Essential preparation for a new baby
If you are reading this, the chances are that you are in the last stages of pregnancy and fully in the ‘nesting’ period.
You’ll be checking and rechecking those lists of things you need, don’t want to forget, and would like to get a head start on before the arrival of your new baby.
The truth of the matter is however, that no amount of planning can truly prepare you for the impact that a baby has on your life.
A whole new world
Once that baby is at home with you, your life, as you know it will be completely turned on its head.
Routines are out of the window, the house is unrecognisable, and often, the prospect of ‘popping out’ for milk will feel bigger than a trek across the Himalayas.
There will always be something that you’d never even heard of and didn’t think you’d ever need, but suddenly do.
That’s the thing with these babies; they don’t come with a manual, and rarely follow any kind of ‘rules’. Even the most prepared person can have the rug pulled from under them in an instant.
Luckily, we have your back.
With the experience that we have gained, both as parents but also as committed baby specialists, we’ve put together a list of essential items for baby, and a few tips too.
Sleep basics: a cot, sleep suits, vests etc, cellular blanket, sheets, Moses basket.
Feeding time: a breast pump, bottles, nipple shields, breast pads, nipple cream, muslin cloths, sterilister, bottle prep machine (if formula feeding).
Travel must haves: pushchair/travel system/pram, car seat, nappy bag, mirror for the car.
Changing essentials: change mat, nappies, cotton wool, sensitive baby wipes, barrier cream, nappy cream, tissues.
Play time: play mat, rocker, sensory and tummy time toys, board books, dummies.
Bath time: a baby bath/bath seat, soft hooded towels, sponge or face towel, sensitive toiletries.
Camera or smart phone to capture memories.
Enjoy your last few weeks to yourself. Go to the cinema, get your hair done, eat out in the evening, lie in, do nothing! It’s the last time you’ll get to do some of those things without military planning so indulge yourself for a while.
Know that you can’t ‘spoil’ your baby with cuddles. After 9 months in the comfort of Mummy’s tummy, babies get a shock when they are born. They will probably prefer to be held to sleep – especially in the first 6 weeks or so. Listen to your instincts and never feel as though you’re ‘not allowed’ to cuddle your baby – they are yours and need comfort from you as much as you want to give it to them!
Make baby’s cot easy to transition. On the times when you need to get some of your own sleep, make the cot or Moses basket easy to transition into. Before you put them down, place a hot water bottle into their bed to gently warm it so that they don’t notice the change in body temperature when you are ready to transfer them. ALWAYS remove it before putting the baby in though. If they seem to dislike the size of the new space, roll towels up and place around the edges to give the feeling that they are in a smaller environment. Read advice from The Lullaby Trust about safe sleeping.
Use white noise to aid sleep. Baby will be used to hearing Mum’s heartbeat 24/7, so use a white noise app or toy to help them settle. You can download free versions on most app stores, or invest in a toy which replicates the heartbeat and other white noise sounds.
Don’t panic if you’ve forgotten something! If there is something you haven’t managed to buy or borrow before the baby arrives, rest assured that most 24-hour supermarkets stock what you might need. For everything else, next day delivery or click and collect services from online retailers are usually available with very quick delivery timescales.
Accept help and talk. Last but by no means least, if somebody that you love or trust offers help, accept it. There is no shame in admitting that parenting is hard, that you need to talk, or that you’re clueless about something. Even better, if they offer to hold the baby for a bit so that you can grab forty winks, let them. Most things will seem much more manageable if you are just getting a little bit more sleep.
Parenting is a magical, exhausting, and stressful time in equal measure, but also amazing. Good luck!