Mom and dad building a crib for the baby

The two lines appeared on the pregnancy test. The doctor confirmed it. You’re having a baby! Once the euphoria ends though, you may find yourself beginning to stress. Preparing for a baby can definitely be overwhelming. The baby product industry alone is a $73.86 billion-dollar-a-year industry worldwide. And that’s just products your baby may need. There are many other things to think about doing over the course of the next nine months so that you’re ready when your baby arrives.

So what do you do now and how do you get ready for this new little person? The first thing to remember is don’t panic. Take a deep breath and read through our list of ten things you should do in these next few months to be prepared for your baby.

1. Find a pediatrician

The next nine months of your life will be spent in the OBGYN’s office, but after that, you’ll spend a lot of time in the pediatrician’s office instead. Do your research on how to find the best doctor, ask friends for recommendations, interview potential candidates, and choose one who you trust to support you as you care for your baby.

2. Review your insurance

Call your health insurance carrier and ask what their process is for adding a newborn to your coverage. Ask what paperwork they require and get the information on where to send it so that your child is covered as soon as they are born. Health insurance for your baby isn’t the only kind of insurance to review. If you don’t already have life insurance for yourself and your partner, now is the time to consider getting coverage. If something should happen to one of you after your baby is born, you’ll want assurance that your family has what they need.

3. Research childcare options

If you need childcare, you’ll want to start searching for the right caregiver soon after you find out you’re pregnant. Depending on where you live, childcare facilities can have a long waitlist. For some, a nanny or au pair is a better choice, and you’ll need time to screen those candidates to find the one that’s the right fit for your family. Here are some great questions to ask a potential daycare or nanny.

4. Take a birthing class

Whether you’re all about natural childbirth or you signed up for epidural as soon as you found out you’re expecting, you should take a childbirth class to know what to expect when it’s time for your baby to make their appearance. Nurses often lead these classes through your doctor’s office or local hospital, so it’s a great way to know that you’re getting quality information.

5. Tour your hospital or birthing center

Giving birth requires all of your focus and energy. In order to be able to devote yourself completely to your labor and delivery, do what you can to make sure you’re comfortable with the place you’ll give birth. Take a tour, talk to available nurses, and learn how the facility handles birth plans and emergencies. If you are planning a home birth, make sure you have all of your supplies, as well as a list of numbers to call in case of an emergency.

6. Make a birth plan

Birth plans can range from really simple to really detailed. Deciding what you want ahead of time can bring comfort and peace to a process that is anything but comfortable and peaceful. Check with your hospital or birthing center before you go to make sure they will follow your plan. If you’re having your baby at home, discuss your plans with your midwife so she can help you give birth the way you want.

7. Install the car seat

Don’t forget about your car while you’re getting your home ready for your baby. Many hospitals won’t let parents take their babies home without a properly-installed car seat. Local firehouses, police stations, and even some hospitals will do a free safety check on your seat and base to ensure that they’re installed correctly. Call ahead to make an appointment to get it checked before your baby is born.

8. Prepare your home

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your baby’s room, pick colors or patterns that are soothing and peaceful so that the space is calm even if the baby isn’t. Stock up on some of the essential baby products (diapers, clothes, blankets, etc.), but hold off on purchasing too much until you determine what you truly need once the baby arrives. While you don’t need to completely child-proof your home before your baby is born, it’s a good idea to get started on it while you have some time and energy to devote to making your home safe.

9. Remember to involve your partner

The nine months of pregnancy can be incredible and life-changing for you as a mother-to-be. However, your partner may feel left out of the process. Make sure you include him or her on decisions and doctor appointments so that they can feel like they’re getting to know the baby too. Here are some other ways to help your partner feel they are a part of the pregnancy.

10. Take care of yourself

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s easy to forget about self-care when you’re pregnant because there are so many things to do and prepare. Put yourself first and make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, taking your vitamins, and going to all of your doctor appointments. Setting good self-care habits will help you establish healthy patterns that you can continue after your baby arrives.

Preparing for your baby doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Complete each of the steps above  and you’ll be ready for your baby long before they arrive.