Baby’s coming! Are you freaking out yet? Whether you’re a first-time mum, or a seasoned pro, we’re pretty sure you’re going to be just fine. There are myriad things you can do to prepare for a baby, some of them useful, some of them a waste of your nesting energy. We’ve polled the mums we know who seem to have everything figured out (spoiler: they don’t) to find out what they do to get ready for a new addition to the family.
1. Prepare older siblings
Nothing is going to completely prepare your kids for the reality of life with a little brother or sister. This step is all about acclimatisation, introducing older siblings to the idea that they won’t have their parents’ undivided attention anymore.
Books about new babies can help start the conversation. You’ll find plenty of them in both your local bookshop or online. They can be brilliant for helping you to start navigating an older sibling’s excitement mixed with occasional hostility when it comes to accepting a new baby.
2. Buy presents for siblings
These small tokens may just be the key to a life of sibling harmony. Every time the older child visits the hospital and then has to leave mum to go home, they can unwrap one of these presents after they’ve left. There’s no need to break the bank; a toy car, a plastic animal “from the baby” are all perfect gifts.
3. Install the car seat
Here is one that is absolutely essential. You’ve got to get the baby home after he’s born, and you’ve got to do it safely. Firstly, you need to buy your car seat – and don’t leave it to the last minute because there’s a lot to consider! Make sure you take the time to research which seat is the right one for you.
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4. Stash nappies and wipes in baskets all over your home
If you think you’ll only be changing nappies at your tidy little change table, think again. Explosion can happen all over the house, and when they do, you’ll be happy you stashed a basket of wipes and nappies under the coffee table, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, next to your bed.
5. Wash the baby’s clothes and linens
New clothes can have irritating dye residue, and some manufacturers add chemicals to clothing to stop them wrinkling or growing mould. Since baby skin is prone to rashes if you so much as look at it wrong, wash all the linen and onesies in detergent for sensitive skin.
I’ll tell you a secret though: I only did this for my first child. By the time I had my second, I was so busy that I outsourced his care to some local wolves.
6. Brush up on song lyrics
Seems random, doesn’t it? You won’t think it’s so random at 3am when you’re sitting on the floor in the dark, arm laced through the cot bars, patting your baby and singing the theme from Titanic because it’s the only song you remember the words to.
7. Do online shopping prep
Before you have your baby, do an online shopping order of just the essentials – milk, butter, bread, nappies, wine and so on. That shop will be saved in your previously bought items and you can do a quick order next time you need staples.
While you’re at it, find out who else delivers. Local fruit and vegetable shops often do, as do some chemists, and you can get some yummy treats straight to your door too. Then there’s the ultimate power of home-delivered meals. Dinner ready-made and delicious requiring no more effort than pulling it out of the freezer when you want it.
8. Make a contact list of essential services
Record it the old-fashioned way – on paper – and add the numbers into your phone favourites. Include the GP helpline you’ll be ringing in the middle of the night, the breastfeeding helpline you’ll be ringing in the middle of the night, the closest emergency department you’ll be visiting in the middle of the night. The key thing to learn here is that all the health disasters (or what feel like disasters) with kids seem to happen at night.
9. Make a list of friends to call/text when baby arrives
This is especially important if you have a lot of family overseas. But don’t forget to add time zones to your list. Your mum who already has six grandkids might not want to be woken up in the middle of the night with your announcement.
10. Make feeding caddies
Babies love to fall asleep at the breast, or at the bottle, and when yours does, you won’t want to move lest you disturb her slumber. Fill large plastic containers with all the essentials you and the baby could possibly need. That means wraps, burp cloths, tissues, a magazine, snacks, a pen and notepad and your phone. Unfortunately you can’t fit a toilet in the caddy. If your bladder gets too insistent you’ll just have to risk waking the baby.
If your plans to get organised don’t work out, don’t worry. A long as you’ve got the car seat safely installed and a few good friends or family members to help you with everything else, you’ll be just fine.