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You are about to become a parent—what a special time in your life! It’s normal to be nervous, but preparing as much as you can ahead of time can help calm your nerves. Here are some easy steps you can take to help get you ready to welcome home your little one.

Engage Your Baby’s Senses

Your baby’s first sensory stimulation in life comes from touch while in the womb. And at 28 weeks into pregnancy, she begins to smell. Your little one can smell what you smell! Smell is the #1 sense linked to memory because its processing center (olfactory cortex) is located near the emotion center (amygdala) and memory centers (hippocampus and entorhinal cortex), so smell triggers more emotionally vibrant memories than other senses. Because of this, you may want to start using some of JOHNSON’S® baby lotions and baby oils to moisturize your own skin, so your baby is already familiar with and feels comforted by these scents after she is born.

Things to do before Your Baby Arrives - The Ultimate Checklist

  1. Take Parenting Classes

    Parenting classes can be very helpful for first-time parents. Find out about these classes from the hospital where you plan to have your baby, OB/GYN, midwife, friends and family.

  2. Explore Delivery Options

    There are different ways to give birth, like Lamaze and Bradley. Do some research and talk to your OB/GYN or midwife to decide which option is best for you and your baby.

  3. Find a Pediatrician

    Start looking for a pediatrician about 3 months before you’re due. Compile a list of candidates — ask for recommendations from friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers with kids, your obstetrician, midwife or insurance company. If possible, schedule a prenatal consultation about 2 months before your due date.

  4. Create a Contact List

    Create a contact list (text, email, or phone) to have an easy way to keep family and friends informed.

  5. Pack for the Hospital

    At least a month before you’re due, pack your suitcase for the hospital. Remember to take along:

    • Nightgown and slippers
    • Toiletries, including toothbrush and hairbrush. Don’t forget supplies for dad (perhaps even a change of clothes)
    • Clothes for your return home: choose comfortable clothes you wore mid-pregnancy or later
    • Clothes for your baby to wear when coming home: undershirt or one-piece suit, and an outfit with snap closures
    • Receiving blanket (your local weather will determine if additional blankets are needed)
    • Baby wipes
    • Maternity pads
    • Camera/video camera or the charger for your smartphone
    • Nursing bra and nursing pads for breastfeeding moms
    • Baby wash for your baby’s first bath in the hospital. We recommend JOHNSON’S® baby Bath wash.
  6. Baby Science!

    Did you know: 25 to 120 minutes of skin-on-skin contact immediately after birth can positively affect interactions between mom and baby one year later!

  7. Secure Your Baby’s Car Seat

    Make sure your baby’s car seat has been installed properly before you go to the hospital. Some hospitals will not allow you to take your baby home without a car seat. Many police precincts will be happy to inspect your seat to ensure that it has been installed properly, or you can visit seatcheck.org to find a certified child passenger safety seat inspection location near you.

  8. Prepare the Nursery

    You and your baby will be spending lots of time in the nursery. A great way to channel your pre-baby excitement is to create a personal space that is perfect for you and your new little one.

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