Preparation for birth
Preparation for birth
It's a good idea to get yourself prepared for the first days at home with your baby, as it will make adapting to life as a parent less stressful and give you more time to enjoy the new arrival. Bear in mind that some babies arrive early, so don't leave everything to the last minute.
Six weeks before the birth
Start to think about the equipment you are going to need. You'll need a pram/pushchair, and a Moses basket or crib for your baby to sleep in. You'll also need nappy changing equipment, plenty of nappies (either washable or disposable) and an assortment of delightful little baby clothes. Even if you don't intend to buy the big items right now, it's well worth having a browse to get an idea of what's available and will suit your lifestyle.
- If you plan to take your baby home from hospital by car you will need a car seat as it's against the law for baby to travel without one. Our choosing a car seat article will give you good advice. Practice fitting it into the car, and ensure your partner knows how to do it too (it's not as easy as it looks!).
- Keep the hospital phone number pinned on a notice board and in your bag, and make a point of carrying your notes around with you just in case.
- Make sure you have informed your employer in writing of your intention to take maternity leave.
A month before the birth
- Stock up on frozen food and storeroom basics, so you don't have to drag your precious newborn around a supermarket too soon.
- Make sure there's enough petrol in the tank for an emergency dash. Put aside change for the hospital car park and pay phone.
- Arrange for someone to take and collect you from hospital, whether it's a partner, family member or friend. Make sure you know where to reach them and arrange a back-up just in case.
- If you have another child, arrange for a trusted friend or relative to look after them while you are in hospital and run through with your child what will happen when you go in.
- Have a little present wrapped and ready for your older child or children 'from the baby', so they don't feel left out.
- Have a stock of children's videos and new books ready, which you could watch or read with your older child while feeding the new baby.
- Make a present list so you can be sure of getting items you really want. You may want to ask several people to club together for larger items.
- If you know you are having a Caesarean, try to arrange plenty of support afterwards as you will not be able to drive, lift heavy objects or do strenuous housework. It generally takes longer to recover from the operation than from a normal birth.
- Whatever type of birth you are having, you may be glad of some additional help, so ask friends and family to help out and specify what would be useful. People will offer, so make a vow to always say 'yes' when someone asks, 'Is there anything I can do to help?'