Preparing for a baby is so exciting, but it can also be mind-boggling when faced with so many options. Offspring to the rescue! Here’s the only guide you’ll need to be ready for your new arrival…
Before baby arrives:
- Maternity clothes are a must have. It won’t be long before undoing that top button just won’t cut it!
- Invest in good quality maternity bras — mastitis (blocked milk ducts) can be caused by ill-fitting ones.
- Take care of yourself using skincare products specially designed for mums and bubs.
- Book a maternity and newborn photo shoot. This is a great way to commemorate this special time in your life.
- Consider taking a plaster cast of your pregnant belly! It can be decorated and hung on the wall of the nursery.
Start thinking about the birth:
How you choose to give birth is a personal decision. If this is your first baby, it’s natural to feel apprehensive. If you’ve had a baby before, you may feel upset and anxious if your previous birth didn’t go to plan, or you may even be looking forward to the birth! Many women say birth is a natural and enjoyable experience.
However you are feeling, it’s normal. Take some time to research your options:
- Will you give birth in hospital or at home? Home birth is legal in Australia with a registered midwife or obstetrician.
- What pain relief options have you considered? No doubt you’ll have heard about an epidural which is a spinal injection to make your lower half numb, but there are other options like gas and air (laughing gas), pethidine injection (related to morphine) or using a TENS machine (to stimulate nerves in the lower back).
- Who would you like to be present? Most women choose to have their partner present, but some also choose to have another support person such as their mum, sister or close friend.
- How about a water birth? Many claim water birthing is relaxing and eases pain.
- Have you thought about hiring a doula? A doula is a (non-medical) trained professional who offers support throughout labour and birth.
If you plan to go to hospital, get your bag ready early.
“Everyone has a different experience of birth.
Try not to get stressed if things don’t go to plan”
What to pack for hospital:
- Paperwork – maternity notes, medicare card and birth plan.
- Old nightie or T-shirt – and maybe a dressing gown.
- Socks – feet get cold during labour.
- Lip balm – particularly if you plan to use gas and air.
- Your toiletries, toothbrush and glasses/contact lenses.
- Hair ties.
- Snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up.
- Something to distract you and help pass the time – maybe an iPad loaded with your favourite shows.
- Maternity and breast pads.
- Old underwear.
- Newborn nappies – disposable are best for hospital.
- Baby onesies.
Travelling with baby:
You will want to show your baby off to the world at the first opportunity, but it is sensible to limit visitors and outings for a little while. You will be exhausted after the birth, and those first few days getting to know each other are precious – enjoy your little baby bubble!
- Car restraint
Newborns must be in a rear-facing seat which conforms to Australian standards. Consider having it professionally fitted and buy new for safety. You might like to hire a baby capsule since newborns grow so fast although some seats can accommodate newborns to four year olds. There are also capsules that lift out of the car and click straight onto your pram which can be very helpful when baby is asleep!
Take your time choosing the right pram. Test drive them! Practice putting the pram up and down and don’t forget to check it will fit in your car boot. If you plan on having more children, consider a pram that can take a second seat.
- Baby carrier
Babies love to be held and a baby carrier means they can be close whilst you still have your hands free.
- Nappy Bag
There are so many stylish options available. It’s a good idea to choose a purpose made nappy bag as they often come with a portable change mat, bottle insulator and a zip-close pouch for storing your valuables.
Setting up the nursery:
- Bassinet and Cot
Many babies spend the first few months in a bassinet close to mum. This makes those night feeds a lot easier! Another option is co-sleeping and there are cots that attach to the side of your bed if this suits your family. Make sure you buy a new mattress if you opt for a second hand cot.
- Changing space
Set up an area with a mat, fresh nappies and wipes, plus a nappy disposal bin for convenience.
There are lots of great re-useable nappies out there. They save money in the long run and are better for our planet – Win! Win!
- Feeding chair and pillow
A reclining glider chair can be your saviour if you are struggling through night feeds or to settle a distressed baby. A nursing pillow will save your neck and back too.
- A baby monitor
Put your mind at ease and invest in a monitor. Some have video option so you can see as well as hear your sleeping bub. There is also a heart rate monitor option which can help decrease the risk of SIDS.
Helping older siblings adjust:
It can be challenging for existing children to accept a new arrival. Choose how to break the news carefully. They may not be as delighted as you are. Depending on the age of the child, sharing a book about a new baby is a nice way to introduce the idea.
Let children be involved in preparing for the baby. Maybe they could help paint the nursery, help wash their old baby clothes ready to give their new brother or sister, or even be involved with choosing a name!
Once baby makes an appearance, consider getting a gift from the new baby to their sibling as a way to encourage a bond. Also, try to ask visitors to acknowledge the new big brother or sister before they fuss over the baby.
Lots of people gift baby clothes so it’s up to you how many outfits you buy, but looking at baby clothes for the first time is particularly exciting. Enjoy!
Size 0000 and 000 fit newborns. Buy more than you think you will need and get a variety of styles such as long sleeved and short sleeved. Some also have scratch mitts incorporated.
- Cute outfits
It’s nice to have one or two little outfits – but be aware babies grow quickly
Breastfeeding gives your baby the best nutrition, boosts the immune system and is sterile and convenient. However, if breastfeeding is not possible for you, don’t beat yourself up! There are lots of different formula options available so accept the situation and enjoy time with your beautiful bub.
- Formula and bottles
Buy a couple of different formulas, bottles and teats – your baby may not like the first one you try. It’s sensible to have some on hand even if you plan to breastfeed. Babies are unpredictable and you will be more relaxed (and probably more successful) knowing you always have a back-up available.
This is the best way to keep your bottles germ-free.
“Feeding time is a great time to bond with your baby
– whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed”
- Breastfeeding cover
If you plan to breastfeed, you might like to buy a cover (a bit like an apron) for when you’re out and about. That way you can breastfeed anywhere without compromising your modesty.
- Breast pump
It’s a good idea to have a breast pump too – electric ones are the easiest. This way you can pump and have spare milk to use if you get sick and need to go on medication, or if you need to be away from your baby for a while.
- Baby bath
Buying a small tub to put inside your bath or shower saves water and makes bath time quick and easy, but you can also use your sink!
Invest in good quality nappy rash cream, shampoo and body wash specifically designed for babies. There are a lot of harsh chemicals in some products.
- Muslin cloths
There are many beautiful designs out there for this multi-use item. These can be used to swaddle baby, drape over a pram for shade or even to mop up baby vomit – it’ll happen!
- Baby thermometer
There’s nothing worse than being up in the middle of the night trying to decide if your baby has a fever.
You can often borrow baby items from friends or family – don’t be afraid to ask around.
Search for second hand items online – you can save a lot on your big ticket items that way!
Your baby will grow faster than you think, consider preserving those tiny fingers and toes by creating a plaster model from a kit. When they grow up, they won’t believe how little they used to be!