Is it just us, or does the word ‘nesting’ drive you up the wall? It massively underplays the reality of waiting for your baby to arrive with no whiff of the endless list-making, clothes-washing and obsessive cleaning that takes over as the due date draws closer and closer. Whether your baby is the size of an apricot or a watermelon, here’s your ultimate checklist for all the things you’ll probably want to do before your baby arrives.
Stockpile The Essentials
To avoid having to leave your newborn cocoon in those precious first few days, you might want to stock up on the essentials beforehand.
Newborns like to fill their nappies with all sorts of wonderfully coloured poos right from the off (and may need changing up to 10 times a day *gulp*). So, having your baby change essentials ready to roll – think nappies, fragrance-free/water-based wipes and cotton balls – will save any poo-induced emergencies.
Also, for baby’s first bath time you’ll want to add soft cotton towels, a sponge/flannel, baby wash and a newborn tub to your shopping list. When choosing newborn toiletries, always check the bottle/label to see if it’s suitable for a newborn’s sensitive skin.
Then, there’s the ‘just in case’ go-to’s that are always worth having to hand like a newborn-appropriate dummy, baby bottles, muslins, formula (if you choose to bottle feed, or want to have backup supplies) and say about a gazillion soft-to-touch baby grows or vests.
Washing Baby’s First Clothes
Speaking of clothes, before you pack them away with the labels still on, it’s recommended to wash them first. Most labels will instruct you to do this, and this is for a number of reasons from softening up the fabric to ridding them of any chemicals. Your baby’s skin is a lot more sensitive than yours, so the more comfortable and cleaner the clothes are the better.
Setting Up The Car Seat
The very last thing you’re going to want to do once your waters have broken and you’re preparing to leave for the hospital is to start reading a 10-page instruction manual on how to safely install your baby’s car seat. It’s recommended to do it in advance, so you can trust it has been fitted properly and check it’s suitable for your car and your newborn babies. There’s lots of advice out there for finding the right car seat for you and some retailers even offer an installation service if you need an extra helping hand checking this one off the to-do list.
Packing Your Hospital Bag
Depending on how naturally organised you are, your mighty hospital bag is either packed and ready to go from the first trimester or hurriedly thrown together at the first hint of Braxton hicks. There’s no set timer to get it done, just like there isn’t one before packing for a holiday, but to play it safe and for peace of mind try and aim to get it ready before week 35.
Despite what all the video tutorials and downloadable checklists say, packing it doesn’t require a degree from baby hospital bag school. Simply divide it up between what you’ll need and what your baby will need if you were to stay in hospital for a few days – it’s always better to overestimate than underestimate.
For you, start with a selection of home comforts that you can enjoy before/during the birth like your favourite snacks, something to cool you down (handheld fan or mist), your fave playlist (some rooms have speakers!), a lightweight robe, loose PJs/nightie, and things you can rely on if there’s waiting around (like a magazine or a book). For after the birth, you’ll need at least one pack of maternity pads, breathable oversized briefs (high-waisted ones are great as they won’t rub against a C-section scar), a couple of changes of clothes, comfy PJs and toiletries for hitting the shower.
For baby, they’ll need newborn nappies (disposable/reusable), water-based wipes/cotton balls, nappy rash cream, a selection of vests and sleepsuits (you might want to pack various sizes like newborn and 0-3 months to find the best fit), a blanket and bottles/formula if you plan on bottle feeding (as most hospitals will not supply this).
Decorating and planning your baby’s room is something you might want to kick-start before the baby arrives. But, try not to put too much pressure during your pregnancy to get everything sorted for baby on day one as it’s recommended your baby sleeps in the room with its caregivers for the first 6 months. They might not be actually using their room for a while, for if something has to fall down the list of priorities then we’d put this one on the ‘bonus if it’s done’ list.
9 months can sound like a long time to get used to the idea that a baby is on the way, but in between all the appointments, antenatal classes and endless errands, it can fly by in the blink of an eye. Try to schedule in some time for reflection, gratitude and mindfulness during your pregnancy – whether it’s doing a guided pregnancy meditation or rubbing moisturiser over your bump and having a daily moment with your growing baby. It may help foster a connection to your baby, process the changes that are happening to your body and get you in a better mindset for what’s to come.