Getting ready for your new arrival

You may be months away, perhaps weeks, or in some cases, just a few days away from having a baby. Have you thought about what will happen when you bring your bundle of joy home for the first time? How will you cope with this tiny, wee person who just sleeps, eats, cries and poos all the time? Well, there will be great days, ok days and a few less than ok days, but you get through them all. Don’t worry. However, you can take practical steps now that will make life easier, better and generally simpler to deal with later.


Basics

You might not need or want to buy all these things, but you’ll find many of them indispensable.

  • A child car seat – practice putting it in and taking it out, in and out, until you can do it with your eyes shut
  • Moses basket – for the first few months, they’re brilliant to carry baby and ever so light
  • Pram –there are millions to choose from with 4 wheels, 3 wheels, with storage pouches, sun shades, you name it
  • Changing bag and a nappy bag – have these ready before you go into labour, you’ll rely on them afterwards
  • Nappies – check the size, too big and it could get messy
  • Baby wipes
  • Spare clothing
  • Baby blankets


Baby’s room

  • Cot
  • Dresser or chest of drawers – avoid buying baby sizes – you want something that your child can grow into and you won’t have to change in a year or two
  • Changing table and mat
  • Baby bathtub – just while they are teeny
  • Bouncy seat – endless fascination for them, 5 minutes peace and quiet for you
  • Clothes – the basics - baby grows/bibs/socks – don’t buy them all the same size, but not too big either – babies grow at unpredictable and different rates

 

Feeding equipment

Even if you intend to breastfeed there are a few items you will need:

  • Breast pump – manual / electric – this will take the pressure of you and allow others including your partner to feed the baby
  • Storage containers – storage cups for expressed milk
  • Bottles
  • Teats
  • Bottle sterilizer

 

Work-related

  • Have you sorted your maternity leave? When do you intend to finish work? When do you think you will return?
  • Has your patner sorted his paternity leave?
  • Handover notes – make sure you write everything down – you don’t want to be worried or bothered about things, no matter how big or small, later on.

 

Food

  • Prepare as much as you can beforehand – make chilli, stews, spag boll, etc. handy meals that can be frozen and heated up later.
  • You could set up online shopping and delivery, it’s convenient and cheap – you may not feel like doing this the first few weeks after birth.
  • Do a big shop before your due date so the house is well stocked – don’t forget the basics like toilet roll, cleaning products etc.
  • Try and stick to health foods – especially if you think you will be breastfeeding, a good diet is very important.

 

Cleaning

  • Do a big clean just before your baby is due – enlist the help of your partner, or other friends and relatives, they should be happy to help if you are too tired.
  • Stock up on cleaning products, it’s better you buy them now, and  don’t forget bin liners for all those smelly nappies to come.
  • Set up the nursery – is everything ready for the baby coming home? You’ll want things to be as easy and convenient as possible then.


 

 Friends and family and other stuff

  • If your partner can’t be there in the first few weeks – make arrangements with other friends and family to step in and help.
  • Make sure that at least 2 or 3 people are on your speed dial for when you go into labour.
  • Pack your hospital bag and pack one for junior – include your doctor or midwife notes and make sure your partner knows where they are.
  • Have other PJs or nighties ready, just in case your partner/friend has to bring them to you in hospital.
  • Make arrangements for pets – cats, dogs, budgies, goldfish - to be taken care of when you go into hospital, especially if you live alone.
  • Work out the route to the hospital and look at alternatives if you don’t want your child’s birthplace to be in the back of your car in a traffic jam.

 

Preparation, preparation, preparation

  • Swot up on the signs of labour and what options you will have when you start to give birth – knowing what to expect will really help you.
  • Have you got a short list of names that you and your partner like, that you can both agree on? If not, buy a book on Baby Names. Of course, when you see your little precious for the first time you may decide that the name you have chosen doesn’t suit, so feel free to change it. A name has to last a very long time, so don’t feel you have to rush things.