Having a baby can be a wonderful but stressful time with all there is to think about and prepare.
From the beginning, you should have an obstetrician and have registered/booked with the hospital where you want to have your baby.
You may want to take a childbirth class to help give you all the options that are available
Decide on what type of birth i.e a water birth, what kind of pain relief you would like to use & alternative methods of pain control
Visit the hospital before you go into labor; this is a good way of taking another added stress out of the big day and any difficulties in finding the labor ward.
Make sure you have a list of questions, like what do they have available for you during your labor? Is there an after-hours entrance? They will be able to give you information on what you need to pack in your labor bag
Make sure your bags are packed well in advance: One for you and one for your baby. Your birthing partner should be prepared with plenty of drinks and snacks, as they may not be able to leave you to have a meal!
Write a birth plan with your birthing partner to ensure all your preferences are understood by those helping you during your labor -- important!
Make sure you have arranged on-hand cover for any older children you may have. Prepare them for whom they will stay with, what will happen and of course their new siblings arrival.
Prepare a room for the baby but also have a bassinet by your bed to make nighttime feeding easier for the first few weeks
Buy all the equipment and toiletries you will need after the baby is born. Don’t forget a car seat for the journey home from hospital.
Make sure you have enough rompers, body suits, burp cloths and blankets.
Choose what kind of diapers you would like to use, baring in mind the extra equipment for cloth diapers
Even if you have decided to breastfeed it is still advisable to have a breast pump and some bottles.
I would suggest only pumping and storing the milk in the first few days to prevent nipple confusion. Breast milk can be safely stored in the freezer. After the first few days, your baby can be given a bottle to relieve you from all the feeds.
Another good way to get a head of the game is to have plenty of frozen meals prepared, and plenty of snacks to give visiting guests. Although don't feel you have to say yes to visitors, if it's not a good time politely tell them so.
Start to choose your babies name or at least have a short list, as this can be a difficult decision that needs lots of consideration.
Most of all try to relax and enjoy the experience!
General Tips for the Expecting Mom