As I am currently almost 23 week's pregnant with baby number three I have started to plan things for baby's arrival. As this is my third baby and my youngest was born only 11 months ago I feel that I am now quite experienced in planning for baby's arrival and no what I do and do not need to do. I often get asked off friends and family who are having their first baby on how to plan for baby's arrival. So I thought that I would share my top tips that I have found useful to me for helping to prepare for baby's arrival.
1.) Buy a diary or a calendar.
When you first find out that you are pregnant if you do not have a personal diary or calendar go and buy one. You have to attend so many midwives & hospital appointment's throughout your pregnancy, as well as midwife appointments you also have a dentist appointment, antenatal appointments and near the end of your pregnancy all of your baby equipment will start to get delivered so you need to make a note of when it is getting delivered. Then you have all your usual appointments hairdresser etc and when bills need to be paid, birthdays and other family commitments. Plus when baby brain sets in you really will become forgetful, without a diary I really would be lost and never remember any of my appointments and end up missing them all.
2.) Do a first aid course.
If you are not already first aid trained then I really would recommend doing a first aid training course during your pregnancy, as you really never know when you will need your first aid training. Luckily I have to be first aid trained for my job as when Sophia was two weeks old she actually choked on her sick and stopped breathing and went blue and floppy, it was the scariest moment of my life. But thankfully I knew what to do off my first aid training and she made a full recovery. It probably is best avoided near the end of your pregnancy as if you are anything like me you will be big and uncomfortable and there would be no way I could get down onto the floor and practise chest compressions on a dummy, I would be stuck on the floor forever. You can normally do first aid courses in a day or spread over a few evenings and they are either cheap or free to do, the local council adult learning centres and sure start normally offer them as do some private companies.
At your booking in appointment with the midwife, you will be giving a form to apply for a free NHS exemption card so you can receive free prescriptions and dental care throughout your pregnancy and until the baby is one year old. Make sure you fill it in and post it off as soon as possible.
4.) Sign up for baby clubs.
When you have your booking appointment at the midwife's you will also be giving Bounty & Emma's diary form's where you can sign up to there club's for free and receive a free goody bag which you can collect from boots full of leaflets and samples. Signing up for these club's is good as they will e-mail you weekly pregnancy updates & baby updates once your baby is born and they offer loads of advice and money off coupons. There is also lots of other baby club's that you can sign up to for advice, updates and money off vouchers. Such as Kiddicare and Mothercare, Boot's baby club where you get extra advantage card points on baby buys, most supermarkets have baby clubs as do most baby product company's.
With my current pregnancy, I have been recording my pregnancy on my blog as with my previous two pregnancy's I did not record it and have hardly any photo's and no written updates. Looking back I really wish I had as pregnancy is such a special time and every pregnancy is different. Also, take lots of pregnancy photo's as it is amazing how your body changes each week and they are lovely to look back on.
Early on in pregnancy, it is good to sit down and look at all your expenses as maternity pay is not great and your income will change once you go on maternity leave and baby arrives. We drew up a budget and worked out all are in going's and out going's and cancelled direct debits for things we no longer needed and cut back on our spending as we use to waste a lot of money on eating out and things we did not need. We then wrote down everything we needed for the baby and wrote up a baby budget as in my first pregnancy I just went mad and bought everything for baby and I didn't even need or use half of it. So in my second pregnancy, I stuck to a budget (kind of) and just bought what we needed. Although I did end up spending more then I needed on baby clothes, but baby clothes are just so cute!
7.) Clear out your house and decorate.
Everyone I know seems to decide to have a big clear out & spring clean of there house when they find out they are having a baby before redecorating nearly the whole house. I always have a big clear out in my second trimester as this is when I have the most energy, and we only have a small house so we need to clear out to make way for baby. Also decorating wise I always think that is best done in the middle of your pregnancy as last time around I said I would decorate when I started my maternity leave but I was just so tired and uncomfortable, I couldn't do anything. I think the end of your pregnancy you should be resting, nesting and enjoying your last few weeks of pregnancy instead of decorating & stressing your self out that everything will be ready in time for baby's arrival.
If this is your or your partners first baby or there has been a big age gap between pregnancy like I did then I would highly recommend ante-natal classes. I went to a free nhs one at the hospital and it was on a Saturday morning and I found it really useful even though it was my second baby, there was no watching birth video's or practising breathing or anything like that it was just a quick talk about the pain relief they offer, when to go to hospital, if anything goes wrong etc. And then we had a tour of the maternity department which is brilliant as you know where to go when in labour and what the rooms are like and where everything is. which was one less thing to worry about when I did go into labour as I knew exactly where to go.
It is always good to practise your hospital route so that you know how long it takes you to get there and where to park so you are not driving around lost or looking for parking spaces when you are in labour. It is also handy to have a list of local taxi firms saved on your phone and spare change for a taxi in your hospital bag just in case you need it, it is also good idea to have back up birth partners in place just in case.
Have your bag packed early I did not pack my hospital bag until I was 40 week's pregnant with Sophia and I wish I had of packed it sooner as I would have found it useful having my hospital bag with me when I was admitted to hospital at 32 weeks pregnant for five days. Also baby could arrive early so it is best to be prepared. Have another bag packed with extra things just in case you need to stay in the hospital longer then you planned.11.) Prepare other children.
As this is my third baby I have my two girls to think about when I go into labour and I also need to prepare them for a new arrival in the family. Obviously, Sophia is so young she will not realise until the baby comes home and I am unsure how she will react to another baby in the family. But with Chloe, we involve her in things she came to the 20-week scan in both my pregnancy's, she helps to pick baby things. And we made sure she was the first one to see Sophia when she was born and Sophia had a present and a card to give Chloe when they first met and we are planning on doing the same again this time around, so both girls are the first to meet there brother or sister and we will involve them. I am already worrying about who will look after them when I go into labour even though its four months away but luckily we have a few people who have offered to watch them for us.
Make sure before your baby arrives that you know how to fit your car seat, fold your pram, use your steriliser etc. As there is nothing worse than having a crying baby when you are trying to figure out how to use something. I practised how to use all my new baby equipment before Sophia was born, I washed all her baby clothes and I also set all her things up like her cot and packed her changing bag with things I would need when she was born and we took her out for the first time so that I didn't have to worry and rush about once she was here.
Make sure your camera works and is charged or you have plenty of batteries for it. Keep your camera in your hospital bag as you don't want to miss those first precious photographs of your newborn baby. Make sure you have lots of batteries at home as you will take loads and loads of photographs of your newborn.
14.) Read up on labour.
I found it really useful to read birth story's and watch one born every minute when I was pregnant as it prepared me for labour. It made me realise that every labour is different and to just be relaxed about labour and that anything can happen and to just go with whatever the midwife's told me to do. If I needed to be induced again or needed a c-section or assisted delivery I was fine with that as long as my baby was OK that was all that I cared about.
This is probably one of the most important things to prepare for baby's arrival is to just relax, enjoy your pregnancy get some rest and spend some quality time with your partner as you won't get to do it much once the baby arrives. And if you do go overdue like I have twice just remembered the end is in sight and you will soon have your baby in your arms so just rest as much as you can and spend time with family and friends and enjoy the last few day's of your pregnancy as you will miss being pregnant once it is all over.
What did you do to prepare for your baby's arrival? I would love to know as I am feeling a lot less organised this time around.