while you’re at the hospital or birthing center: they’ll feel less anxious.
3A calendar to help the little ones wait for your return
For the younger ones, make a calendar with one sticker per day to help them understand when you will be returning. Older children will probably appreciate the first photos or videos of their new little brother or sister. It’s a good way to help them be patient as well!
4Think of a family prayer
Write down some ideas for a children’s prayer: a song, a few words to commend the baby to God, a new candle, pictures to color, etc.
5Kitchen side: Plan ahead!
Freezer and cupboards should be well stocked with products that are easy to combine and that Dad will be able to cook quickly: casseroles, pasta and sauce, meat and vegetables, sandwich bread and jam, yogurt, etc. Post a list of menus with those products, as well as any special dietary considerations. You can also create a sample shopping list that Dad can use if needed.
6Plan everything assuming that the baby will be born at night
In case you have to leave the house in the middle of the night, have a bag prepared with things the kids at home will need such as diapers, bottles, dolls, sweat suits, medication and instructions for the person who will take care of them during your delivery. It is also a good idea to have a list of a few friends or relatives you can call who are willing to come and take care of the children in the middle of the night. Children should be aware of the need to be calm and serene if an unexpected departure becomes necessary. Ideally, they should be familiar with the person who will be caring for them during your delivery. Reassure them by explaining all these preparations.
7Have you thought about your hospital bag?
To avoid last-minute panic, prepare your maternity suitcase and all the necessary documents well in advance of the day you have to go to the maternity ward.
8Prepare baby announcements in advance
If you have the time, find a printer or a website for the birth announcements and start addressing the envelopes. Perhaps your spouse can finish writing them!
9And don't forget the baby bag!
For your return home, pack what you and your baby will need … and think about fixing up the baby’s room in advance so you don’t have to do it when you get back from the hospital.
The best gift a new mom (or any mom) can give herself