Having a baby is a major life change. Recently I have found myself saying to my husband “are we ready for this?”
Although we talked at length about having a baby and the changes that it would bring. However, when you start to actually prepare you realise that heck, what is about to happen is going to change our whole world, and no matter how many books you read or people you talk to, you will probably never be fully ready.
Since finding out I was pregnant we started to prepare for the arrival of our baby. Mainly as my husband is a planner and thinks about 3 months ahead (or even further). A lot of the prep initially was from a practical sense, and still remains this way. However, the closer I am coming to meeting our little one I am finding that there are many more things to consider.
Here are some things we have done, or are doing to prepare for the arrival of our little one:
Being practical: Buying all the stuff
Babies come with a lot of kit. This is something I have always thought when I have seen friends with their children, and always questioned, do they need all of it? However, we now are in posession of half of mothercare in our home!
It all started off with a couple of outfits (they’re so tiny and cute, and I defy anyone that can resist a purchase early on). My husband is also super excited and everytime there was a sale on somewhere, he would be straight there. We now have so many clothes that I think she is sorted for her first year of life!
In reality, babies (especially newborns) need relatively little. As long as they have somewhere safe to sleep, nappies, food and clean clothes then you are set.
Although, after we put together a list of things that would be needed, we slowly started buying things, and boy does it get expensive.
We have been able to be a little savvy with some of our purchases. We bought our pram brand new, as well as some clothes and the rest has been second hand. Facebook marketplace is a true gem, and we have some really generous friends.
Otherwise you can get carried away, and all of a sudden you have spent thousands.
After just 20 weeks we had our nursery fully set up. Even though our baby won’t be sleeping in their for at least 6 months after she arrives.
Packing your hospital bag
Another practical element to preparing for a baby is packing a hospital bag. In our antenatal classes we were advised to pack from 32 weeks onwards. We were also advised to pack it and then have our partners to repack it, so they know where to locate the things you need in the midst of labour.
Even if you are planning a home birth, you still should pack a hospital bag, as not all births go to plan.
If you google hospital bags and what to pack, you’ll get 101 checklists that can make it seem quite overwhelming. My rule of thumb was to keep it relatively simple. Pack for being in one night, keep some spare bits in the car and if all else fails, there are shops nearby or your partner can go home for extra things.
Our birth bag
When looking into baby change bags, I came across a company called Birth Bag, and it has been really helpful. I decided that I wanted to have a backpack style change bag, when someone tagged me in a post on their Instagram, and I was sold on it instantly.
The idea behind birth bags is to give you a pre-packed kit to take to the hospital. What to include in the bags have come from research from various mums and their own experience. The amazing thing is that the cost of their change bags are comparable to others on the market, and it comes with a load of handy extras to take with you. It is a no brainer really.
Just as a rough guide, birth bags start from £34 and come in a variety of styles from backbags to weekend bags. You can also buy hand luggage suitcases. They also regularly release new designs and additions to the kit.
If you have already got your change bag, you can still buy the pre-packed kit for £26.99 (so you can see it makes sense to pay a little more and get a bag too).
The contents of the bag are just what is needed and include items from maternity and reusable breast pads to a baby’s first outfit bag with a hat, mittens and the cutest little booties.
Preparing for the birth
One of the main things about pregnancy can be thinking about the actual birth.
I will be honest in saying that for months I have avoided thinking about the process. However, to be informed and prepared is the best way and will make it easier.
We have recently had a look around our local birthing unit and met some of the midwives there, which has made it feel much more real.
The positive birth company
I recently started doing a course run by the positive birth company. In the digital pack Siobhan Millar talks you through the process of birth and how it is the most natural thing in the world (which it is).
One thing I found most helpful was thinkng about the power of words. The use of negative words during labour, can make the birth more stressful.
For most people what they know of birth is what they see on TV or film. This normally includes things like your waters breaking in dramatic fashion, rushing to hospital and women lying in a bed screaming the place down.
I’ll admit, after watching a few TV shows like one born every minute, I did have that view.
However, after doing the course and learning about birth as a normal and natural process, I feel much more prepared.
I am hoping to have a natural birth in our local birthing centre, with miminal intervention.
Maternity leave: Enjoying the free time
Now that I am on maternity leave, I am finding myself with so much free time. However, the advice of most people is to enjoy these last few baby free weeks.
So in the run up to baby being here, I plan to enjoy being able to lie in and snooze my alarm, drink a hot cup of tea and going to the toilet in peace.
This time will also give us a chance to do a few last things just as a couple. We have been fortunate in that we have been able to travel a lot this year. However, we have found ourself saying “we won’t be able to do this for a while in the next few months”.
Over the next few weeks we are going to enjoy being together as a couple. We have planned on going out for meals and other days out.
We are hoping that our baby will slot in our lives well, but are realistic in that the way in which we have done things will never be the same.
That said, we are both so excited to meet our baby girl, watch her grow and discover the world.