Get ready, here I come!
Congratulations! You’ve got a new baby on the way. If it’s your first, let us help you prepare for what’s probably going to be the biggest (and best) change in your life so far. If it’s not number one, read on anyway and treat this as a refresher course.
There will be love, joy and wonder. Naturally. And there will also be… not enough hours in the day, sleepless nights and times when you just wish it would all go away. But get your battle plan together, and you’ll be able to truly enjoy those first few precious moments, days and weeks with your brand-new little miracle.
If there was ever an excuse to go shopping, this is it. But you don’t have to go mad. Just make sure you’ve got the baby basics. If it’s a hospital delivery, your baby will need a safe car seat ready and fitted so that you can take them home. They’ll need a safe place to sleep, too, and it’s worth shopping around to get the best you can. You’ll thank yourself later! Look for mattresses with extra features for safe breathing,sloping sleep and hygiene.
Add on essentials like a bath, bottles, blankets, bibs and a complete wardrobe of the cutest baby clothes, changing mat, diapers and wipes, nightlights, baby monitor (and a dangly mobile, of course) and your nursery will be complete.
Building a ‘care basket’ can be a lifesaver – fill it with diapers, wipes, a water bottle and snacks for you and then keep it within arm’s reach from your bed or couch.
Create a nursery
You’ll need somewhere to put all that baby stuff! Setting up a nursery can be one of the nicest parts of pregnancy. You’ll probably want to keep them close to you at first, for those sleepy night-time feeds. And some baby experts recommend they sleep by your bed for the first six months. But you can still create a room ready for them to move into. Pick soft, calming colours and fit it out with a cot, changing table and storage, maybe a nursing chair, then add a few finishing touches to make it your own.
Fill the freezer
Once baby arrives, you’re going to need all the energy you can muster, and all the fuel it takes to maintain it. You may be one of those lucky people with an army of family and friends queuing up to supply you with wholesome casseroles and home-baked cakes.
Even if you are, there’s no harm in stocking up on your own healthy, nutritious meals. Batch cook and freeze your favourite recipes, then all you’ve got to do is pop them out and reheat. While you’re looking after baby, make sure you’re looking after you, too.
Stock up on essentials
Once your little one has arrived, you’ll have far more important things to think about than how much toothpaste you’ve got left. But you won’t want to run out. Basic store cupboard foods, toilet rolls, shampoo, washing up liquid, safe cleaning products, dishwasher salt… And not forgetting nappies! If you’re planning on using re-usables, you’re going to need 10-12 a day. Stock up on all those boring but essential items in advance or set up a regular delivery. It’ll all mean more time to enjoy your new baby.
Spend time with their siblings to be
As well as source of wonder and joy, the arrival of a new brother or sister can be a seismic event, especially for younger children. Spend some extra time with them before the big day. Remind them how much you love them. Explain what’s going to happen so there’ll be no surprises. Sometimes they’ll surprise you. Like the tiny sister-in-waiting who asked if the new baby could be a rabbit!
Don’t forget your fur babies
A brand-new human baby in the house may just have an impact on your fur baby.
Do you need someone to look after them while it’s all happening? Might they feel a little left out? Are they up to date with all their jabs and treatments? Should you stock up on treats and toys, or line up family and friends to give them some TLC while they adjust?
It’s a good idea to sort out sleeping arrangements for the off, by installing a stairgate or making sure you’ve got a cot net, too. Your furry friend may not understand that cuddling up to your baby is not a good thing!
Check your health
You may have seen more medical professionals in the last few months than in your entire lifetime. But now’s the time get your eyes checked, visit the dentist, renew prescriptions and stock up the medicine cabinet with useful over the counter, everyday essentials for you and the family. It’ll all be so much easier before baby arrives.
Baby proof your pad
Even though they won’t be mobile for months, there’s no harm in getting a jump start on your crawling, curious little one. Baby proof cupboard doors, lift low lying ornaments, reconsider that glamorous glass top table, think about place mats instead of temptingly tuggable tablecloths, fit child-proof locks to your toilets, round off sharp-edged furniture with stick on corner pads, invest in washable covers for your sofa. Lots of little ways to keep your baby safe, and you sane!
Powwow with parents
Talk to parents in crime who’ve already been there and done that. Your own parents, friends and family. They’ll be a mine of information about what to expect and what to do on and after THE day.
Take time out
This might be the last time for a good long while that you can take some time to yourself. Try and use it to do something you love. Spend a few ‘just the two of us’ days away with your partner. Meet up for grown up social time with family and friends. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read. Catch a movie.
Tackle the admin
We don’t have to tell you that having a baby is a huge life event. You might decide it’s time to rethink big things like your working week, your will, your family budget, your life or health insurance. OK, we’ll just leave that there. Enough of the serious stuff!
Plan for the big day
Time to talk to your healthcare professional and make a birth plan. It might change, but it’s a useful guide to your preferences. Talk to your partner, too, and make sure you’re on the same page about what you want to happen. You’re in this thing together!
If you’ll be going to hospital, make sure you know the quickest route there. Put the details in your sat nav, now! And maybe check the car or even get it serviced, while you’re at it. Nobody really wants delivery by roadside assistance!
At around 36 weeks, pack a bag with everything you and your baby might need during labour and after the birth. Tell your birth partner what’s in there, as they might be the ones hunting through it! You’ll need nightwear, underwear, babywear, flip flops, overnight toiletries and hand sanitiser, gadgets and chargers and your birth plan.
Send help now!
In those first few weeks with a baby, you might need a little extra help. With a new baby to coo over, friends and family are usually only too happy to rally round if they can. Make sure you make the most of their good will. Talk to them ahead of time and let them know when they can be most useful. Straight after, or when paternity leave comes to an end? If you’re planning on using professionals, like a cleaner or babysitters for your older children, it’s worth getting them lined up in advance, too.
Be a clean machine
Life will be too full for housework once your new baby has arrived. Hopefully, that legendary nesting instinct will have kicked in. If so, make the most of it to clean, dust and hoover the house while you’ve got the time and energy.
And degerm the germiest areas in your house before baby gets home. Kitchen sinks, dish cloths, stove knobs, sponges, taps, countertops, fridge handles, cutting boards, and toothbrush holders are all germy hotspots. Who knew!
Wash everything in sight
It’s a good idea to wash even brand-new baby clothes and bedding with a baby-safe, non -bio detergent. Just to make sure that there are no irritating substances left on there that might irritate your new-born’s delicate skin.
Your phone is your friend
Load your phone up with useful, important numbers. Your midwife and GP. Your local hospital. Taxi companies, babysitters and pet minders. Family and friends. Anybody and everybody you might need to contact quickly.
Then make sure that your phone is fully charged right up to the main event, and keep it charged while you're in labour. That way you’ll be ready to tell everyone the good news as soon as it happens, and send that first adorable photo of your beautiful, brilliant baby the minute they arrive.
And if you’re really forward thinking, you’ll already have planned the announcements and even decided on a name!