Preparing for your first child
Discovering that you are pregnant with your first child is the exciting start to a brand new chapter in your life. But, with this comes a level responsibility unlike anything you have ever experienced before.
Here’s what to do before your baby arrives
Get your finances in order
One of the first things you need to do is get your finances in order. Did you know that the average cost of raising a child up to the age of 21 is £230,000 and £8,500 of this will be spent in the first year alone?
Start by finding out how much maternity / paternity pay you will receive and work out how you wish to take this. Then open a savings account and put some money away each month and start budgeting now, before the baby comes, so it is easier when he or she does. Then, if you don’t already have it (as scary as it sounds) now is a good time to get life insurance and make a will. While hopefully it won’t be needed for some time, having someone dependent on you means you must be prepared for the worst. Do this before you become too busy with your little one to get it done.
Clear the clutter
You will need both space and money when the baby arrives so this is the perfect time to clear the clutter. Throw out the rubbish, donate to charity and sell what you no longer need.
You probably have a spare room full of belongings that now need to be moved out the way to create a nursery but where do you put it all? If you don’t necessarily want to get rid of it, why not put it into one of our storage units? You can access it almost as easily as you could your spare room and add or take belongings back, whenever you wish. You might find this is incredibly handy as your baby starts to grow too.
Do your research and ask for tips
There may not be an instruction book for you to take home with the new baby but, luckily for you, all the information you need is at your fingertips.
There are a huge amount of ‘mummy bloggers’ that share their experiences as well as tips and advice across their blogs, social media and even books. There’s also official sources of information from places such as the NHS. So, read as much as you can in preparation. You can find out what to expect and this will help you decide how you want to parent your first child.
Talk to your partner
Your routine is about to change significantly. You can no longer just think about yourselves and so it is important that you and your partner discuss this change so you know how it is going to work. This might include whether you will have shared parental leave, for example. Looking at your finances will help you to decide whether this is the best option for you, as well as how you will split chores around the house.
Decorate the nursery
Once you have cleared the spare room it is time to transform it into a nursery for the baby. Remember, they are likely to spend their first six months in a cot in your room but it is best to have this room complete so you don’t have to try and paint between feeds. When buying furniture for this room it is important to think about storage, you’ll have just cleared away the clutter and you don’t want this room to become full of it again. Again, do some research first, particularly for clever toy storage ideas because as your baby grows their rooms will very quickly become full of these.
You will then be able to start shopping and filling the room with bits for the baby.
Buy baby essentials
Shopping for your first baby is exciting but it is easy to get overwhelmed with everyone telling you what you need and the sheer amount of products available to you. As a result you could find yourself going overboard – this isn’t only expensive but you will also end up with far more than you need.
Your research should have helped you to work out what you actually need, so before you go shopping and fill your trolley, make a list of those.
It is best, at least for now, to stick to the essentials – nappies, baby grows, a cot, baby monitor and so on.
Cook, clean and baby proof the house
You will find, particularly in the first days and probably even weeks, while you are getting used to your new routine and taking care of a baby that you don’t have time for everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning. So, as part of your preparation give your home a deep clean and while you are doing it make sure you baby proof the house, removing any potential hazards.
You will also want to wash and clean all the new baby bits you have bought – sterilize bottles and put baby grows through the washing machine. Finally, cook and freeze some delicious and nutritious home cooked meals, so that they can just be defrosted when it comes to dinner time – you will thank yourself for doing this later!
Pack your hospital bag early
Finally, make sure your hospital bag is ready early just in case baby decides to arrive before the due date. Don’t forget the car seat – you will need this to get your new bundle of joy home from the hospital.
While it is almost impossible to feel 100% ready for your new arrival, the above will enable you to be as prepared as you possibly can be.