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Once you find out you are pregnant, you may think that all of the decisions have been made and you can just sit back and relax until your baby is born. But truthfully there are a ton of different decisions you need to make before your baby is even born.
When you go into labor, things happen very fast and it can be hard to make quick decisions about your preferences regarding your birth and your newborn baby’s care.
This is one of the biggest reasons that it’s important to have everything planned out before your baby is expected to arrive.
*I am not a doctor or a medical professional. These are just my experiences with pregnancy, labor, and giving birth. This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.
1. Choose A Pediatrician
- Do I need to find a pediatrician before my baby is born?
Yes, one very important thing to decide is who you want as your newborn baby’s pediatrician. The biggest reason is that your newborn will need to be checked out by their pediatrician after being born at the hospital.
And since they will be taking over the care of your newborn it’s important to start with a good pediatrician that you love.
- How do I choose a pediatrician for my newborn?
One of the easiest ways to find a pediatrician is through recommendations from other moms you may know. This is especially helpful since you can really get down to the specifics of what you are looking for in a pediatrician. There is no better resource than another mom.
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2. What Will We Name Our Baby?
Okay, a name may not sound like the most important thing to choose before your baby is born, but it really is. Think about it this way.
When you go into labor, sometimes you could end up choosing some silly name that you don’t really like but your baby is stuck with it. Or if you end up not having a name planned you may struggle to choose a name while at the hospital.
It’s so much better to already have a name chosen before your baby is even born. I felt much closer to both of my babies before giving birth because I already called them by their names.
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3. When Will We Announce We Are in Labor?
- Why would we announce we are in labor?
So if you go into labor naturally, you may want to announce it to family and friends right? But when?
Should you announce that you are in labor the moment it happens or wait until you are situated at the hospital?
One thing to consider when making this decision is that many first time pregnancies have very long labor and hospitals will often send pregnant moms home to wait out the beginning of labor until their contractions are much more frequent.
So you may not want to call everyone up until you are sure the baby will be coming soon.
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4. Create A Birth Plan
One of the biggest things to decide when you are pregnant is what you want your birth to be like. The last thing you want is to have to decide how you want your childbirth experience to go on the day of delivery.
This is why planning during pregnancy is super important. In fact, this pregnancy planner is so great for getting everything prepared for you without having to stress.
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5. Should I Use Pain Relieving Medications During Labor?
- Are you planning to use pain medications during labor?
Another one of the crucial decisions to make about labor is whether or not you want to have pain-relieving medications given to you while you are in labor. Let me tell you childbirth is no joke and can be extremely painful.
This is why having a plan helps you to be aware and answer questions your doctor and nurses may ask.
6. Who Will Be Present At Birth?
- On delivery day, who do you want to be present while you give birth?
This truly is one of the hardest decisions that expecting moms have to make, but it really needs to be done before you start to push.
Depending on the hospital that you give birth at you may be allowed a couple of people in the room while you are giving a vaginal birth. This means that you choose which family members you want to support you during childbirth, such as your husband and your mother.
7. Will I Request Skin to Skin?
One common part of giving birth that new moms love is skin to skin contact with their newborn baby.
- What is skin to skin?
Skin to skin contact is when the baby is placed on the mother’s chest directly on her skin just after birth. There are tons of amazing benefits that have been linked to the skin to skin contact after birth such as –
- initiating breastfeeding
- keeping newborn baby warm
- calming baby
One thing that I learned with my second pregnancy was that I could have skin to skin contact with my newborn baby even though I was having a c-section.
I was so surprised and would never have known if I didn’t talk with my ob-gyn. this is another reason it’s good to discuss everything upfront with your doctor so they know what you are looking for in your birth experience.
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8. What Visitors Do We Want At The Hospital?
It’s only natural that your family and friends will want to come and meet your newborn baby. But the problem with that can also be that the new mom and baby don’t get enough time to rest with a revolving door of visitors.
So after having such a crazy and frantic experience with our first birth experience we decided to talk with our family beforehand about who we wanted to come to and visit at the hospital and when they could visit. This made postpartum recovery so much easier for me.
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9. Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding?
- Should I breastfeed or formula feed my baby?
One of the most important decisions to make as a new parent is how you want to feed your newborn baby?
I went in planning on breastfeeding both of my babies and was not able to breastfeed the first. I found that I was not educated or supported enough and really just gave up on breastfeeding.
However, with the help of a breastfeeding class and a wonderful lactation consultant, I was able to breastfeed my second baby and it was an amazing experience.
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Now with that being said, there is definitely no shame or guilt in formula feeding your baby. I am so very thankful that we had baby formula available to help nourish my first baby when I could not.
But if you are planning on only using baby formula to feed your baby, be sure to have a plan to let your doctor and also nurses know so you can have baby formula supplied to you.
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10. Should We Have Our Son Circumcised?
- How do we feel about circumcision?
This is such a controversial topic among many parents and I honestly wasn’t’ going to add it but then I realized that if I didn’t add it I wasn’t being honest about what decisions you really have to make as new parents.
Realistically, if you are having a baby boy this will be asked numerous times and also be important for his pediatrician to know to give the proper care needed.
And since this is a highly personal decision I urge you to talk it over with your spouse and make the best possible decision you can to be prepared before your baby arrives.
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11. Should We Use A Pacifier?
- Should I use a pacifier with a breastfeeding baby?
Pacifiers have been around for a while and are very helpful when newborn babies just can not calm down and soothe themselves.
However, there has been some debate on whether you should use a pacifier with a breastfeeding baby due to nipple confusion. We found that with our breastfed baby using a pacifier didn’t cause any confusion at all and just comforted him. He continued to breastfeed up until he was 15 months old.
Of course, if you decide that you do not want your baby to have a pacifier, make your request known so everyone is on the same page.
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12. Where Will Baby Sleep?
- Where should we put our newborn baby to sleep?
Sleeping arrangements are very important to map out before your baby arrives because once you get back home from the hospital, you will be exhausted. Luckily there are several different options for your newborn’s sleeping arrangements.
- One option is a crib with a good mattress like this one. I have had this mattress for years and my son still sleeps on it.
- A bassinet is another great option for your newborn baby to sleep in. Many bassinets can even be brought up next to the mother’s side of the bed to make for easier nighttime feedings and diaper changes.
And finally, cosleeping was my favorite sleeping arrangement with my baby. Of course, we didn’t plan on having our newborn baby sleeping in our bed but with nighttime breastfeeding, it just happened naturally and we loved it.
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13. What About Work?
For working moms, a huge decision they have to make is whether or not they will go back to work after having their baby. Of course, there are a few different decisions that a new mom can choose from. And every one of these options is truly unique to that individual mother’s and family’s needs.
- Going Back After Maternity Leave – Many moms are able to recover from childbirth during their allotted maternity leave given by their work and come back 6-8 weeks after.
- Stay-at-Home Mom – Some moms, on the other hand, don’t want to leave their newborn baby after giving birth and decide to become a full-time stay at home mom instead.
- Work-at-Home Mom – The last and probably best option is becoming a work at home mom. Tons of jobs are able to be done from home online while also being present to raise your baby. I personally love being a work at home mom.
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