Welcome to the fourth installment of our blog series, Planning Pays Off! If you're just joining us, you'll want to head here first to get the overview on what the fourth trimester is and why it matters. Make sure you check out the previous posts here and here to get up to date on your postpartum plan. Take these simple planning steps now to help have a more calm first few weeks home with your baby.
This week we're talking about providers - businesses and individuals that can help you in your fourth trimester with a variety of goods and services. This can be anything from lactation consultants to dog walkers, doulas to cleaning services. You may not end up needing any of these services, but if you do, it'll pay off having done some basic research ahead of time.
Building a trusting relationship with a business or professional provider doesn't always come quickly. And I find that sometimes that trust factor matters more than others. For example, my bank is a bank - I like it, but all things being equal, I'd be happy with any bank that had the products and services I need. My auto mechanic shop though - I'm keeping that place forever. I don't know a lot about cars, so I have to fully trust that my mechanic is going to look after me and my mom-mobile.
I like having referrals from friends and colleagues for a variety of personal and professional goods and services. I trust my circle to give me fair and balanced reviews on the businesses and individuals they recommend, and I'm usually pretty satisfied with the work these businesses do. But sometimes I need a service urgently, and I don't have the time or brain-space to ask around, do research, price shop, etc.
Having a new baby opens up a whole new world of possible goods and services of which you may or may not find yourself in need. And these are the kinds of people and businesses with which you'll need to have a strong, trusting relationship - like my mechanic.
Some of these will be easy to identify and research ahead of time - a pediatrician, for example. Some may pop up more urgently in the weeks after your baby is born.
Do some research now. Find names, get referrals from friends and family, check out websites and social media posts. Keep the names and contact information for those that seem like they'd be a good fit with you, your family and your needs. Check out the costs or fees. Make sure you know what your insurance company will cover.
Click here for a handy worksheet to help you organize providers. You may not need these resources. But if you do, you'll be happy you've done the initial work ahead of time.