Having a baby is the single most incredible and life changing things you will ever do. The moment you become a parent, life is never the same again. You experience love like you’ve never known, and knowing you have created this new person and new life is truly mind blowing. But of course, with parenthood comes huge responsibility. There are so many things to consider before, during and after welcoming your baby into the world, it can feel like a monumental task. Luckily you have nine months to prepare, and getting as much done before the big arrival is always best. Here are some of the things you’ll need to think about when it comes to your new baby.
Baby clothes should conform to current safety standards, anything with loose buttons, hanging ribbons or anything else can pose a choking or strangulation hazard so be wary when buying online from other countries. Ideally, you will choose organic cotton, especially for items that come in contact with your baby’s skin since these don’t have pesticide residue that regular cotton can have (even after washing). Since babies skin is more porous and their systems are much weaker than adults, it’s definitely something to bear in mind. For clothes, opt for pieces that are very soft and easy to get on and off- whether it’s because they’re stretchy or have poppers attached for ease of use. If it’s winter when your baby arrives don’t forget cozy pieces for going outside. A hat, mittens, cozy cardigans are all essentials; a baby boutique will have all of the items you need including these miscellaneous pieces. When it comes to footwear, opt for booties with an elasticated ankle which will stop them from falling off. Don’t be tempted to put proper shoes on your child’s feet until they’re old enough to walk since these can disrupt the proper growth of them. If your baby isn’t walking, there’s no need for them to have hard shoes on- instead, go with something soft which they can easily move their toes in.
Car safety is a huge issue when you have a baby. One of the ways you can ensure they’re kept as safe as possible is by purchasing a suitable car seat and following all of the recommended safety advice. For example, you should never buy a second-hand seat since this could have been dropped or even involved in an accident which will stop it from doing its job properly. You also need to use the car seat properly every single time you go on a journey no matter how short. Most accidents happen close to home so don’t get complacent. Popping to the shops and allowing your child or baby to sit on an adult’s lap isn’t acceptable. Make sure it’s properly fastened, and your baby is safe and secure. Another thing to be aware of is that you shouldn’t put your car seat in the passenger seat at the front. This is the most dangerous spot in the car, plus the airbags going off could cause injury or death alone. Studies have shown that it’s the middle seat at the back which is the safest so put your car seat here. Keep them in a rear facing seat until they’re two years old, or they exceed the height and weight limit of their infant car seat. It’s important not to rush this, always heed the safety advice given. If you already have other children who use car seats and booster seats, you will need to change your car completely if there’s no space for another. This is a huge purchase, so something to consider early on.
Your baby’s nursery is where they will sleep, play and grow. You will also be spending a lot of time in here too looking after them, so a space that’s calming, visually pleasing and practical is important. Choose sturdy furniture for storage which is the right size for the room, you don’t want it to dominate and take up every inch of spare space! The cot is the most important piece you will buy for the room, always buy new and again look into current safety regulations. It’s common for cots to be passed down through the family, but older styles can be dangerous, and children have even died due to the sliding side failing. Plus old mattresses can hold things pollutants and dust, to minimize the risk of cot death go for a new one. Another important piece of furniture in the nursery is a chair or somewhere to sit since you will need a comfortable place to sit and hold your baby while you’re doing feeds in the evening and during the night. That way you don’t have to carry your baby to another room every time you need to pick them up during the night. Have fun choosing each item and with the decor. Other important things to consider in your baby’s nursery is safety. For example, you should never put a cot or bed near windows which have blind with a string/ cord mechanism. These cause many children and animals to strangle to death each year and just aren’t worth the risk. Blinds with a wand system to open and close them are much better, or you could go with wooden shutters or another type of window treatment. Making the room dark enough is important, but choose very carefully what you have up at the windows due to this risk. Making sure windows can be locked with a key is important for when your baby grows up to be a curious, climbing toddler. And of course, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be present to alert you to these dangers. Another thing that’s recently come to light in the media is how easy it is for babies and toddlers to choke on nappy bags. Make sure none are in the cot bumper or any kind of reach from the cot itself. Babies and toddlers have been known to reach over and grab one and suffocate on them. Safety in the nursery is so important, so be sure to think it all through carefully as you’re putting it together.
Babies are incredibly expensive, and so when you’re expecting you’re likely to need to make some adjustments to your finances. First, is there any debts you can pay off and get out of the way? This means you’re not paying interest and will save you money each month. Once you’re debt free, having some savings can be hugely beneficial. If an unexpected expense arises, you can take care of it without stress and worry- two things you can do without when you’re taking care of a new baby! Plus you will need to find somewhere in your budget for buying all of your essential baby items. Your best bet would be to write a list with everything you need, that way you can tick off things each month as you buy them. If friends or family want to buy the baby a gift or something to help you, they can look on the list to see what you still need. This saves you from ending up with repeats of things. If you’re on a lower income, it’s worth finding out what help is available to you. Different areas will have different grants and schemes, your healthcare provider should walk you through all of this at your appointments. If not, do some research and look online. It’s natural to think about your baby’s future, so you might want to set up a savings account for them too. Call into your local bank and go through getting it all setup. From there, be sure to work these savings into your monthly budget.
With a new baby, your focus is going to be on them rather than yourself. However you can’t pour from an empty cup, so be sure to look after your own health too. You need to help your body to heal and repair after the huge strain of pregnancy and childbirth. You will need to stay energized and on the ball. Be sure to get enough rest, while this might seem impossible when you have a newborn it’s an essential part of healing. If your partner has paternity leave you could look after the baby in ‘shifts’ that way you both get plenty of rest and the baby is well looked after at all times. If friends and family are prepared to watch the baby for an hour while you get a hot bath and pamper yourself, take them up on it! You will feel so much better and more sane afterward. Eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated and try to keep your stress levels low. Plenty of planning and organization during pregnancy (especially for these first few weeks) will help things run as smoothly and stress-free as possible. Batch cook some meals and freeze them in Tupperware containers so that you have plenty of healthy home cooked food on hand. Get the house clean and organized so everything is where it should be. These things will make all the difference when the time comes.