8 Tips to prepare for baby

Oct 16, 2009 at 5:25 a.m. ET

Nine months to prepare and so much to do!

Pregnant woman with baby shoes on belly

When it comes to having a baby, nine months is a long time to wait. You can never be fully prepared for how a baby will change your life, but you can prepare for baby's physical arrival with these eight tips.

Pack a bag for the hospital so you are ready to go if your baby comes early. Include pajamas and socks for you (the hospital rooms can often be chilly), as well as a going home outfit, blankets, diaper and wipes for baby. Be sure to include items such as lip balm, a magazine or a book, special CDs of songs you like and an extra pillow for your honey.

Talk and sing to your baby in the womb. This is a great way to bond and connect with baby before he's born. Have the daddy get in on this too! If he feels shy about simply speaking to the baby, ask him to read a book or play some fun music.

Wash all of your baby's clothes, bedding and blankets with a specially designed laundry detergent that is extra gentle and won't cause irritation on baby's skin. An infant's skin is extra sensitive and needs special attention and products.

Purchase a car seat and have a professional install it. Many fire departments offer free festivals during which they will install it for you free of charge (but a donation is much appreciated!). Do your research before going to the store to purchase: there are a number of options and you should decide what type of seat you want before you go.

Deciding on a pediatrician may be one of the most important decisions you make over the course of your child's life. Set up interviews with several pediatricians and make sure to discuss your beliefs on inoculating and other issues so you can ensure you will be on the same page as your pediatrician.

If you are planning on going back to work after your maternity leave is up, you'll want to line-up day care. The day-care facilities often have waiting lists, so it's important to find one that you will be comfortable with, but also one that has an opening when you need it.

Most hospitals have amazing child birthing programs, so be sure to attend a childbirth class with your partner. You'll find out more than you ever really wanted to know, but you'll also get some very crucial details that you'll be glad you know once it comes time to push! Many classes show birthing videos and give instruction on labor coaching and general info about the birth.

Make a list of emergency contacts, in order of importance, and keep it on you at all times in case your husband or partner is not available if you go into early labor. Make sure these contacts have your insurance information and hospital information, as well, in case they need to provide these details.

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