You’ve ticked off everything on your newborn essentials checklist, the nursery has been decked out, and your house is filled with more baby gadgets and gizmos than you even knew existed. With your due date fast approaching, now is the time to make those all-important final preparations. However, with such a long list of what to do before baby arrives, getting fully organised can seem like a mammoth task. To help smooth the process, we’ve listed a few of the key yet commonly overlooked areas that should feature on every new parents preparing for baby checklist.
Make Certain You Have The Essentials
Before your baby arrives, it’s absolutely crucial to go over your newborn essentials checklist one more time, to ensure you have everything you need. Double-check that you’ve covered all key areas, including essentials for;
– Feeding; make sure you have the required apparatus for your chosen feeding method.
– Sleeping; a crib, a monitor and thermometer are vital for a newborn (and it’s lovely to watch them sleeping).
– Changing; ensure that you’ve got plenty of nappies, nappy sacks, baby wipes and changing equipment. Double-check nappy sizes too.
– Bathing; for newborns, cotton wool and sponges are essential.
– Dressing; all the basics, including sleepwear, socks, and scratch mitts, as well as clothes and accessories for different temperatures.
– Playing; if possible, invest in a play mat, bouncing cradle or baby swing, alongside rattles, teething toys, books and interactive, multi-textured toys.
Alongside these categories, make sure you’re also fully prepared for baby’s safety, as well as for baby being outside. Over time you’ll find that you will need to baby proof your home, and purchase a suitable pram or pushchair.
Once you’ve covered these key areas, you can turn your attention to other thoughts, many of which are much easier to forget, yet still incredibly important.
Strengthen Your Support Network
New parents often don’t realise just how crucial having a strong support system in place will be when baby finally arrives. Family and the new grandparents will be as excited as you are to welcome the new addition to the family. Practically, whether it’s simply someone to pick you up from hospital, babysit older siblings, or a reliable babysitter for when you really need time to bond and get some solid sleep, if you’re lucky enough to have close ones in your life willing to help out, reach out to them in advance and let them know you might be calling on their assistance. Be careful to choose those who will help and not those who will only come around to chat and coo at your new arrival.
Physical care aside, you should also consider emotional support. As well as reaching out to close ones when possible, an excellent way to find emotional support is by joining an online community. Forums such as Mumsnet and Reddit are filled with parents, new and old, from across the globe, and can be incredibly helpful. Limit your use of these though and be careful to realise what’s good advice and what’s not.
Other support factors to contemplate include setting up access to a private midwife for the early days, as well as regularly checking in with your partner, or whoever else will be supporting you on this journey. Make sure the lines of communication between you are fully open, and that you’re on the same page regarding everything from birthing assistance to how household roles will change.
Get Busy in the Kitchen
One of the last things you’ll want, and indeed have time to think about when baby arrives, is cooking dinner. With being so focused on preparing for baby’s needs, it can be easy to forget about our own, causing additional stress in the long run.
However, counteracting this stress is perfectly doable; all it takes is a little organisation, and a lot of food prep! A couple of months prior to baby’s arrival, head to your favourite supermarket and stock up on everything non-perishable, as well as ingredients for all your usual staple dishes. Next, spend a couple of days cooking up big batches of your family’s favourites, before freezing for later; having a large supply of nutritious and tasty meals good-to-go will be an absolute godsend when you’re knee deep in nappies!
Chilli, bolognese, stew and curry are all healthy, filling dinners that freeze excellently. Another tip is freezing staple items, such as loaves of bread (and even milk), to ensure that you’re not caught short once baby arrives- where simple tasks such as popping out to the shops becomes increasingly difficult.
Prepare Your Kids and Pets
Again, when thinking what to do before baby arrives, it’s easy to focus solely on the incoming arrival rather than others who’ll also be affected. One group that definitely require your attention however is any big brothers or sisters-to-be.
Young children thrive on involvement, and you can use this to your advantage. Explain to your children exactly what’s happening, in terms they can understand. Create as exciting an atmosphere as possible, demonstrating just how much fun being an older sibling will be, and make them aware of how much, and what, will be changing.
Furthermore, spending lots of time with your little ones where the spotlight is fixed firmly on them should also be high on your preparing for baby checklist, strengthening your bond prior to arrival.
Additionally, it’s strongly advisable to prepare your pets for your newborn’s arrival too, especially dogs. Whilst they do have an innate protective nature, dogs are also prone to jealously, and can react unexpectedly. Pet-proof your house by adding a stair gate – or several – to your newborn essentials checklist.
Considering the above factors when deciding what to do before baby arrives will save you masses of stress in the long run, and allow you to enjoy time with your new baby that much more. Be sure to check out our blog for further resources for your newborn, including how to treat heat rash, the safest sleeping positions for baby, and how to spot flat head syndrome.
All that’s left now is to pack your hospital bag, and look forward to the life-changing experience ahead. Wishing you a smooth delivery, and a happy and healthy bundle of joy!