9 Things Moms Should Practice Doing Before They Give Birth (PHOTOS)

pregnant woman readingParents-to-be, before you come home with your baby, there are some things you ought to know. And I'm not just talking about the fact that you're never going to sleep again, I mean physical things. Things that, if you learn them before the baby arrives, will make your life 1,000 times easier.

No one wants to be googling "how to swaddle a baby" when their kid is screaming bloody murder.

Here are 9 things every parent should know before ... becoming a parent.

Image via  © iStock.com/JoseGirarte

  • Swaddling


    Jeanne Sager


    Swaddling. It's pretty much essential for your newborn, and you're going to want to know how to do it. So learn beforehand. The Stir has a handy-dany swaddling guide -- with step-by-step photos -- that every parent-to-be should check out.

  • Learn How to Use a Baby Carrier


    Torstein Greni/YouTube


    If you plan on "wearing your baby" -- especially if you're planning on using a Moby Wrap -- you definitely should practice in advance with a doll. A hot guy on YouTube was kind enough to demonstrate how to use a baby carrier, and well, even if you don't want to use a carrier, you should watch the video :)

  • Proper Car Seat Installation/Positioning




    Ah, car seats. The bane of every new dad's existence. A word to the wise: Have the car seat installed a few weeks prior to your due date, and practice taking it in and out of your vehicle. It isn't as easy as it looks. Also, learn proper car seat safety -- how to put the baby in, what they shouldn't wear when in a car seat, etc.

    Here's a straightforward "how to install a car seat" video, but you can also take your car to a car seat inspection station to make sure you did it properly.

  • Opening and Closing the Stroller


    Sharon Mollerus/Flickr


    Sure, it may sound easy enough ... but when you've got a crying baby in one hand and a diaper bag in another, you best know exactly how to quickly open or close your stroller.

    Every stroller is different, so make sure you read the instructions for your particular model beforehand. And practice, practice, practice.

  • Get to Know Your Breast Pump


    Slipp D. Thompson/Flickr


    You don't need to know exactly how to pump breastmilk before you have a baby, if you're planning on nursing. But it certainly isn't a bad idea to get a general idea.

    If you're renting a pump through the hospital, ask a nurse for directions on how to use it. If you have one of your own, look for a YouTube video of your particular model.

    Here's a great video on how to use the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump.

  • Set Up Your Cosleeper



    If you're planning on using a cosleeper bassinet that attaches to your bed, set it up beforehand. We got a cosleeper, and for whatever reason, it was hands-down the hardest thing to set up. You don't want to have to be worrying about it the night you come home from the hospital.

    This video gives good step-by-step instructions on how to set up the Arm's Reach Cosleeper Bedside Cot. Warning: It's not as easy as it looks.

  • Get Informed About Nursing


    Mothering Touch/Flickr


    If you're planning on breastfeeding, you should get a general idea of what nursing is all about before it's go-time. Talk to friends who have nursed; watch videos online; read books; and/or go to a class. Yes, it's one of the world's most natural things, but it can definitely be a bit trying at first.

  • Learn About Giving Baby a Bath



    You probably know this, but you don't want to just plop your infant into a tub and wash him or her up like you would a toddler. There's a technique. You need to be gentle, and you probably should just use a wash cloth the first few times. I learned about baby baths through the infant care class I took. I highly recommend taking one or, again, watching a few videos online.

  • CPR



    Every parent should know CPR before having a baby. See where you can take a class in your area by going to the Red Cross website.

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