by Susan Hawkins
Practically every emotion comes into play when you learn for the first time that you're pregnant-emotions like joy, terror, excitement, surprise, anticipation, doubt and, of course, love. Then you ask yourself, "What do I do next?" Heading for the books, magazines and Internet for guidance seems like the logical first step. But there's a lot of conflicting information out there, and every woman is different.
Add to that your existing work and personal commitments, and it can become overwhelming. How do you decide what you really need? When should you begin birthing classes? Which class is best and most convenient? What's the best exercise class? Who's the best obstetrician available under our insurance plan? Where can I find great maternity clothes on a budget?
Rather than spending a lot of unnecessary time and money in preparation for the new arrival, many expectant mothers are using professional baby planners to point them in the right direction. Think of them as a one-stop advice shop for every facet of pregnancy and new parenthood. A baby planner in your area will use her experience and expertise to match your individual criteria with the options that suit you best.
Typically, baby planners are former working women who have already experienced the pitfalls of pregnancy and new parenthood. They've done extensive research in all areas of pregnancy and newborn parenting, so they can bring you current information adapted to your lifestyle, wellbeing and life-after-birth priorities.
What Do Baby Planners Do?
- They offer practical support and informed advice to help you prepare you and your home for your new baby.
- They develop a detailed list of what you need and where to get it.
- They continually communicate with you via Web site, phone or at your home to discuss your needs as they arise-maternity nurses, breastfeeding consultants, buying baby furniture, filling your freezer post-delivery, sending birth announcements and more.
- They help you understand unfamiliar terms-electric breast pumps, baby sleeping bags, TENS machines, cotton wool and other relevant jargon.
- They give you general-advice sheets on a number of topics as you proceed through your pregnancy.
- They provide information on appropriate pregnancy services and support in your area.
- They research and provide post-natal exercise options in your area.
- They research and provide day care facilities in your area and within your budget.
- They recommend mother-and-baby groups to help you build your own support network.
- They're available to help you through a time-consuming, exhausting and confusing time in your life, so your first pregnancy and delivery are as smooth and stress-free as possible.
- Other services include building a baby registry, pregnancy photography, going "green" and Daddy prep.
- How Do I Choose A Baby Planner?
- Look for licensed baby planners in your area. Since baby planning is a relatively new concept, large cities are more likely to have baby planning services.
- Make a list of questions you want to ask prior to calling. Inquire about their credentials and their services, find out how they interact with you (phone, Internet, home visits,) ask them how long they've been in business, ask about their prices, request references. Be prepared with these and any other questions you might have before you call.
- Make sure you speak with the baby planner, not the receptionist. Tell them your wants and needs, and find out how they can help you. If you can't establish a rapport with a potential baby planner, keep looking until you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Whether you want to do the legwork yourselves and need a little advice or you don't have time to lift a finger, baby planners will design your baby plan around you!