Newborn baby

Mighty Blog

Preparing for a baby: What experts want you to know

Expectant parents have a lot to think about when it comes to preparing for baby. One of the first things to consider is what you’ll need immediately after birth.

Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota, has tips for new parents about what to expect before and after birth, as well as what you’ll need for your hospital stay.

Before giving birth

  • Register at your hospital: Doing this will make things smoother when you arrive at the hospital to give birth. You won’t need to fill out extensive paperwork and the hospital will be more prepared for your arrival.
  • Choose a pediatrician: Your pediatrician, clinic or designee will be the one caring for your child at the hospital. The hospital will also send your pediatrician/clinic any results from labs done during and after birth. With 12 clinics across the metro, Children’s has a team for every community. Find the location nearest to you, learn about the providers and count on us to help you raise healthy, happy, amazing children.
  • Prepare your car seat: Make sure to secure the car seat base in your vehicle. Don’t forget to practice installing and removing the car seat from the base!

What to pack in your overnight bag for the hospital

When you are packing your bag to bring to the hospital, remember to pack for yourself and your new baby. Pack clothes, hygiene products and anything else you may need for a hospital stay. When thinking about what to pack for your baby, here is a list of important items to remember:

  • First outfit: Pack a few onesies of different sizes so you’re prepared for your new bundle of joy.
  • Car seat: Once you and your baby are ready to leave the hospital, you will have to put them in a car seat to take them home. If it’s winter, make sure to follow these winter car seat guidelines!
  • Blanket: If it’s cool outside, you will want to remember to pack a blanket. This will help keep your baby warm in the car and in their car seat.
  • Bottle: When possible, breastfeeding is highly encouraged because it is extremely beneficial for your baby and for mom. However, if you are not planning on breastfeeding your child, or plan to pump breast milk, bring along a bottle.
  • Diapers and wipes: These will come in handy immediately! The hospital will usually provide these for you, but bring your own if you have preferences.
Mom preparing a hospital bag for after she gives birth.

After giving birth

While every birth will be different, there are a few general things you can expect after giving birth.

  • Monitoring mom: Depending on what kind of birth you had and your condition, your health care team will determine how best to monitor you after delivery.
  • Monitoring baby: Generally, you can expect your baby to be monitored based on the delivery or if your baby is pre-term vs. term. Your care team will watch your baby’s vital signs, check their glucose levels, if needed, and record all feedings and voiding/stooling. Your baby’s pediatrician or designee will be doing an exam on your baby every day of their hospital stay.
  • Immediate care: Be prepared to care for your baby immediately after birth. Feeding, changing and bathing your baby will be up to you. This is a great time to practice!
  • Vitamins and vaccinations: Following delivery, your baby will receive a vitamin K shot, a preventative method that helps avoid bleeding issues after birth. In addition, before discharge, your baby will receive their first vaccination for hepatitis B.
  • Brief cardiac and auditory screens: An auditory screening will check your baby’s ability to hear and a cardiac screening will check for heart defects.
  • Newborn screening: Babies born in Minnesota benefit from having one of the most comprehensive newborn screening programs in the country. This set of blood tests, done via heel poke, checks babies for serious or rare disorders that may not be visible at birth, but if detected and diagnosed early can be treated or helped through interventions.
  • Book a well-child visit: It’s important to have a well-child exam scheduled within the first week of giving birth. Remember that well-child checks are covered as part of all insurance plans! Book yours at Children’s today.

Ready to find your pediatrician? Healthy kids are our mission.

When you’re expecting a baby, you want the very best for your child, so choosing a pediatrician is an important decision. The pediatrician will partner with you to care for the health and well-being of your child for many years. Many factors go in to choosing a pediatrician and we’re here to help you through the process with our three-step guide to choosing a pediatrician.

Search over 1,800 members of Children’s clinical staff. Our directory includes physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, advanced practice registered nurses, psychologists, podiatrists, physician assistants, pharmacists, genetic counselors and social workers. Find your pediatrician today!

Alexandra Rothstein