main logo

Get Ready, Set, Baby Time!

I haven’t posted in a while because I’m in full baby prep mode. We’re on the count down at our house, 2.5 weeks (at the most) before baby #4 arrives. As I have been trying to fit patients in at work before maternity leave, prep for Christmas, and get everything together for a new baby, I realized that having done this before (and at this crazy time of year) really helps. If it’s your first time (or it’s been a while), here are a few tips:

What to buy?


After you deliver, you may want to have these products at home to help in healing during the recovery process.

  1. Maxi pads (not tampons). There is a lot more bleeding post baby than many woman realize.
  2. Hemorrhoid pads or cream. Even if you don’t have hemorrhoids, the cream can help with all the swelling and vascular congestion that surrounds the vulva.
  3. Comfortable/stretchy underwear. Think grandma briefs (much more comfortable during the initial healing stages) than your cute thongs.
  4. Stool softeners or laxatives. All the pain meds will make stooling difficult (and no one wants to push against tender, torn, or stitched tissue).


  1. Nursing pads
  2. Nursing bra
  3. Lanolin cream. Your nipples will likely get sore and it doesn’t have to be removed to feed the baby.
  4. Breast pump (strongly consider). A good double electric pump can be a lactating woman’s best friend.


  1. Ace bandage or tight sports style bra. This will help bind your breasts when/if milk starts to come in.
  2. Medication, like Pseudoephedrine (strongly consider). Medications like pseudoephedrine (a.k.a., Sudafed) can help dry up milk.


These are the items you are going to need to take care of your baby.


  1. Diapers. You’ll get a few from the hospital, but not enough to last. Just so you have an idea, the average infant goes through 8-12 diapers a day. Be cautious about buying too many of the tiny sizes (like “newborns”). If your baby is big, you may end up straight at a size 1.
  2. I like sensitive or hypoallergenic wipes (like Water Wipes). Babies stool a ton in the beginning and their butts are very prone to diaper rashes.
  3. Crib (possibly a bassinet). You will need somewhere for your baby to sleep (and in your bed is not a good option).
  4. Car seat (5-point harness, infant style is best). This is required at the hospital to take your infant home.
  5. Clothes (including onesies and comfortable sleepers).
  6. Blankets (and burp cloths). You may want a few lightweight blankets because babies often spit up and soil blankets. You’ll need a few back up blankets if you don’t want to be doing laundry multiple times a day.
  7. Feeding support materials (breast care items or bottles and formula).
  8. Digital thermometer (rectal). If your child has a fever in the first 2 months of life (anything greater than 100.4 F), you need to know as it constitutes an “emergency.”
  9. Skin care products (diaper cream and hypoallergenic soaps and lotions).
  10. Nail file. You’ll be surprised at how long a baby’s nails can be and how much scratching he/she can do to his/her beautiful face. Typically, filing in the first couple of months is safer than clipping.
  11. Infant vitamin D drops (if breastfeeding).
  12. Petroleum jelly (if planning circumcision).


  1. Pacifiers. Most hospitals use a “soothie” style brand (these are the blue/green ones that you can stick your finger into to aid in the infant sucking). Long term, these aren’t great binkies because they don’t come in different sizes and can’t grow with your infant, which can create dental problems as the child’s teeth come in.
  2. Monitor. While a video monitor is much more expensive than a simple audio one, they are really nice to have. A video monitor wasn’t economically feasible for our first couple of kids, but having one for subsequent children has been nice (especially for things like watching the child when they are older and you’re sleeping training/crying it out).
  3. Diaper bag. There are really fancy, beautiful bags out there with all the bells and whistles (changing pad covers, wipe holders, etc.). However, if your budget is tight, any old bag can hold some diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes.
  4. Stroller. When we lived in New York City, a stroller would have been classified as a “necessity.” Depending on where and how you live, this purchase can swing hundreds of dollars depending on what you need the stroller to be able to do for you.
  5. Play pen. These are as nice to keep older children out as much as they are to keep baby in. They are nice, but not necessary. They do make for great portable cribs though (especially if you travel or go to grandma’s house).
  6. Bouncer. These come in all sorts of varieties. If you plan on using one with your very young infant (younger than 3 months), make sure that it is pretty reclined (some sit up too much for a young infant to be able to support his/her body).
  7. Swing. Some parents swear by these. I borrowed one for my first kid, hated it and never bothered with subsequent children.
  8. Breast pump (if applicable). 

View this post on Instagram

Continuing my new baby series today talking about what your baby needs. There are a dozen cool products out there, but what are the basics? ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Swipe to watch my must-haves list. Let me know in the comments what you would add, and what cool gadget you can't live without!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Tomorrow I'll talk about baby item safety and what you should NOT get. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #babyontheway #mothertobe #firstpregnancy #breastfeeding #breastfeedingtips #breastfeedingcare #pregnancydiary #momtobe2020 #smallbabybump #babybump #9monthspregnant #expectingmom #40weekspregnant #36weekspregnant #soontobemom #soontobemommy #bumplife #mummytobe #newbaby #38weekspregnant #30weeks #thirdtrimester ⁠#babymusthaves #babyessentials #babygear #bestbabyitems #bestbabystuff

A post shared by Dr. Monica Wonnacott (@pediatricanswers) on

What Happens The Day I Deliver?

  • Go to the hospital when your water breaks or contractions are 5 minutes apart, or less.
  • When you arrive, the staff will contact your OB/GYN.
  • If any problems are anticipated with the baby, or if things don’t go well, the NICU or your pediatrician will attend the delivery to assist your baby. Otherwise, your pediatrician will come the following day.
  • Your OB/GYN and pediatrician will see you and your baby each day you are in the hospital.
  • If you have a C-section, plan on needing more help.
  • The average hospital stay (counting the day of delivery) is 3 days for a vaginal delivery and 4 days for a C-section.

Relax, You’re Prepared.

Planning ahead takes the worry out of what can be an otherwise stressful situation. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have all the products I’ll need for me and my baby?
  2. Have I packed a bag for the hospital (both for mom and baby)?
  3. Do I have the help of family or friends arranged for the first few days home post-delivery?
  4. Have I chosen a pediatrician? If not, start looking. Most pediatrician’s offices will do some version of a complimentary “meet and greet,” which allows you to meet the doc and ask questions before the baby comes. It is a good opportunity to make sure you feel comfortable with the pediatrician because everyone’s style is a little different.

Good luck! Don’t’ worry. At the hospital you’ll be surrounded by experienced people who are ready and waiting to help you.

View this post on Instagram

First topic in my New Baby series: What to pack in your hospital bag.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ The good news is the hospital is going to have everything you technically *need* to have your baby and recover. There are a few tips and tricks I have picked up after having my 4 children that I've included in this video.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I'd love to hear your favorite things to pack! Leave them in the comments below so our expecting mamas can have a great list to reference. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #babyontheway #mothertobe #firstpregnancy #pregnancydiary #momtobe2020 #smallbabybump #babybump #9monthspregnant #expectingmom #40weekspregnant #36weekspregnant #soontobemom #soontobemommy #bumplife #mummytobe #38weekspregnant #30weeks #thirdtrimester

A post shared by Dr. Monica Wonnacott (@pediatricanswers) on

Answering The Question, “Where Do Babies Come From?”

Every parent pauses when they hear the big matzoh ball question, “Where do babies come from?” I am about to delivery our fourth baby and so all things “baby” have been part the regular conversation at our house. Naturally, how you answer each of these questions is entirely related to the age and maturity of the child asking the question.

Overall tips:

  1. Be short and direct. Avoid the big long explanation at first. Don’t be afraid to fish for what your child is looking for answer-wise. The child may be content with a short answer and enable you to avoid telling a child more than he/she is developmentally ready to hear/know. My two- year old is perfectly content to hear, “…from mommy’s tummy” or “Heaven.” My six-year old (who is inquisitive beyond her years), isn’t content with these sorts of answers and wants the details. I told her that women were born with all the eggs they were ever going to have. I simply told her that when they join with the daddy, that a baby forms. She didn’t ask THE follow up question of “how,” so I opted not to tell her (she’s still young). She thinks it is super cool that she has little eggs that could be her own babies one day. My ten-year old knows how that baby got in there.
  2. Be honest. Avoid answers like “the stork” or “baby factories.” Kids need to know that they can rely on you to tell the truth.
  3. Build on knowledge your child already has. You may answer a question by starting with something like, “As you know, boys have a penis and girls have a vagina…”
  4. Don’t laugh or squirm. I know this is easier said than done. Your child will use your reaction to gauge their own reaction. If you are very simple and matter of fact about how it works, you will be surprised at how accepting of the knowledge your child will be. Don’t be surprised if it is days later when you get follow up questions (after your child has had time to digest it).
  5. Reiterate the private/sensitive nature of the topic, especially if your child is young. If you have just told your young child (6-10 years old) the whole story of how the baby got there and is formed, make sure and tell your child about the sensitive nature of these topics. I usually say something like, “Now, I have told you the truth. You know more than most of your friends about this. Many of your friends’ parents haven’t had a chance to tell them yet. Let’s give them a chance to talk about it first, especially since it involves private body parts. So DON’T talk to your friends about it. Do you have any questions?” This little reminder can save you a lot of heartache later when you get called into the principal’s office because your second grader is telling everyone where babies come from, or you’re fielding angry phone calls from other parents.

Helpful phrases:

Kids often learn best when you introduce a new topic by relating it to something they know. For this reason, as I talk about body parts, pregnancy, periods, sex, and where babies come from with my patients and own children, I will use a phrase they can remember. First, introduce the correct anatomical part (e.g., literally tell your child that girls have a vagina and boys have a penis). Then relate it to something the child will remember.

  1. Vagina—“the baby shoot.” As we have talked about the baby coming at our house, my kids know that the baby will either come out the baby shoot, aka, vagina or be cut out (C-Section) if there is a problem and she has to come out quicker.
  2. Uterus—“the baby sack.” I am always very careful to clarify that the baby is in her own sack. Mommy’s stomach is where the food goes. Mom’s bladder is where the pee is. The baby has her own special sack to grow in. Inside that sack, there is a bag like a balloon or water bed filled with water. We’ve discussed that when the bag pops (and the water comes out) the baby will be done growing and ready to come out.
  3. The cord—“the tube that connects the baby to mommy.” Simply explain that it is through the cord that the baby gets food and what she needs from mommy. It is fun to point out to the kids that their belly button is what is left to remind them of that connection to their mom.

You know your child best and are best equipped to understand his/her unique perceptions, developmental readiness, and likely responses. While these conversations can be uncomfortable and intimidating, it is better coming from you than a misinformed peer. As I see it, I’d rather have my kids hear about these sorts of sensitive topics from me, where I know the information is factually correct and I can add in little plugs for my own personal values at the same time (e.g., in addition to telling my child where babies come from, I’ll tell them when I think a good time in life to have a baby is).

Good luck!