Becoming a parent is one of the most magical experiences, but the run-up can also be fraught with stress and anxiety. Many people go through a rollercoaster of emotions as they wait for their newborn to arrive, and it’s normal to feel both excited and nervous. If you took a second to search for checklists for expectant parents, you’d be greeted with hundreds of results and adverts. The truth is that nothing can ever prepare for your parenthood completely, but there are steps you can take to ensure you’re as ready as you can be.
Buying the essentials
If you’ve read books or magazines, you’ve signed up to parenting websites, you’re following influencers on social media, or you’ve started browsing the virtual aisles, you may be feeling like the shopping list for a newborn is never-ending. It’s true that little people need a lot of stuff, but you don’t have to go crazy, especially during the first few weeks. Investing in the essentials doesn’t mean buying toys that your baby won’t be able to use for months or curating a designer wardrobe. It can be stressful to think that you’ve got a huge list to get through, especially if you’re on a budget. The good news is that you can wait to buy a lot of the items you see on lists for new parents. Focus on the essentials your baby will need as soon as they are born and stock up on items to last you the first couple of months, such as wipes, nappies, babygrows and vests. Make sure you have a car seat, a baby bath and somewhere safe and comfortable for your baby to sleep. There are various options you can explore, including cots, cradles that attach to the side of the bed and Moses baskets for napping during the day. You will also need bottles, sterilising equipment, dummies if you wish to use them and formula. Once your baby starts to become more alert and they take an interest in the environment around them, you can buy books and toys and add to your collection as they grow.
Decorating your nursery
This is one of the most exciting parts of preparing for a new addition to the family. Many couples and expectant parents look forward to decorating the nursery, and for some, this is when it all starts to become very real. Before you begin, it’s a great idea to look for inspiration online and to come up with a plan for how you want the room to look. Explore different themes and colour options and think about what you want to put in the room. You can buy modular furniture, mix and match items or look for nursery furniture sets and you can use accessories to create a cosy, inviting feel and to personalise the space. If you want to design a neutral space, opt for colours like grey, lemon, cream, mint and mocha, or go for monochrome. You can add details, such as wall art, cushions and ornaments, to introduce different colours and make the room more personal once your baby has arrived. When you’re making plans for your baby’s nursery, try to focus on practicality as well as aesthetics. It’s really useful to have plenty of storage and a comfy spot to sit while you feed or wait for your baby to doze off, for example. Changing units with shelves and drawers are a great idea and you can use wall-mounted units if you’re short on floor space. Nursing chairs and mini sofas look fabulous and they’ll come in handy when you want to put your feet up and relax while feeding.
Making your home safe
Living with a partner, a housemate or a trusted furry friend is very different to living with a child. If you haven’t modified your home for a while, or you’ve moved house in preparation for expanding your family, it’s a good idea to carry out a risk assessment and make sure that your home is a safe haven. There could be hazards that you may never have thought of while living as a couple or sharing with friends, and it’s wise to address any concerns before your new baby arrives. Take a tour of the house and remove anything that could cause accidents or injuries. Keep medicines, household cleaning products and pet supplies in a lockable cupboard, make sure cords for blinds and wires are secured and use stair gates and socket protectors to prevent slips and falls and little fingers getting into the plug sockets. You might also need to invest in a fire-guard if you have an open fire and to consider replacing furniture that isn’t child-friendly.
Finishing off DIY jobs and decluttering
Most of us are guilty of starting DIY jobs and then either giving up or getting distracted. If you have a baby on the way, it’s advisable to finish off those half-baked projects and spruce up your home so that you’re comfortable and content. Finish painting and decorating, put those shelves that have been sitting on the dining room floor for months up, and repair any hinges that are hanging off doors or cupboards. Fix leaking taps and replace broken shower heads.
Prepping your home for a new member of the family is also a perfect opportunity to declutter. Clutter can make rooms look cramped, it can make tidying up time-consuming and it affects the aesthetic of the space. Take a day to go through every room, getting rid of anything you don’t want or need. You can chuck things away, donate items to charity or make a pile of stuff to sell. Decluttering will free up space, make tidying quick and easy and make your rooms look bigger and brighter.
Getting ready for a new arrival is incredibly exciting, but it’s also normal to be anxious and nervous. It’s common to feel overwhelmed and to feel like you have a million things to do before your newborn arrives. Breaking jobs down, writing a list and giving yourself plenty of time to tick off tasks can make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.