It’s so exciting when you find out you are pregnant for the first time! Exciting…..and a little bewildering, as you start to think about how your life will change when this new little one arrives. As the big day gets closer and you start to think what preparations you need to make, here is our list of the top 20 things you should do to get ready for that momentous day!
1 Chat to your partner
This might seem obvious, but as your nesting instincts start to kick in and you set about getting ready, don’t forget to include your partner. Talk about all the things you need to do. Are you both happy to find out whether you are having a boy or girl, or do you prefer to wait? Are there any family names that are important to you which you may want to discuss. Start thinking about your new baby’s nursery…maybe your partner might be happy to let you get on with a lot of the planning, but find out which things are really important to them so you can plan together.
2 Get tips from your mummy friends
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information that you suddenly need to ‘know’ as you prepare to be a parent. So speak to your mummy friends to get their top tips. Keep up-to-date with current advice from your midwife too, as this could have changed from when your best friend or sister had her baby only a year or so ago!
3 Book an antenatal class
One of the best ways to start to gather information and to meet other prospective mums is to join an antenatal class. Getting informed on what you need to know about giving birth and the choices you have will really help you to feel more in control. Some classes run for just mums and others are for couples, so pick the one that’s right for you. Having new friends in the same position as you is also great for beginning to establish your support network, which will help you so much during those first few whirlwind weeks and months as a new mummy.
4 Understand your maternity (and paternity) leave
Every company has a slightly different maternity policy, so take time to understand how yours works. Look at the money you will receive and start to make a plan and budget for while you are on maternity leave. Also consider when will be the best time for your partner to take paternity leave to be with you and your new baby.
5 Think about your birth plan
While you can never be sure exactly how your birth will go, you should discuss with your partner what you would like, and also discuss contingency plans in case things don’t go exactly as you hope. It may be that your partner will be the one to remember and ask for things on your behalf when the time comes, so discussing this and being clear in advance can be really beneficial. Try not to be too rigid in your plan, so that you don’t feel let down if things don’t go as you expected.
6 Stock up on maternity pads and mats
Many first time mums don’t realise that they will bleed for up to a few weeks after giving birth. Making sure you have a supply of maternity pads and mats to protect your bed linen will mean you don’t need to worry about this when you get home.
7 Work out what you do and don’t need to buy
There are a dizzying array of baby products on the market – some are really useful and others much less so. Speak to your friends and family to find out what you really need to buy, rather than going overboard and buying things you never get round to using. Also consider what you could borrow or buy second hand rather than brand new – babies change and grow so quickly that some items may only be used for a few weeks before they are outgrown, and still be in pristine condition.
8 Buy plenty of muslin squares
Your beautiful amazing new baby can create mess in more ways that you can imagine! You will probably soon find that you don’t go far without one of these wonder cloths close at hand. A pack of three might seem plenty before the baby arrives, but be warned that you might go through these in an hour! Useful for soooo many things, it is well worth having a good supply of these on hand!
9 Stock up on nappies
Another item to make sure you have plenty of is nappies. Whether you choose disposable nappies, or re-useable cloth nappies, babies often seem to have an uncanny knack of poo-ing just after you have changed them, and you might use up to 10-12 a day, so make sure you have a good supply. On the flip side of this, babies grow quickly and do move up through the nappy sizes….so don’t over buy that you will end up left with too many. (Although most supermarkets will exchange unopened disposable packets for the next size up if you do make this mistake!)
10 Consider your pets
Welcoming a new baby to the house could mean a few changes for any pets you have in the house. Making changes to your habits and routines now can help your pet adapt, so that they don’t see the baby as the cause of the change when they arrive.
11 Stock up on non-biological washing powder
Babies have such sensitive skin that you will want to use non-biological washing powder and fabric softener on all their items. Making sure you have this from day one is one less thing to consider when you arrive home.
12 Wash all your new baby clothes and bedding in advance
Use your new non-bio washing powder and fabric softener to wash everything your little one will need before you put it away. This will remove any chemicals which may result from the production process and make sure your lovely new items will be gentle on your babies skin.
13 Set up an online supermarket shop
You will not have much spare time in the first couple of weeks at home with your new baby and a trip to the supermarket may seem like the equivalent of climbing Everest! Setting up an online shop in advance means you can order your shopping from the comfort of your armchair while you are feeding your new baby!
14 Prepare and freeze some meals
Just as supermarket shopping becomes a much more difficult task with a new baby, so does finding the time and energy to cook a meal. Preparing and freezing some nutritious meals that can be quickly popped in the microwave will be a godsend for those first few weeks.
15 Think about childcare
The end of your maternity leave must seem a long way in the future right now! But it’s worth considering what your childcare needs will be if you plan to return to work. Some nurseries or childminders can be booked up a long way in advance and you may need to put your name down before your baby even arrives to be sure of a place. If you think this may be the case, then do plan to have a look at nurseries before baby is born to be sure you will get a place.
16 Clean the house
You may be lucky and your nesting instincts will kick in making it ‘imperative’ that you clean the house from top to bottom before baby arrives! It is worth considering that cleaning is likely to be very low down your list of priorities once baby does arrive, so it may be worth ticking this off your list now!
17 Practice fitting your car seat
You and your partner both need to know how to fit your new car seat and you should both practice this before the baby arrives. You don’t want to be the ones fumbling around in the hospital car park, with your new baby snugly tucked up in their seat as you try desperately to work out how to secure it to take them home!
18 Pack your hospital bag
Get your hospital bag ready well in advance, so that when the time comes it is ready just to pick up on your way out of the house.
19 Have all your contact numbers to hand
Consider all the people you might need to contact once your labour gets underway. Have numbers close at hand for your midwife and the hospital. Think about who you would want to pass on the exciting news to when your baby is finally here… close family and friends and finally, don’t forget to add your newborn photographer to this list, so you an confirm a date for those beautiful squishy newborn photos!
20 Take time for you
After all the months of preparing, everything is ready and you are just waiting now for your beautiful new baby to arrive. Make the most of this downtime to rest as much as you can, and take a bit of last minute time for you. Don’t feel you should be ‘doing something’ all the time…..take the time to put your feet up and enjoy these last few days before your family of two becomes a family of three!