These are just our experiences and opinions! Everyone prepares for their new baby differently so we just wanted to share our experiences!
It's here. Our due date! I can't even believe it! While there is no sign she is on her way, we did want to share some things we did to prepare for this little girl (in no particular order)!
#1 - Baby Classes
I literally lost count of how many classes we took! The good news is that almost all of them were free through HCA's classes and events program! We took:
Labor Basics 1 & 2 - Super helpful if you have no idea what to expect when it comes to labor. I was (and still am) clueless when it comes to what to expect when this little girl pops out and these classes help ease some of my anxieties!
Baby Basics 1, 2, & 3 - I used to babysit so I thought "Man, I got this." No, I did not have this. I never babysat any newborns so these classes were so helpful in explaining everything from the first night with baby to how to care for them when you get home!
Baby CPR - It's been YEARS since I had taken a CPR class so I was anxious to make sure we both knew what to do if baby started choking, was unresponsive, etc. While we didn't get certified in this class, we do have a better understanding of what to do!
Breastfeeding Class - Luckily, Brad wasn't the only guy in this class! Several other moms enlisted the help of their partners to come and I am glad we did! The instructor gave them tips as well as us so they can help us when we start to breastfeed!
Dogs & Babies - This class was offered through Speak2Dog to help understand what to do when you bring a new baby into a dog's home. It helped us understand we need to set boundaries with DEXTER now. *This class wasn't free, but worth it.*
Daddy Boot Camp - Brad took this and loved it! It was great because it was all Dads. They got to ask questions they may have been too timid to ask in a traditional baby class and they even got to hold a new baby! *This class was a $25 donation and well worth it.*
Grandparents' Class - My parents took this class at my request and while it may have been a little dry, it did help them understand a few things have changed since their time as new parents. IE: Crib Bumpers are discourages, babies should sleep on their backs, etc.
Prenatal Tour - This was by far my favorite of our prepping for baby outings. I have never been in a hospital other than to visit people who had procedures so I was curious what to expect! They showed us the Labor and Delivery wing, the postpartum wings and even the nursery! It definitely helped ease my anxiety of where we needed to go when the baby arrives!
#2 - Getting Registered | Hospital and Babies R Us
I'll be the first to admit that getting registered for baby gifts was OVERWHELMING! I had no idea what I was doing! Luckily, there were several really helpful people in the store that helped us figure out what on earth to register for.
I learned through my friend, JEN, that you should register for just about everything possible, even if you don't think someone will get it for you because Babies R Us has a great reward program with coupons and discounts. While I still don't understand it, I did register for a ton of stuff!
We also got pre-registered for the hospital as a recommendation from the nurse that gave us our prenatal tour! That way when I show up with contractions (hopefully), we won't have to worry about too much paperwork!
#3 - Find a Pediatrician
Another thing on the ever growing "Baby To-Do" list was to find a pediatrician. Lots of places actually offer free prenatal tours and a chance to meet your doctor so we did just that and found great one!
#4 - Find Childcare
I was given some amazing advice - "Find childcare EARLY." We started searching for childcare when I was just 16 weeks! If you want traditional daycare settings, you have got to get in there early as most places have waiting lists!
After searching and researching in home and traditional daycare places, we opted to go with an in home care provider and we are so excited! Our in-home care provider is the sweetest and we actually have several mutual friends! We can't wait to introduce her to our STROUSE HOUSE BABY!
#5 - Have a Baby Shower
We had the most amazing baby shower back in February thanks to my girlfriends: Emily, Melinda, Kristen, Haley and Mary! Read more about it HERE!
#6 - Set up the Nursery
#7 - Nesting, it's real!
I had heard over and over again that you will start to "nest" as your due date gets closer. I can't even begin to tell you how true that is! Just this weekend, I decided our house was not clean enough. We had JUST cleaned everything last weekend PLUS had professional cleaners come last Thursday, but I took it upon myself to clean everything again! I also had a long list of TO-DO's that I wanted to get done before she arrived so Brad helped me do everything from changing some light bulbs to preparing our guest room for our pet sitter.
#8 - Pack our Hospital Bags & Install the Car Seat
I am such an over packer. The only time I haven't overpacked was when we went on our STROUSE HOUSE ADVENTURE to EUROPE. For this outing to the hospital, I have my hospital bag, my camera bag, my nursing bag, the baby bag, Brad's hospital bag and a sleeping bag. I just want to make sure I am prepared! :-D I'll have to do a follow up blog after we have her and let you know what you DON'T need to bring with you!
Brad installed the car seat when we were 36 weeks at the advice of, again, our baby classes! He took a few hours reading the handbook for the car seat and our car to install it and then took it to a fire station to make sure it was installed correctly!
*NOTE* Chesterfield County doesn't have any fire stations that check car seats so you'll need to look up the Richmond City stations before you head out!
#9 - Started Her Baby Book!
I have been journaling through this whole pregnancy with the BELLY BOOK and so I got the BABY BOOK as a follow up! It's been my absolute favorite part of this pregnancy (updating my journal) because this book breaks down each week into easy sections. At first, I was just trying to journal in a pretty notebook, but I was clueless as what to write! This book helped me jot down things I might want to remember later!
The baby book is no different! It makes remember mementos so easy!
So, those are just a few of the things we did to feel a little more prepared for little Miss Strouse to enter the world. I know we'll never feel FULLY prepared, but we are excited and ready to meet her!
What are some things you did to prepare for your first?