Consider doing each of these things ahead of time to make your transition from pregnancy to birth easy.

  1. Pack your birth bag at week 34 (you can get everything out and stage it, but the birth companion should pack it so they know where everything is). Keep it in your car. Here is a blog entry I wrote about what to pack in your birth bag.
  2. Keep the baby car seat in the car, along with a shower curtain or garbage bags and extra towels to sit on. Learn how to install the car seat as well as how to adjust the straps. Here's the DMV website on installing child car seats.
  3. Arrange for baby-sitting & household help, if needed.
  4. Choose a pediatrician or family practice physician for your child. Interview several.
  5. Research the vaccinations your baby will receive. Vaccinations begin at birth with the Hepatitis B vaccine, but they really get underway at the 2-month well-baby checkup, so do your research ahead of time and be informed parents. Three great books to prepare you are: “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan,” by Paul Thomas, M.D., "The Vaccine Book," by Robert Sears, and "The Vaccine Guide," by Randall Neustaedter (you only need to read one). You have options other than getting all of the recommended vaccinations all at once. You can space out vaccinations so your baby receives each one at a time. You can delay vaccinations, and you can also say no. A baby who will be attending a day care and is drinking formula needs vaccinations much more than a baby who will be staying at home and who will be exclusively breastfed. Children in California must have the minimum doses of certain vaccines in order to attend school. Here is the link for the required vaccines.
  6. You will get a Group B Strep test at week 35-37. As a prevention measure, consider taking a daily, high dose, enteric-coated probiotic. Also keep in mind that semen kills Group B Strep. Group B Strep is an opportunistic bacteria that comes from the rectum, so remember to wipe from front to back, and cut out the foods that would feed it (white sugar, white flour, white rice, processed foods) and eat the foods that discourage its growth (plenty of vegetables and whole foods).
  7. Take a breastfeeding class and a care of the newborn class. The Santa Rosa Birth Center offers both.
  8. Arrange for diaper service or stock up on diapers. Tidee Didee and Diaper Wagon are the two diaper services we have in Sonoma County. YouTube videos are great for learning how to diaper.
  9. Prepare food in advance and freeze it in individual serving containers(chicken soup is great!). You can also request frozen meals at your baby shower, and a phone tree of friends who bring meals to you is great. It doesn't have to be dinner: they can bring you food any time of day in exchange for seeing you and the baby.
  10. Read about the Fourth Trimester. Two great books that I recommend are, "The Happiest Baby on the Block," by Harvey Karp, and "The Attachment Parenting Book," by William and Martha Sears.
  11.  GET A LOT OF SLEEP. DO NOT burn the candle at both ends right before birth. Your birth will go much better if you are well-rested ahead of time. If you don't sleep well at night, take naps during the day. Be a sleep magnet.

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