Becoming a parent is an exciting and joyous time, but it can also be daunting, especially for first-time parents. Fortunately, some simple preparation and planning can help ensure that you’re feeling confident and ready for the birth of your baby.
With this in mind, here are some useful tips on how to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
Create a Birth Plan
It is important to write a birth plan to tell your midwife what sort of birth you would like. There are several different options to consider such as water birth, home birth, natural birth, and scheduled cesarean. The type of birth you choose is completely down to your personal preferences. You should research the options carefully and choose the birth method that makes you feel most comfortable. You also need to consider the type of pain relief you want during the birth or if you want to be brave and go med-free. Some expectant mothers opt to have an epidural to help manage pain, others rely on gas and air, and some mothers, like me, choose to have no pain relief whatsoever.
You can easily amend your birth plan later down the line, but it’s a good idea to have a rough plan prepared early so you can discuss your options with your midwife. This will also give you the chance to check whether your birthing center has the facilities available to accommodate your wishes (i.e. if you would like a water birth). You can find plenty of useful information and advice on how to write an effective birth plan by searching online.
Buy Baby Essentials
Most expectant parents start purchasing items like baby clothes and equipment early on in the pregnancy. However, with so much to consider, it can be confusing to know what to buy and when. After you have finished writing your birth plan, it’s time for a baby essentials checklist.
To help, here is a checklist of the must-have items before your baby arrives:
- Clothing – Buy a selection of onesies, sleepers, hats, socks, mittens, and other baby outfits of your choice. Make sure that you also purchase some non-bio detergent that is suitable for your baby’s sensitive skin.
- Blankets – Purchase several baby-friendly muslin blankets.
- Feeding – You will need to buy bibs, a breast pump, a nursing bra, milk storage containers, and a thermal bottle carrier.
- Diapers – Get several packs of diapers for newborns. You will also need a changing pad, baby wipes, and diaper rash cream or powder.
- Transport – Purchase the best lightweight stroller and approved car seat you can afford.
- Bedding – Decide if you want a crib and mattress or bedside sleeper, along with waterproof mattress, mattress cover, and blankets.
Plan Your Finances
Having a baby is not cheap. A recent study found that the average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 17 is around $233,610. For that reason, it’s important that you plan your finances carefully and have a realistic budget in place after the birth. Fortunately, you can use a baby cost calculator to help you determine the cost of yearly baby essentials in your birth plan. Make sure you remember to factor in any anticipated time off work, or reduced income due to one parent staying home to care for the baby. You should also aim to build an emergency fund before your baby is born to cover you in any unforeseen financial emergencies.