expecting: things to do

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I strongly suggest registering.  People will buy you presents and registering makes it easier for both of you. If you know people from out of town, you can choose one national chain Babies-R-Us or Buy-Buy-Baby and one local store.  Many times people you don’t even expect (friend’s of parents, grandparents, etc.) will want to buy something for you or your baby, so it really is in your best interest and makes it easier for them. Definitely register with your maiden name and married name if applicable so people can find you easily. 

And yes, it’s a lot of stuff.  I’ve pared it down to what you and the baby really benefit from.  Remember, you can give things away when you are done, or sell them on Craig’s List or ebay.

Make sure you have these basics a month or so before you are due.  You don’t want to shop when the baby is born—you want to be with your baby.

You need a basic layette.  Most stores have a list, but there are always things on it people never use.  Take my list when you register.  If you have easy access to laundry buy the lower end of the range I suggest.

Kira’s Layette List

Pre-register at the birthing center or hospital (unless you are having a home birth).  Keep Xeroxed copies of your papers—it will be your partner who will have to fill them out again if they are misplaced (mine were, once).

Pack for the hospital / birthing center!

  • Xeroxed copy of pre-admission forms
  • Your own list of important numbers, etc. so your partner has easy access to information
  • Zip or snap-front outfit for the baby to wear home & hat
  • Infant car seat
  • Small baby blanket
  • Your own shampoo, contact lens supplies, any (travel size, if you can) toiletry product that isn’t terribly scented that you love

You will need to add, last minute

  • Cell phone & charger
  • Digital camera & charger

Some people have baby names picked out before they conceive, some decide at the hospital, and I have one friend who called from the taxi home and begged the nurse to hold the paperwork because she changed her mind.

Name Books
There are many name books available, organized different ways.  Find the ones that make sense to you.  If you are looking for certain regional names, there are many specific books.

  • Google the first name, middle, and whole name together, just to see what comes up.
  • Check the initials—little Alfred Stewart should not have the last name Smith.
  • If you are being provocative, make sure you can live with that.  Over the first 4-5 years of your child’s life you will be saying there name thousands of times—you need to love it.  After that, your child needs to be able to say it.

You will be given paperwork at the hospital for the birth certificate and the social security card.

If you and your partner are not married, you need to decide what you are going to write on the birth certificate and the social security forms at the hospital.  These forms must be completed before your leave and different states have different guidelines.


Pick out birth announcements after your 20 week anatomy sonogram, if you plan to send them.  Assign someone to complete the order when the baby is born—this needs to be done by fax so the details can be proofread.

You can also choose to send an on-line announcement, from paperless post or another on-line site.

Newborn diapers.  My pick: Seventh Generation (which are the only chlorine free diapers) or Huggies   Why?  They aren’t heavily scented.  (I know many people swear by Pamper’s Swaddlers, but I think the name makes you think they are going to help with sleep, which of course they don’t and they smell kind of like pee, which makes you change them more frequently.) *note: sometimes boys and girls pee in different directions, making the top fit of the diaper something to be careful of—if your baby leaks in one brand, try the others.

  • Calendula Cream: very basic diaper area cream  My pick:  Weleda
  • Dry wipes or small inexpensive washcloths  Why?  Regular wipes are not for newborns—you can wait until 4 or 8 weeks to use commercial wipes.
  • Olive oil or grapeseed oil in a small dispenser Why?  Olive oil is non-allergenic and can be helpful when wiping up those first meconium diapers (though of course you can use regular wipes to help you there).
  • Regular baby wipes for 8 weeks and up.  My pick: Seventh Generation.

Wash your basic layette about 4 weeks before you are due.  Why?  Clothes should be washed before they are put on a baby, and you don’t want to have to do laundry with a newborn, and it’s nice to have some things ready.  My pick:  Seventh Generation Baby  Why?  It doesn’t smell strong (which Dreft does) and has no perfumes, dyes or harmful chemicals.

Keep in Mind:  A crib can take up to 12 weeks to order.  Your baby will fit in a bassinette or co-sleeper for 12 weeks or so—you can order the crib or assign someone to order the crib when you have the baby.


There are so many different ways to wear your baby.  I see many first time moms taking advantage of all the different possibilities.  It may take a few tries to see which type is best for you and your baby—your baby may love one sling and not another.

Choosing before your baby is born

It’s good to choose one kind of sling before your baby is born.  If you have any friends with babies, ask to look at and try on slings.  Many women have strong opinions about the ones they like best—remember, it has to work for you and your child.  Don’t be put off by slings that come with DVDs, and look on youtube and product websites for demonstrations—it takes practice and if you’ve never paid attention before, it will all be new.  Remember, just because we can create or adopt life, doesn’t mean we can automatically know how to use everything!

The Baby Bjorn does not have enough spinal support for a newborn—in the Bjorn the spine is compressed, slightly, whereas the sling support the natural curve.  The Bjorn is good for infants 12 weeks and up.

TOP SLINGS/WRAPS/CARRIERS, in alphabetical order

  • Baby Bjorn with Lumbar Support (not so much support, but better than nothing!)
  • Hotslings
  • Kangaroo Korner—Fleece Pouch
  • Moby Wrap
  • New Generation Ergo
  • New Native Carrier

If you need on-line help choosing a sling, click here

It’s great to wear your baby, but sometimes you want to use a stroller.  Many people have something called a “snap and go” which is a stroller base that you “snap” your infant car seat to.  This stroller is good for the first 6 months or so of your baby’s life, but it means that when the baby is in the stroller he is strapped into the car seat.  Personally, I never used this kind of stroller. I felt the car seat was a bit confining.  But many people use it and are totally happy.  *Note: as with slings, you do have to be careful that your child’s head isn’t scrunched at the neck.

  • A stroller with a bassinette top allows your baby to sleep flat, and to roll in and out of the house.
  • A great stroller with a bassinette top and then regular seat, that works extremely well on bumpy sidewalks (New York City) and is the stroller many friends have recently purchased is the UPPAbaby Eco-friendly Vista Stroller. There may be a new model for 2011.
  • The Bugaboo Stroller has a bassinette top and then a regular stroller top.
  • The Phil & Teds Strollers have an adjustable seat that allows the baby to lay flat, or in many positions.

You will probably have a combination of things that will wind up working for you depending upon the age of your other child.

  • If your first child is 3 and under, consider getting a double stroller—my pick would be the Phil&Ted, which is an up and down stroller.
  • If your first child is 4 and up, consider getting a Bugaboo which allows you to put the baby to sleep in the house or out, and just roll around.  If your four year old still need to ride sometimes, the Bugaboo has a board for an older child to stand and ride on.

Looking for an umbrella stroller or other alternative?  See the STROLLER section in Babying.

Install your car seat (for an infant seat install the base) about a month before your due date.  If you plan to take a taxi home from the hospital, read the instructions and practice putting the seat in the backseat of someone’s car, or a taxi if you don’t have access to a car.  For car seats to work they MUST BE INSTALLED PROPERLY.  Most infant seats have a guide on the side that indicates proper position, but the seat should be very firmly installed in the seat.  The instructions provided by the manufactuer are usually good—you have to read them. 

Infant car seats go up to 22 pounds, or 30 pounds, and depending upon the size of the baby they are good for around the first 6 months. The Graco Snugride is usually the highest rated

If you are in New York City or Baltimore, you can call The Car Seat Lady to teach you how to install your seat.  My lesson with Emily, one of three Car Seat Ladies was amazing—our car seats are now attached and don’t budge. 

Looking for a car seat for an older baby or child?  See the CAR SEAT section in Babying.


Depending upon what you are planning on, you need different equipment.

Nursing only

  • breast pads (in case you leak between feedings—not all women do)
  • nursing bras

Nursing & Pumping Breast Milk

  • BPA free bottles and nipples are necessary.  (Born Free, Medela, Bottle Nipples—many women who nurse and pump stick with size 1 nipples so the baby has to work to suck.
  • Breast Pump-- Medela breast pumps are the standard.  Having had little luck with pumping, I can’t make a personal recommendation.  A poll of my friends indicated that the Medela Pump In Style is good for moderate pumping needs.
  • Nursing bras

If you are also planning to use formula after the first month or so (when your milk supply is firmly established) you will also need formula supplies

Formula Feeding

  • BPA-free bottles and nipples.
  • Formula—talk to your pediatrician about which formula to use.  Some people stay away from soy formula with male babies, as there is natural estrogen present in soy.


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