The last few months of pregnancy can be a time of endless lists: what to bring to the hospital, include in the baby's layette, and stock in your medicine cabinet and refrigerator. Amid buying witch-hazel pads and frozen lasagna, remember to focus on less immediate organizational needs that are just as important.
A Network of Care
Having a baby makes you grateful for every person who plays a role in his or her life. Here are a few to contact now:
Medical coverage: Early on, find out how your coverage works. Do you need to notify your employer, the healthcare provider, or both? Which pediatricians are accepting new patients? And how many days after birth are you given to register the baby in your health plan?
Pediatrician: Doctors generally want to see the baby during the first week after birth. Bring the pediatrician's phone number with you to the hospital so that you can arrange this crucial checkup as soon as possible. For a change, you don't need to worry about scheduling conflicts—you likely won't be doing anything else those first days!
Babysitters: Even if you don't end up using them, it's reassuring to have the numbers of a few sitters on hand, especially after the first month of your baby's arrival. If you're lucky enough to be surrounded by eager family members, you're set. If not, try asking other mothers for babysitters they like or post a listing on a college career services or local parenting website. I found it was most helpful to interview babysitters after my son was born rather than before so that I could see who fit best.
Lactation consultants: If you are planning to nurse, collect the numbers of several lactation consultants long before you need them. Start by contacting your hospital for recommendations. Sometimes the advice that one person gives will be entirely different from that of another, or one consultant will be on vacation when your baby comes three weeks early. If you can visit two or three consultants to get different opinions (sometimes covered by insurance), you will feel you have done everything you can to get breastfeeding on track.