Prepare for baby's arrival
Take Prenatal Classes
Prenatal classes help you know what to expect during pregnancy,
labor and delivery and after your baby arrives. Classes are
often offered by doctors' offices, the local health department
or private childbirth educators. The two most common types
of classes are "Childbirth Education" classes and "Parenting" or "Baby
Care" classes. Ask your doctor or nurse for information
about classes in your community and invite the baby's father
to go with you.
Childbirth Education Classes
These classes are often offered through your doctor's office
or local health department. Topics may include: signs of
labor, breathing and relaxation exercises, when to call the
hospital or your healthcare provider, preparing for the
hospital stay, anesthesia for labor and delivery, complications
of labor and delivery and emergency situations, including
the need for a Caesarean Section.
Parenting (Baby Care) Classes
Babies don't come with instructions. Parenting classes
cover topics such as: newborn care, normal newborn behavior,
how to interact with your baby, safety and child-proofing
your home and when to call your baby's doctor. Both parents
should attend these classes if possible.
Create a Safe Sleep Place for Baby
As you prepare for the arrival of your baby, begin by creating
a safe sleeping place. For the first few months, your baby
will spend most of his or her time sleeping.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the sudden and unexpected
death of a healthy infant less than one year of age. SIDS
is also known as "crib death," because SIDS often
happens when a baby has been sleeping and does not wake up.
Some risk factors for SIDS include:
- Baby sleeping on the stomach or side
- Baby sleeping in an unsafe sleep place
- Baby breathing cigarette smoke
Follow these baby sleep safety tips and share them with
your family members before your baby arrives:
- Always put your baby to sleep on his back (for naps and
at night) unless the baby's doctor told you not to
- The crib, bassinet or playpen should be safety approved–check
- Use a firm mattress or mattress pad that fits well and
has no gap between it and the frame
- Use a fitted sheet that is the right size for the mattress
or mattress pad
- Bumper pads, sleep position wedges and pillows do not
belong in the crib
- Move the crib away from the heat vent
- Make sure the baby's room has good air-flow
- Use a thermometer in the baby's room and keep the baby's
room temperature between 68°F and 72°F, not more
- Do not allow anyone to smoke in your baby's room, your
house or your car
For more information on this topic, visit the Baby's
Safe Sleep section of this Web site.
Get Ready for Breastfeeding
If you've chosen to breastfeed your baby, here are a few
tips for getting your nipples ready for breastfeeding.
Some women may leak early milk, called colostrum, while
they are pregnant. It is sticky, and may cause your bra to
stick to the nipple. If this happens, wet your bra so you
can take it off without pulling on the nipple.
When you clean your nipples, use plain water. The breasts
make a special oil that keeps your nipples soft and clean.
Using soap will wash away that oil.
Check your nipples. Some nipples stick out when they are
touched and some stay soft or go in. If your nipple goes
in when you rub it, you have an inverted nipple. Ask your
healthcare provider about getting breast shells to wear
inside your bra. The shells might help inverted nipples stick
out so it will be easier to breastfeed.
breastfeeding before you start is a good idea. Ask
the nurse or nutritionist in the clinic about breastfeeding
support classes or groups. These are good places to learn
from other mothers' experiences. When you go to the hospital,
tell the nurses that you are going to breastfeed. For more
information, visit the Frequently
asked questions about breastfeeding section of this
NC - the Web site of the North Carolina Nutrition Services
Branch to promote sound nutrition habits among infants,
children and women in their child-bearing years.
Leche League of North Carolina - providing education,
information, support, and encouragement to women who want
For more health information, search MedlinePlus
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Last updated: April 2013