How to prepare for your baby’s arrival

The idea of becoming new parents can be daunting! You’ve read every book, scrolled every website and downloaded all of the apps, but maybe you’re still feeling a little unsure about what to expect. And that’s very normal! Having your first baby is one of the biggest (and most amazing) life changes you’ll ever undergo.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for the unknown, to help make the journey a little smoother:

  • Pregnancy is a great time to strengthen your relationship with your partner. Talk to each other openly about how you are feeling, your roles as parents, what you hope for your family in the future
  • Discuss the practical things relating to pregnancy and the newborn period, such as the type of antenatal care, finances, work arrangements and maternity and/or paternity leave plans, make a list of who your support network consists of, including a list of who you will let know once baby arrives and how you’ll manage visitors
  • Mentally prepare for the birth experience, and seek advice from your medical support team (ie, midwife or obstetrician) about birthing courses you can do together as a couple
  • Spend time together — watch movies, go out for dinner and create special memories before the baby comes

Here are some things to consider before bringing a newborn home:

  • Where will baby sleep? It is recommended that a baby sleep in the same room as you for at least the first 6 months of life. This reduces the change of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI). Consider whether you’ll use a cot or a bassinet
  • Where will you change the baby’s nappy? The safest area is on a mat on the floor, but most parents find it better for their backs to use a change table. It is important to always keep one hand on baby at all times, while they are on a change table to prevent them rolling off
  • How will you bathe your baby? Whether you use the laundry sink or a baby bath on the kitchen table, ensure the height protects your back
  • Where will you feed your baby? Babies can be fed anywhere comfortable — from sitting in bed to a rocking chair. Pillows (or special breastfeeding pillows) can provide extra support if needed

Babies can be expensive! It’s easy to get carried away with buying the latest trends, but newborns don’t really need much. Below is a list of a few key essentials:

  • An approved rear facing child car seat that meets the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754. You will need this to bring baby home. You might want to get it professionally installed and stores like Baby Bunting offer this service
  • A cot that meets the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2172 and a firm, well-fitting mattress. Some people choose a bassinet too, but starting with a cot is a more cost effective set up
  • Nappies: whether you choose reusable or disposable, have a range of sizes to begin with until you know baby’s size
  • If you plan to bottle feed, make sure you have bottles, teats, steriliser and washing equipment
  • A breast pump may be handy if you are breastfeeding. These can be hired or borrowed if needed. You will also need bottles and sterilising equipment if expressing
  • A pram that meets either Australian Standard AS/NZS 2088:2013 or AS 2088:2022

What to pack in your hospital bag:

  • Jumpsuits for baby
  • Singlets for baby
  • Light wraps for baby
  • Nappies
  • Beanie and mittens for baby
  • Maternity pads
  • Breast pads and nipple cream (if breastfeeding)
  • Tops that can be accessible for breastfeeding
  • Comfy clothes
  • Toiletries (including lip balm!)
  • Water bottle
  • Notepad and pen

This blog post was written by Dayna Bailey, midwife at Willby’s. 

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