Whether you’ve been trying to have a child for months, of you’ve found yourself suddenly thrown into parenthood, there are a lot of things to prepare before your little bundle of joy arrives. The important thing to remember during this time is that you shouldn’t let yourself get too overwhelmed. While it can feel like you have a list of to-dos that’s as long as your arm, you do have time to get everything sorted before your due date.
The first step to success is having the right plan in place, complete with items that you can check-off as soon as they’re done. We’ve put together these quick tips to help you handle some of the most important steps of getting ready for your little one.
1. Write a Birth Plan
If you don’t have one already, start by preparing some notes that will tell your midwife, partner, and any doctors involved with your delivery what you want your birth plan to involve. This could include deciding which items you want to take in your overnight bag, as well as making sure that you have a bag that’s big enough for everything. Other points to consider might include what kind of pain relief you want, and whether you want a delayed cord clamping.
Your birth plan is important, but it needs to be flexible too. There’s always a chance that your needs and preferences will change on the big day. Additionally various factors can affect what’s actually possible too.
2. Speak to Other Mums
One of the best things you can do if you’re worried about becoming a parent for the first time, is speak to other mums and dads that you already know have plenty of experience. Your own mum is a great person to start with, but you can also find other supportive people in your friendship group, as well as any mother and me groups that you’re thinking of joining.
Consider getting online and talking to new mums in your Facebook groups and social media pages. The more opportunities you have to speak to other people, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel. Remember, every parent goes through the same panic that you might be feeling now.
3. Plan the Nursery
What do you want your child’s nursery or bedroom to look like? Are you going to be investing in completely re-decorating, or do you want to make the most of what you already have? What kind of storage system to you have in place for clothes and are there any pieces of furniture that you don’t have yet that you need to plan for, such as Moses baskets, or prams and pushchairs.
You don’t need to buy everything straight away – for instance, there’s no need for a potty in your child’s first few months of life, but it’s good to have an idea of what you need and what you have, so you can feel more prepared.
4. Look for Extra Sources of Help
Every parent needs help from time to time. Don’t get yourself into a spin thinking that you need to do everything yourself. You have friends and family around you for a reason, and most of them will be willing to give you all the support they can. Speak to your partner about who you’ll both feel comfortable leaving the baby with if there’s ever a time when you need someone to care for your child when you’re at work or busy with something else.
This could also be a great time to start looking into the childcare options that are available in your area. There are plenty of preschools to check out, and your child will be ready to begin exploring this world a lot sooner than you think.
5. Pet-Proof the House
If you already have animals in your home, it’s important to think about how they’re going to react to the arrival of a new child. Remember, the sudden presence of a new human can be a huge shock to your furry friends. It’s a good idea to make sure that you and your baby are going to feel comfortable around the pet and vice versa.
Start by stopping your parents from sleeping in the same room as either you or your baby. You’ll have to put some boundaries in place for the months to come. A stair gate can be a good way to keep the upstairs out of bounds for your pets. There are even nets available that can help to stop cats from clambering into cots and baby beds too.
6. Clean the House
Yes, this might seem like a big job, but it’s best to start now when you have plenty of time. Dedicate your weekends to cleaning one part of the house each week; this will stop you from getting too exhausted. The chances are that you won’t have a lot of time to invest in housework when your baby gets here, so it’s best to take advantage of your nesting instinct as soon as possible.
Arrange for people to come and help you clear out the extra stuff in your cupboards and attic if you want to make some more room around the house. Every so often, make sure that you do a big clean out so that hopefully all you need to do when the baby gets here is keep on top of things.
7. Stock Up on the Essentials
Finally, make sure that you have plenty of the essentials around and ready to access when you need them. For instance, first-time parents are often surprised by how many nappies their little ones go through. Making sure that you’re stocked up with the right nappies in the right sizes will be crucial going forward. You might even decide to get some reusable nappies too.
If you go online, you can even find some retailers that offer trial packs, so you can find out what works best for your baby.