Congratulations, you’re nearly there! Before you know it you’ll be settling into life as a new (or extended!) family and whether it’s your first time or you’re a pro, welcoming a new baby is an exciting prospect. Like most things in life, not everything always goes to plan. But with a bit of preparation and forethought, you can make sure the early weeks with your new addition are as smooth and contented as possible.
Talk, talk, talk
Whether you’re feeling really nervous or you’re cool as a cucumber, it’s important to share your feelings with your partner. Not only may they feel the same way, talking will help strengthen your bond during this important time. It’s also good to remember that it may not be obvious to your partner how they can best help you, not only during your labour but also when you get home afterwards. Who will take on the chores? Who’s going to get up in the night? Make sure you keep communicating so you’re both on the same page.
Write a birth plan
Putting pen to paper and jotting down a birth plan is a great way of letting your midwife and the people caring for you during the birth know what your wishes are. You might include a specific type of pain relief you’d prefer, who you’d like to cut the cord or if you would like to use a birthing pool for example. It doesn’t need to be rigid and structured, in fact, it’s best to stay flexible in case things change on the day, but it’s a useful guide and can help you feel a little more in control.
Enjoy time with soon-to-be big brothers or sisters
If you have a child or children already, they may feel a temporary sense of displacement when the new baby comes along. Spending lots of time with them now doing fun things like trips to the park or beach offers an opportunity for extra bonding time and creates some great memories too. So before you’re super busy with a newborn, enjoy some quality time in now.
Buy plenty of nappies
Get online and look for retailers who are offering trial packs of nappies, both reusable ones and disposables, so once your little one arrives you can try a few and see what works best. But you’ll still need a good stack of them to start you off and it’s worth shopping around. Babies get through an incredible amount – around 10 or more a day if using disposables – so shop around and see if there are any on bulk offer.
Like housework, you’re unlikely to fancy shopping and cooking during the first few weeks at home with your baby. By batch cooking a good variety of different meals then popping them in the freezer, all you’ll need to do is warm them up and you’ll have a healthy home-cooked meal in no time – with no reaching for the takeaway menu!
Wash your baby’s clothing and bedding
Clothing and bedding straight from the shop can feel a little dusty or smelly, so it’s a good idea to look after your new baby’s delicate skin by washing them first in a non-biological detergent. This not only makes them smell nice and fresh but prevents irritation too. And whilst we’re talking washing…
Wash your own clothing and bedding too!
It’s lovely to come home to a nice fresh bed, and it’ll feel glorious after giving birth. Plus the more laundry you do now, the less you’ll have to do later and you’ll also need to take some clean things with you to hospital.
Pack your hospital bag
This one’s worth doing any time after your second trimester so it’s all ready to go just in case. Make sure your birth partner knows that you’ve packed and where your bag is, so they can grab it for you if necessary. Much like a usual overnight bag, you’ll need all your essentials such as shampoo, toothpaste and shower gel, plus plenty of changes of clothes, some comfy pyjamas or a nightie. You’ll also need some baby clothes for your new arrival, some nappies and an outfit to bring them home in. And don’t forget your birth plan!
Get the basics sorted
During the last couple of weeks of your pregnancy, it’s easy to feel slightly overwhelmed at everything you need to remember for your baby. But get the cot, pram, some bottles and formula if necessary and plenty of nappies and clothes ready and you’re well on the way. Oh and if your partner or family member is driving you home from the hospital, don’t forget the car seat!