Crafting Your Birth Plan: A Guide for Expectant Parents

Partners In Pediatrics Denver Integrative Holistic Medicine Child Health Care Kids Children Newborn Baby Family Health Kids Expecting Parents Birth Plan Pregnancy

When thinking about your baby’s big entrance into the world, it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions—excitement, nerves, and everything in between. To help you prepare for this special day, creating a birth plan can be incredibly helpful. In this guide, we’ll break down what a birth plan is and how to create one, along with some important tips for getting ready to welcome your child home.

It’s important to keep in mind that all birth experiences are unique and deeply personal and though there are several suggestions throughout this blog, your own personal preferences, plans, and general sense of well-being are priority #1. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your prenatal team or our trusted integrative pediatric professionals at Partners in Pediatrics for guidance.

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a written document in which you detail your ideas, preferences, and expectations for the events preceding, during, and immediately following your baby’s birth. It can be as intricate or straightforward as you desire, but its primary purpose is to assist you in considering your wishes and ensuring that all parties involved in your baby’s birth are aware of your hopes and desires.

Writing Your Birth Plan

Pick Your Style: You can either use a template you find online or write your own birth plan from scratch. Whatever feels easiest for you! Here is a sample.

Do Your Homework: Learn about the usual procedures at the hospital or birthing center where you’ll be delivering. This will help you know what to expect and make decisions that work for you. Also, let your doctor take a look at your plan to see if they have any special suggestions.

Share Your Plan: Give copies of your birth plan to everyone who will be with you on the big day, like your partner, doula, birthing coach, or doctor. Make sure they understand your wishes and can support you.

Stay Flexible: Keep in mind that things might not always go exactly as planned during labor and delivery. It’s important to be open to changes and decisions that need to be made in the moment. Last-minute decisions might have to be made by you, your partner, or your doctor on the day of delivery. You can make provisions for some situations, but just remember that you can’t predict everything!

Partners In Pediatrics Denver Integrative Holistic Medicine Child Health Care Kids Children Newborn Baby Family Health Kids Expecting Parents Birth Plan Pregnancy

What to Include in Your Birth Plan

Basic Info: Your name, your doctor’s contact info, where you’ll give birth, your due date or induction date, and any important health details such as allergies or medications should be included.

Who’s Involved: Write down who will take you to the hospital, who will be in the delivery room, and whether or not you want someone taking photos or video during the birth.

Labor and Delivery Preferences: When it comes to labor and delivery, there are a lot of considerations. Below is a list of items you may want to consider:

  • Do you want music playing?
  • Do you want the lights bright or dim?
  • Will you bring special items from home to make you feel comfortable?
  • What will you wear?
  • What will you eat and drink?
  • Do you want to move around or stay in bed?
  • Will you use a birthing tub, exercise ball, or other equipment?
  • How do you want to be supported during labor?
  • What are your preferences in the case of an induction or last-minute C-section?
  • How would you like to manage the pain?
  • What are your preferred birthing positions?
  • Do you want your doctor to use fetal monitoring?
  • Do you want a routine IV?
  • Are you okay with an episiotomy?
  • Are you comfortable with the doctor using forceps or vacuum extraction?

When it comes to the possibility of needing interventions like IVs, fetal monitoring, or assistance with vacuum or forceps, and even the potential for a cesarean delivery, it’s crucial to remain prepared and receptive to guidance from your delivery team in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Always keep in mind that the ultimate objective is ensuring the health and well-being of both you and your baby, a goal shared by both you and your delivery team.

Partners In Pediatrics Denver Integrative Holistic Medicine Child Health Care Kids Children Newborn Baby Family Health Kids Expecting Parents Birth Plan Pregnancy

Baby Care Wishes: Your little one is finally here! The hard part may be over, but as a new parent, there are still a few preferences to indicate on your birth plan when it comes to the care of your new baby. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Do you want to hold your baby immediately after they enter the world?
  • Do you want to breastfeed immediately? Or do you prefer to start with formula?
  • Will you be combining breastfeeding with bottle-feeding?
  • Would you or your partner like to help cut the umbilical cord?
  • Do you want to save the umbilical cord blood?
  • Do you have preferences regarding the placenta?
  • Do you want your baby in the room with you all the time or can they go to the nursery?
  • If you’re expecting a boy, will he be circumcised at the hospital?
  • Who should the doctor speak with first in the case of an emergency?
  • Do you have preferences for the location or timing of your baby’s standard medical exam and procedures?

Getting Ready for Baby’s Arrival

Bringing your newborn home from the hospital marks a significant milestone in your journey as a parent. While there’s an abundance of advice available on the essentials and how to be ready, the reality is that complete preparedness is elusive, and the multitude of suggested items can be overwhelming. To ease your transition, here’s a checklist of essential items for your baby’s first day home, which you can customize to suit your family’s unique needs.

Approved Car Seat

Hospitals enforce a strict policy in the United States requiring parents to have an appropriate car seat before leaving with their newborn—it’s a legal requirement. Fortunately, you have several options available, including infant-only seats, 3-in-1 seats, and convertible seats.

All infant car seats must be positioned in a rear-facing manner, as it’s deemed the safest position for your child in the event of a collision. Car seat safety experts advise keeping kids rear-facing until they surpass the height and weight limits specified for their car seat, often extending beyond their second birthday. It’s crucial to exercise caution when considering used car seats, as they are not reusable after a crash.

Appropriate Place to Sleep

As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in your room, in a crib or bassinet, for the first four to six months. When preparing your crib or bassinet, make sure the mattress is firm, fits snuggly against the rails, and is covered with a breathable cotton fitted sheet. No other items, such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or other soft items, should be in the crib while your baby is sleeping.

Tools to Help Feed the Baby

If you opt for breastfeeding, it’s wise to have essential items like nursing bras, a nursing pillow, nipple shields, nipple cream, and nursing pads readily available. Depending on your feeding plan, breast pumps, storage bags, and a nursing cover may also be necessary to manage your milk supply effectively.

For those who choose bottle feeding, whether with breast milk or formula, essential supplies include bottles, nipples, bottle brushes, and sterilizing equipment. While there’s minimal evidence favoring one type of bottle over another, it’s essential to find what works best for you and your baby as you establish a feeding routine.

Regardless of your chosen feeding method, ensuring an ample supply of burp cloths is essential for managing inevitable spills and messes.

Partners In Pediatrics Denver Integrative Holistic Medicine Child Health Care Kids Children Newborn Baby Family Health Kids Expecting Parents Birth Plan Pregnancy

Diapering Supplies

While changing diapers may not be the most glamorous of tasks, you’ll soon become a pro. In the early weeks, anticipate your baby going through around 10 to 12 diapers daily, leading to frequent trips to the changing table. To simplify this routine, refer to the following checklist.

Disposable Diapers:

  • Disposable diapers
  • Diaper disposal system
  • Diaper disposal liner refills

Cloth Diapers:

  • Pre-folded cloth diapers or all-in-ones
  • Wraps for pre-folded diapers (5 to 10 newborn size)
  • Diaper pail

Other Essentials:

  • Wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Changing table
  • Changing pad for table
  • Changing pad cover (2)
  • Portable changing pad

Clothing & Blankets

As adorable as newborns are, they can also be quite messy. From spit-ups to blow-outs, it’s essential to have a variety of clothing options on hand to ensure your little one stays clean and comfortable.

  • Short- and long-sleeved onesies
  • One-piece sleepers  (choose ones with zippers to save yourself time and effort!)
  • Non-weighted, age appropriate sleep sack (baby should start to sleep with their arms out at 3 months)
  • Socks or booties
  • Scratch mittens
  • A snowsuit (depending on climate and when baby will be born)
  • Receiving blankets
  • Heavier baby blankets

Bathing Supplies

Parents often find it convenient to have a dedicated plastic infant tub for bathing their baby, though you can also bathe them in the kitchen sink with close supervision. Additionally, it’s essential to have baby washcloths, hooded towels, and baby-safe products readily available. Using baby shampoo and lotion will help keep your little one clean and comfortable.

Medical Care Supplies

Navigating the world of medical supplies for your newborn’s arrival can feel daunting, but with the right preparation, you can ensure a smooth transition home from the hospital. Below is a list a few items to have on hard.

  • Blunt scissors
  • Digital baby thermometer for rectal temperature (this is the preferred method of taking a baby’s temperature the first several months of life)
  • Cotton balls (don’t use swabs to clean baby’s nose or ears)
  • Medicine dropper
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
  • Saline nasal drops (AAP-approved in place of cough and cold medicine)
  • Petroleum jelly and sterile gauze (for circumcision care)
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Baby gas drops (AAP-approved Simethicone) or gripe water
  • Infant Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol, safe after 12 weeks)
  • Band aids
  • Tweezers

While at-home care is the first line of defense when baby’s sick, always discuss medications and treatments with your pediatrician before administering them to a newborn.

Partners In Pediatrics Denver Integrative Holistic Medicine Child Health Care Kids Children Newborn Baby Family Health Kids Expecting Parents Birth Plan Pregnancy


By following these steps and planning in advance, you’ll feel more self-assured and prepared for the exciting day of your baby’s arrival. Your birth plan will act as a valuable tool, guaranteeing that your preferences are acknowledged and honored as you embrace the joy of welcoming your newborn into the world.

At Partners in Pediatrics, we have been caring for generations of Colorado children for over 4 decades and are passionate about what we do.

We are holistic pediatricians and healthcare providers dedicated to educating the Mile High City on functional wellness and health care topics. Our mission is to offer your family exceptional pediatric care, taking care of the whole child, through integrative medicine and a holistic treatments. This approach integrates conventional and evidence-based medicine with anticipatory guidance centered around nutrition, sleep, and behavior. Additionally, when suitable, we provide support and guidance on alternative treatments to ensure comprehensive care for your child’s well-being.

Please get in touch with our team of integrative pediatricians with any questions about newborn preparation and care. If you’re in need of more comprehensive advice, please contact our team serving the Denver metro area, Littleton, City Park, Cherry Creek, downtown Denver, and the surrounding areas of Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *