Getting ready for a new baby can take a bit of planning. You may have maternity leave to organise, baby shower preparation in motion or be at the point where you’re wondering what to buy for baby’s arrival. Sound familiar? This post aims to help you plan ahead to ensure that you have five of the most important areas covered.
Why it’s smart to plan ahead
Planning ahead can help you feel confident about your choices and help you to spread the cost of bigger purchases. It gives you ready answers for when friends or relatives who ask what you’d like gifted too. The Money Advice Service has some great info on the cost of raising a baby for the first year and beyond, along with a handy baby costs calculator to help you budget. Savings can be made by attending special events like Mamas and Papas Parents to Be events. Attend a Mamas and Papas event for special offers, free goodies, the chance to try out prams, plus expert advice on important purchases like car seats.
KnowYourMoney has put together a great article about Finance Planning for Maternity Leave so you can try and get everything in order ahead of baby’s arrival.
Our guest blogger Jen McKillop attended a Mamas & Papas Parents to Be Event; you can read all about it here.
If midwife hasn’t already talked to you about your feeding choices, now’s the time to ask them questions and attend feeding workshops so that you can get ready for baby’s arrival.
Do your research
Whether you plan to formula feed or breastfeed, researching in advance could really help you to feel more confident when baby arrives. Make sure you’re in the know about things like cluster feeding or how to prepare formula safely at home and out and about. If you’re interested in breastfeeding, visiting a local breastfeeding group before your birth can be a great way to prepare and find friendly face-to-face support.
Stock up on feeding essentials
Planning to formula feed or combination feed? You’ll need to purchase items such as bottles, teats and a steriliser. Formula feeding mums usually need to take a starter pack in to hospital along with other hospital bag essentials. Muslin cloths and bibs are feeding must-haves however you plan to feed, and you’ll need some breast pads too.
A few nursing bras in a size up and a nursing pillow are great items for breastfeeding mums to have ready. Purchasing a manual or electric breast pump can help you to express if you would like others to give baby breast milk when you’re not around. Don’t forget that expressing isn’t usually recommended until baby is six weeks old.
Your Travel System
Once your little bundle is no longer in mummy’s tummy, you’ll want to keep them as safe as can be and get out and about in a way that suits you. Choosing a travel system is a very personal decision and likely to be one of your bigger purchases.
It’s really important that you test out the system before purchase and check that your car seat is both brand new and compatible with your vehicle. Think also about how long the car seat will last and if it offers extended rear-facing. A travel system bundle with a car seat and frame* that can be used together can be really handy for a short dash to the local shop. Travel system frames can generally be used as a pram in the early days then transform into a pushchair as baby gets older. This can be a real money saver.
Specialist buggies and carriers
A specialist running stroller can be a sensible purchase if you’d like to be able to use your pushchair while you head out jogging. Those in the countryside who like to go out walking will need a pushchair that copes easily when you go off the main path. And of course, prams and pushchairs are not the only options for taking babies and toddlers out and about. Many parents like to use baby wraps and carriers both in and out of the home. They can help you bond with baby and free up your arms, some mums even master the art of breastfeeding in carriers! While a travel system is considered by most to be an essential, it can be smart to have a carrier option too.
It’s recommended that your baby always sleeps in a room with you while they are under the age of six months to help lower the risk of SIDs. This applies during the day as well as at night, as the presence of others helps to regulate baby’s breathing. While your little one may not be moving into their nursery straight away, it’s certainly easier to get the space ready when you don’t have a newborn to care for! Decorating in advance can also allow you to take advantage of sales or pick up items as you can afford them. Our nursery checklist is a great place to start planning what you need to buy and jobs you need to do. You’ll want to consider:
- Your nursery theme or colour scheme
- A logical layout for your nursery furniture. Think about keeping your cot, changing table and a feeding chair within easy distance for night wakes
- A cot, wardrobe or drawers and a changing area are likely to be your nursery furniture essentials
- You’ll need a baby monitor and room thermometer and a night light and mobile are nice to have
- Don’t forget to consider safety aspects. An empty crib is a safe crib, nappy sacks should be stored out of reach of baby and window dressings should be baby safe
- Baby blankets or fitted baby sleeping bags
A moses basket can also be a great saver in those first few weeks and has the added bonus of being portable too. It’s important that baby’s cot or moses basket mattress is firm and flat and ideally new.
Baby’s Play Time
Your face will captivate your baby in those early days. Toys and books that appeal to their senses and encourage development will gain importance as they grow.
When it comes to buying toys, think about items that target different milestones and phases of development. For younger babies, rattles are great for those who have found their hands. Teething toys and tag blankets can provide your baby with comfort as well as helping them to learn about texture.
Activity gyms and other tummy time toys will help your little one to hone their rolling and crawling skills. Bouncer chairs are a real must-have while they’re learning the art of sitting up. Later, toys for stacking and hiding will capture their attention and help them to fine-tune their hand-eye coordination.
Books are always a lovely gift to receive. Long before they can lift pop up flaps or join in with animal noises, your baby will love hearing your voice. They’ll love exploring the feel and sounds of fabric books too.
You can get the My 1st Bunny here*.
You can get the Soft Bunny Activity Toy here*.
You can get the Offspring Activity Koala toy here*.
You can get the Offspring Linkie Cherries toy here*.
An item of clothing is often the first purchase that we make as parents-to-be. But if you’re not too careful, you can end up with too many of one thing. Or find yourself short of seasonal essentials. It’s a good idea to make a tally of what items you have in different sizes. This way, you won’t end up with too many babygrows in one size or find that baby has oodles of jumpers but no snowsuit. Take the list out with you to the shops or baby event and use it to steer gift givers too.
If you’re leaving the gender of your baby a surprise , there’s a great range of gender-neutral stuff in the shops. We recently posted about the Mamas and Papas Welcome to the World range, which is perfect for little boys and girls. Many parents like to pick out a special outfit for bringing baby home and those first few photographs.
Nappies and changing bags
Consider what they’ll be wearing underneath too. Buying disposable nappies on offer in different sizes can be a smart move. Or you could opt to use reusable nappies, which are available in some really cute and colourful patterns now. There are pros and cons to using both, so read up and choose the option that suits you. It’s a good idea to look for a bag that easily attaches to baby’s pram or pushchair.
You may already be considering other activities such as bath time or thinking into the future to weaning and highchairs. When it comes to having the essentials covered, hopefully this post has helped you to feel more prepared .