8 tips to prepare for a new baby

Get ready for the pitter-patter of tiny feet with these tips to prepare for a new baby

Got a little one on the way? Read these tips to prepare for a new baby

Expecting a baby is an exciting but daunting time, and once your little one arrives then the fun really begins. We’ve compiled this useful guide to help you through the ups and downs of pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum.

1. Preparation is key

So, you’re expecting a baby – congratulations! Once the initial excitement has calmed down, it’s time to start thinking about those essential nursery items you’ll need. After all, the last thing you’ll want to be doing when you’re heavily pregnant is dashing around making sure you’re ready for the birth. Claire Capper, of Northwich, Cheshire, who founded A Mother’s Help and has been a nanny for nearly 24 years, says: “Get as much as possible organised beforehand. Get all the bits of clothes and nursery furniture, and rest as much as you can. You don’t want to be rushing around at the last minute.”

Read more: Local mum becomes best-selling author

2. Shop around

There’s no shortage of baby products on the market, so it can be hard to know where to start, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Claire says parents-to-be should research before they buy. She says: “Ask other parents which products they’ve found helpful. They might tell you they bought something because it was the ‘latest thing’ but then discovered it was a waste of money. With prams you can spend thousands of pounds, but you don’t have to. For certain things you can buy second-hand, such as prams, cots and clothes. Babies grow out of things so quickly, especially clothes. But don’t buy a car seat second-hand, unless you know where it has come from. And don’t buy second-hand shoes. Another tip is to buy lots of muslin cloths.”

3. Invest wisely

Paula Le Flohic, of Lymm in Cheshire, runs pearlsofwisdomforparents.com, where mums and dads can share their parenting tips. Paula, a mother of teenage twins, also owns and runs the nanny agency Nanny & Co. She says: “Invest wisely in what you need. For example, a cot bed is a versatile choice because you can get more use out of it. Plus, you can make a cot bed much smaller by using pool noodles.”

WIN! A spa day for two at The Retreat in Leek

4. Be informed

Giving birth is undoubtedly daunting, especially if you’re a first-time mum. And while women have been having babies for centuries, you can take reassurance from the fact you’re not the first to feel apprehensive about the experience. Michelle Bennett, of Safehands Birthing Services, is a doula who provides antenatal and postnatal support for parents. The mum-of-five, who lives in Cannock, Staffordshire, says: “I’m a big believer in preparing for birth. Most women worry about giving birth, but if you’re well informed, you won’t be as scared. Antenatal preparation and education are key. Of course, for a lot of people giving birth is straightforward, but it can be very scary. It’s all about knowing what’s happening, using your instincts and making informed decisions.”

5. Ask for help

After your little one has arrived, family and friends will understandably be excited to meet him or her. You’ll take on the role of a sleep-deprived host, fetching endless cups of tea and biscuits for your well-meaning guests, when all you really want to do is put your feet up. Thankfully, Michelle has some handy advice to save you from becoming an unwilling waitress. She says: “Say to your friends and family, ‘Of course you can come and see the baby, but can you bring me some dinner while you’re at it, maybe a shepherd’s pie?’ In other words, they’re more than welcome to cuddle your baby, as long as they bring food with them. It’s your visitors who should be coming round and helping you. And remember, don’t let them stay too long.”

Read more: LIVING’s top 15 days out with the kids

6. Take time out

There’s no shame in asking for help – and don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ if someone offers to give you a hand. Perhaps a relative or friend is able to look after your baby while you have a nap or a longed-for soak in the bath, or maybe they could help with the washing up. Even just an hour’s break could make the world of difference to your wellbeing as a new mum. Claire admits she found it hard to ask for help as a mum, but says new parents shouldn’t be afraid to let friends and family lend a hand. “Asking for help was a big problem for me,” she says. “Being a nanny, I had it in my head that I should be able to do everything and cope with everything. But if anyone offers you help – take it. In fact, take all the help you can get.”

7. Do whatever comes easiest

When it comes to parenting, what works for one family might not work for another. Michelle says: “People say to sleep when your baby sleeps, but that isn’t always practical, especially if you have other children around. As a mother, do whatever comes easiest for you. For instance, if it’s easier for you to put your baby in a sling, do that, but if it’s easier to use a pushchair, do that instead. Doing whatever comes easiest will help you to look after yourself, as well as your baby.”

8. Don’t strive for perfection

News flash: nobody is a perfect parent. Of course, it may feel as if there are a few contenders for mum or dad of the year when you scroll through Facebook. You’re not alone in envying other families and their pictures of happy days out, when for you it feels like an achievement if you get out of the house before midday or even teatime. But remember that those photographs don’t always tell the full story. Paula says: “Everybody feels under pressure to succeed, but if your baby goes to bed fed and clean – that’s success; that is a great day. Don’t watch everybody else’s story. Ask for help and talk to people, such as your partner, health visitor and friends. Remember, you’re not the first person to have struggled with things like weaning and nappy rash, so don’t beat yourself up. Nobody is a perfect parent, no matter what they may put on Facebook. They’re all winging it.”

Living loves…

Grab these Baby-ssentials and go!

Snuzpod 2 three-in-one bedside crib in espresso £199 cuckooland.com

 

Printed muslin cloths £10 M&Co

Journey travel system £299 Mothercare

 

Bodysuit £2 F&F

Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with all the latest news, reviews, events, competitions and more from Staffordshire Living.