Well, you've passed the pregnancy test with flying colors. And now that the excitement has settled down (at least somewhat), it's time to start getting organized.
Sure, babies need lots of love, kisses, hugs, and diapers. But they need a whole bunch of other stuff too, like wipes, bottles, bunny rugs, pacifiers that look like moustaches, and hilariously witty jumpsuits.
But one of the most important things that you'll need to do is get your car baby-ready.
Otherwise, um, how do you think you're going to get home from the hospital? (Hint: your car's roof racks are NOT designed for newborn passengers.)
Don't worry, there's not a whole lot you need to do, but it's better that you get it done sooner instead of later (so you have plenty of time to practice with those crazy buckles).
We've broken it down into 5 simple steps for you:
1. Got the right seat?
This, of course, is the most important step - making sure you've got the best, safest car seat for your new little passenger.
You need to find one that not only suits your car, but is easy enough for you to use, according to your preferences. Small car? Pick a slightly smaller seat (that doesn't compromise on safety). Have one of those gigantic SUVs? Get one that is easy to access (it sure can be hard climbing up and down with a baby on your shoulder).
Also, you can choose whether you want a regular seat, or a capsule-type seat, where just the base is permanently anchored in the car - and you can remove the entire capsule without having to buckle up or unbuckle baby and lift him or her out every single time.
In truth? There's a heap of different options available.
Go with what works for you (and your budget) best.
2. Find the sweet spot
When you're figuring out which seat fits you, don't forget to consider exactly where you'll be placing it in your car.
Experts say that the absolute safest place for your baby's car seat is smack bang in the center of the rear seat.
But if that center spot is too unstable for whatever reason, next best bet is behind the driver's seat.
That way you'll be buckling in or unbuckling baby while standing on the sidewalk...and not while you're battling a stream of traffic.
3. Mirror, mirror...
While forward-facing car seats are the norm for older kids, rear-facing car seats are by far the safest for newborns and infants.
BUT (and we know this from experience) it's mighty hard to keep yourself focused while driving if you can't check on your baby to see how they're doing.
Solution: get one of those handy baby mirrors to hang on the car seat, so you can see what your infant is up to just by glancing in your rear view mirror.
So you'll be able to know if they're crying just because they're tired, or because the pacifier fell out (again) .
4. Play it cool
Lots of new parents don't think of this one (we certainly didn't!) but it's equally important: make sure that your baby will be kept adequately warm - or cool - and shaded from direct sunlight.
It's obvious that we don't like driving with the sun in our eyes. Your baby feels the same (and what's worse, they can't really pop a pair of shades on right now to fix it.) And not everyone has rockstar-grade dark tinted windows.
Look into getting something to keep the windows slightly darkened. There are static shades that stick on the windows easily, or even suction-based ones. They're generally pretty cute and colorful too.
5. Have fun!
Once you're sure that you're all set and ready to go, it's time to add a special something to make each journey more fun.
Make sure you've got some nice soothing music to play (for you, not just for the baby!), and having a special toy for them to gaze at while driving can make the trip more relaxing for them too.
And of course, don't forget to stick on your Lil' Baby on Board sticker before your first trip out ;-) (trust us, it'll make you smile every time you see it!)
Wishing you safe and happy travels!- the Lil' Baby on Board team