After a long road to parenthood, those last few months before your baby is born can feel simultaneously like an eternity and a minute! Staying busy will help you pass the time (and keep you from losing your mind).
Here are 15 things that intended parents should do as they wait for their gestational carrier to deliver their baby:
1. Stock up on essentials.
No need to go overboard, but it’s always a good idea to have some boxes of diapers, a stash of bottles, wipes, cloths or rags, some clothes, formula, blankets and other baby basics! Remember that babies will grow quickly, so asking friends, family or community members for their gently-used items can be a great money-saver.
2. Prepare a nursery.
For some, decorating and stocking a nursery can be a fun way to get excited about your child’s arrival. For others, staring at an empty and waiting nursery can trigger stress and impatience.
However, it’s usually a good idea to have at least the essentials ready to go. You don’t have to paint the room or hang elaborate decorations if you don’t want to! Just setting up a crib and diaper-changing station is enough for now, if that’s all you want to do at the moment.
3. Baby-proof the house.
Walk through the house and make a list of what needs to be baby-proofed before your child is born. There are plenty of checklists that can help, and they may give you some tips that you hadn’t thought of yet!
Now is a great time to slowly start purchasing and installing things like covers for electrical outlets, tying up cords to the blinds, locks on cabinets, installing a gate in front of the stairs and more. As a newborn, your baby won’t be in a position to cause much trouble, but they’ll be finding ways to pull down anything and everything much sooner than you think!
Even just slowly implementing some of those safety checks and upgrades in advance can save you a few headaches several months down the road.
4. Tackle those projects.
Everyone has tasks that they’ve put off. You’ll be far less likely to ever get around to that task once your newborn arrives! So, now is the time to check those off your “I’ll do it later” list.
For you, that might be:
- Cleaning the gutters
- Updating your will and financial information in anticipation of your new child
- Hang up those photos that are gathering dust
- Finish painting the bathroom
- Finish landscaping the yard
- Or whatever project in your life that has been side aside
5. Deep clean and eliminate clutter.
The arrival of a newborn means you’ll have a tough time just keeping up with the messes they create! So, take advantage of this time and get your home ready.
Now is the time to finally go through your attic, basement, closets, garage and drawers. Downsizing and tossing out as much as you can will free up space for things like a stroller, toys and baby furniture!
Then, clean all those appliances, corners and baseboards that you never clean. You’ll feel soothed and more prepared with a nice, clean home.
6. Spend some quality time with your spouse.
If this is your first child, these will be your last few months together just the two of you. Take this opportunity to do some things you probably won’t be able to for a while! Enjoy a date night, sleep in late, take a weekend trip and spend time with your friends and family.
If you have older children, this is your last time together before your family changes and you introduce a new arrival. Spending some quality time with your children will be important before you leave to go be with your surrogate and before the chaos of a new baby begins. Relish in some one-on-one snuggles, participate in your child’s favorite activities and more.
As anxious as you are to welcome your child, be sure to savor this quality time.
7. Make child care decisions.
You and your partner have probably already talked about child care: Whether a parent will be home with the baby, a family member, daycare, etc.
If you are planning on daycare or hiring a child care provider, you’ll want to spend some time researching your options, interviewing prospective choices and more. We also recommend having a babysitter picked out, in case you need last-minute child care or just a night to yourselves!
8. Take parenting classes.
No one is ever 100% ready for their first child. But, it doesn’t hurt to be as ready as possible!
Maybe you already know every way to handle a gassy baby and exactly what to expect when you’re in the delivery room, or maybe you’re not even fully clear on diaper-changing. No matter your current knowledge of babies, taking a parenting class can allow you to brush up on your skills, bond with your spouse and give you the opportunity to ask questions.
Local hospitals and family-planning centers often have parenting classes for you to attend, and there are even online webinars.
9. Find a pediatrician.
A good pediatrician is always worth it! You’ll be glad you took the time to research your options when your baby has their first cold or ear infection.
We recommend a couple things:
- Interview prospective pediatricians to make sure they’re the right fit and will be a conveniently-located choice.
- Start collecting medical information about gamete donors (if applicable), the pregnancy (and eventually, the delivery) to give to your pediatrician’s office.
10. Create a surrogacy baby book.
This will mean a lot to your child someday, and it’s also a great way to document the journey you took to meet your baby. Consider including:
- Letters to your future child.
- Photos of your child’s gestational carrier, and some information or stories about her.
- Memories and milestones, like ultrasound photos or fun pregnancy information from the surrogate.
- And more.
11. Collect surrogacy children’s books.
It’s important that you tell your child his or her surrogacy story from the first day your baby arrives home. That way, surrogacy will always be a normalized and celebrated thing within your home.
As they grow, those surrogacy books will help your child understand the unique way in which they joined your family.
12. Talk about spousal roles.
If you haven’t already, sit down with your spouse about who will be responsible for what, and when. You’ve probably spent no small amount of time dreaming of your life as parents together, but you may not have discussed some of the finer details.
Sit down and have an honest discussion about things like:
- The plan for middle-of-the-night feedings
- Who will stay home with the baby, and when
- Who prepares meals, and at which mealtimes
- How you plan to divvy up new tasks like the additional laundry and cleaning
- Who is in charge of keeping the baby supplies in stock
- And more
It can feel a little awkward or tense, but hammering out these specifics and getting on the same page will help your relationship in the long run, and it’ll keep your household running smoothly and peacefully during the chaos-to-come!
13. Make travel plans.
If your surrogate lives in a different city or state, you’ll want to make some flexible travel plans. Although it can be tricky (and ill-advised) to establish concrete plans, like purchasing plane tickets or booking a hotel when you don’t know when your surrogate will go into labor, it’s helpful to have a plan, plus a few backups!
We recommend that you:
- Look into hotels or accommodations near the hospital where your gestational surrogate is going to give birth, and have that booking information ready to go.
- Have local ground transportation plans if you’re going to be flying.
- Have a babysitter, house sitter and/or pet sitter on standby, as needed.
- Notify your employers, banks and immediate family members about your surrogate’s potential due date, so that they know you may be traveling on short notice during that time frame.
- Bookmark some flight options, and try to fly with an airline that will be flexible about cancellations or changes.
- If you’re driving, install a baby carrier in advance. Those can be tricky!
14. Pack a bag.
Just like any parent-to-be, you’ll want to prepare a “go bag” in advance. Remember that you’ll likely spend some time in the hospital with your surrogate, traveling and more, so pack accordingly.
Be sure to include:
- Comfortable, layered clothing for yourself and the baby.
- Some travel toiletries.
- Diapers, wipes, cloths, bottles and other basic baby essentials.
15. Support your gestational surrogate.
In your excitement about your baby, don’t forget to spend time loving on your surrogate! Express appreciation and support however you like, but many intended parents like to:
- Prepare a little hospital or pregnancy care package
- Give her a small gift
- Sending a quick card or note in the mail
- Spending some time together, if you live nearby
- Text, call or video chat to ask how she’s feeling, or just to let her know that you’re thinking of her
This is a unique, life-changing journey and you’re on it together. You won’t regret the time you take to savor those moments with this special woman.
At American Surrogacy, we know that the time spent waiting for your baby’s birth can be both exciting and stressful. Continue to lean on your surrogacy specialist for support, and find little ways to make the most of this wait. Your baby will be home before you know it!