How can I help my friends and family prepare for a new baby?
Becoming a parent for the first time is exciting, joyful—and overwhelming.
Helping your loved one prepare for the baby’s birth will make the
transition to parenthood easier, and can help get the new family started
on the right foot for a lifetime of health and happiness.
Share Information on Classes with the New Parents
One of the most beneficial things new parents can do prior to the birth
of their new baby is to attend a class to help them prepare for delivery,
breastfeeding, infant safety and child/baby cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR). Mary Washington Healthcare has a variety of classes to help mom
and dad (or other caregiver) prepare for baby's arrival. Here is a
list of classes that may be helpful to new parents:
Birthing classes. These classes give instruction on what to expect during the labor and
delivery process, and help both parents prepare for their arrival of their
new baby. Tours of the hospital labor and delivery areas offer parents
the opportunity to ask questions of hospital staff and healthcare providers,
and meet other expecting parents. Knowing where to go and what to expect
before the big day can eliminate a lot of last-minute stress so they can
focus on what’s important: having a healthy baby.
Getting Ready for Childbirth - Mary Washington Hospital
Childbirth Essentials - Mary Washington Hospital
Childbirth Essentials - Stafford Hospital
Tours of MWH Family Birth Place
Tours of SH Family Birth Place
Tours of SH Family Birth Place (child-friendly tour)
Infant Care Classes. This class is designed for new and expectant parents and their caregivers.
Topics include infant development, baby safety, and the basics of infant
care in the first two weeks. We also offer a sibling skills class for
big brothers and sisters to feel like they are part of the baby's care.
Sibling Skills - Mary Washington Hospital
Going Home with Baby - Mary Washington Hospital
Going Home with Baby - Stafford Hospital
Infant CPR. While you hope you’ll never use CPR for a child or infant, it’s
essential to know the steps to help in case of a cardiac or breathing
Infant CPR - Mary Washington Hospital (non-certifiable course)
Other CPR classes are available through the American Red Cross.
Breastfeeding. Like anything new, nursing a new baby takes practice and knowledge to
get it right. Pregnant moms who learn about breastfeeding through classes
are more likely to have success.
Breastfeeding Essentials (Mary Washington Hospital)
Breastfeeding Essentials (Stafford Hospital)
Baby-Proofing the Home
One of the most important ways you can help a new family feel prepared
and ready for their new arrival is help them make sure their home is safe
and secure. Here are some tips on making sure the baby’s new environment is ready:
Check the safety of the crib and other baby items. While we all appreciate
hand-me-downs from family and friends, it’s critical to know if
these items are safe and whether they have been recalled. To learn whether
the baby’s crib and mattress is safe, contact the U.S. Consumer
Product Information Safety Commission, at
www.cpsc.gov or call them at 800-638-2772.
- Prevent suffocation by removing all pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals
from the crib.
- Make sure handrails are installed and secure in stairways, and always hold
the handrail when using stairs while holding the baby.
- Check to see that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the
baby’s home are working.
- Make sure there are emergency numbers, including poison control, near each phone.
- Verify that the home or apartment number is easy to view so fire or rescue
can locate the home easily.
Choosing a Healthcare Provider for the New Addition
- Most pregnant women give birth in the hospital where their doctor practices
and where they are close to family, friends and medical care (just in
case). The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends hospitals
and accredited birth centers as the safest settings for delivering babies.
Both Mary Washington and Stafford Hospitals offer private rooms including
sleeper sofas and recliners for family and friends.
- Confirm that your loved one’s insurance covers both their healthcare
provider and the hospital or birthing center they choose.
Choosing a pediatrician for the new baby is an important decision. Help
the new parents to narrow down their choices by polling your own friends
and family for their favorite doctors. Encourage the parents to read reviews
and visit offices to get a feel for their providers.
Mary Washington Medical Group (MWMG) Pediatrics and
MWMG Family Medicine & Pediatrics are both great choices for new babies!
Choosing the Birthing Experience
Now is a good time to think about the type of birth your loved ones would
like to have. Here are some
conversation starters to help them think about their preferences:
- Who do you want in the delivery room with you?
- Do you want medications to keep you comfortable during labor?
- Do you want to breastfeed your baby?
- If you have a boy, do you want to circumcise him?
- What else is important to you?
You can play a key role in helping a loved one prepare for the birth of
a new baby by sharing information on classes offered. You can also help
ease the stress of welcoming a newborn by assisting them in selecting
their healthcare provider, having conversations on making decisions on
their birthing experience, and helping them babyproof the home.