No matter how well prepared you think you are for parenthood, there will always be a list of things that you need to know about, as your baby grows up. Pregnancy is the time to kick back and relax as much as possible so that you’re at your best when it’s finally time to meet your precious little one.
Whilst you’re making notes for your birth plan, and writing baby thank you cards to send to the guests that attended your baby shower, put your feet up and ponder over the essentials of becoming a parent…
Before The Birth:
Pack Your Hospital Bag
Not all babies arrive on the due date that is given at your pregnancy confirmation appointment. Your labour could start at any time! To avoid a last-minute panic, it’s recommended that you pack up a bag of essentials so that you’re good to go as soon as the birth is imminent. Include all of the things you will need during labour and for after the birth. Don’t forget to pack your birth plan too, along with a list of contact numbers to let family and friends know when the baby arrives. It’s also a good idea to have your mobile phone fully charged. Leave the hospital bag by your front door so that it’s easily accessible.
Spend Quality Time With Your Baby’s Siblings
If you already a parent, it’s important to prepare your child/children for the arrival of a new member of your family. Make an effort to spend quality time with your child now, as once the baby arrives you will be kept busy from morning to night. As you bond with your child and enjoy activities together, encourage conversation about what life will be like once baby arrives. Let your child know how much you love and adore them so that they don’t feel displaced when the baby comes home from the hospital.
Pet-Proof Your Home
The sudden expansion of your family can be quite a shock to your family pet/s. To create a happy and healthy environment for babies and animals it’s best that you set some boundaries. Keep pets out of the baby’s room by attaching a stair gate to the doorframe. If you have a cat, place a cat net over baby’s cot, pram or buggy, to stop your furry feline friend from climbing into it.
Cook Up A Storm In The Kitchen
Once baby arrives doing normal everyday household things like cooking will suddenly become quite a challenge. It’s, therefore, a great idea to prepare and cook large batches of food that you can freeze and defrost to eat later.
Spruce Up Your Home
In preparation for baby’s grand arrival many mums-to-be experiences an overwhelming desire to ‘nest’. Take advantage of your maternal instinct and give your home a good clean from top to bottom. Dust, vacuum, mop, and make any necessary minor repairs, so that life is a little easier when the baby arrives.
Stock Up On The Essentials
You won’t have the time or the inclination to nip out to the shops to buy something you’ve run out of, once your upcoming arrival enters your life. Bulk buying household products and stocking up on baby supplies now will mean that you don’t have to panic later on.
If you plan to use disposable nappies make sure that you buy more than you think you might need. As a new parent, you are about to discover how easy and quick it is for a baby to get through an entire pack of nappies! On average you’ll need around 10-12 disposable nappies per day.
You also need to make sure that you have all of the feeding equipment that you will need to take good care of your newborn. This includes bottles and teats, sterilizing equipment, a breast pump, nursing bras, and breast pads, bibs and muslin cloths. And of course, you will need additional baby essentials such as baby clothes, blankets, toiletries and larger items like a cot, pram/buggy, and car seat.
After Baby’s Arrival:
Get Some Extra Help
The first few weeks after the arrival of your baby can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting. If your partner has maternity/paternity leave take advantage of having an extra pair of hands available to help you with baby’s unlimited demands. Say “yes” to family and friends that offer to help out with chores etc. Although you may want to be a supermum and do everything for baby and your family, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from all of the responsibility.
Rest up and have a re-energizing nap whenever the baby is asleep during the day. Although newborns sleep an average of 16-17 hours a day, most babies will only sleep 2-4 hours at a time. It takes a few weeks for them to settle into a regular sleep pattern.
With help on offer, you can enjoy some free time to catch up with your friends, and to write baby thank you cards to send to everyone that has welcomed a baby with well wishes and a lovely gift.
Support Is All Around You
Women and men who have hands-on parenting experience are the ideal individuals to include on a list of go-to people when you need advice as a parent. It’s good to ask your mum, dad, and family, close friends who have children, and the supportive healthcare professionals, and mums and dads in baby’s new social community, for help with matters that you have no prior experience of.