No matter how well prepared we think we are, new parents will always be rushing around in the last few days before their due date trying to get everything perfect. Here are a few things to have to help those first few days and weeks go smoothly.
Bottles and Accessories
Whatever you decide to do, breast or formula feeding, make sure you have bottles, sterilisers and a breast pump to hand. If you are planning on breastfeeding it comes in handy being able to have dad feed baby in the night – plus dad will get to experience and enjoy feeding baby whilst you catch a few extra zzzs. Sleep is massively important not just for the production of breastmilk but your physical and mental wellbeing as a new mother. Expressed milk will keep fresh in the fridge for up to five days.
You don’t know how big your baby will be so stick with smaller packets to start rather than a month’s worth in fear of running out. An extra tip with nappies is to start with the cheapest and work up until you find one that agrees with your baby. All nappies in the UK are pretty good but it all depends on the baby they go on. Aldi and Lidl nappies have won loads of awards, and if they don’t agree with your baby move into the next price range like the supermarket own brands. You save loads in the long run if you do this every time they go up a size as well.
It is important to make sure that your baby is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold – as the chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot. A room temperature of 16-20°C is safe for sleeping babies so consider getting a room thermometer so you can monitor the changing temperature at a glance. If you wish to be extra safe you could look at Verismart Heating’s electric radiators which will maintain the temperature you choose much more efficiently than standard water-fed systems. They’re economical and easy to install without the need for a professional. You can even get them with wheels.
Also, as your baby grows and starts to wriggle around a lot you’ll find peace of mind in a baby sleeping bag which keeps them warm and reduces the risk of them wriggling under the covers.
Moses baskets are incredibly popular for good reason but if you’re going to be breastfeeding you might want to consider a co-sleeper. It’s a height adjustable baby bed that fits snugly against your bed and gives baby the benefit of co-sleeping but without the high risk sharing your bed has. It’s incredibly convenient for night feeds and won’t require you to get out of bed every 2-4 hours or sit up for 30 minutes per feed. A nursing bra will be a Godsend as well if you are breastfeeding so look into getting fitted for some of those as well as compatible nightwear and ordinary clothes.
These staples of our grandmother’s era as a new parent went out of fashion for some reason about 30-40 years ago but they are coming back in. Newborns love to be wrapped up and swaddling makes them feel safe, warm and secure. Babies are light sleepers and something as simple as their own muscles jerking and gently tapping a tiny hand against the mattress or crib side can wake them up and make them inconsolable. A swaddled baby may settle quicker and sleep longer during the day because of that security.
Muslins and onesies
Nothing can prepare you for how mucky your clothes are going to get. Out of nowhere a baby can spew what looks like a day’s worth of milk onto your clothes so plenty of muslins and burp cloths will be worth their weight in gold – trust me, you’ll go through at least 3 a day.
Lots of onesies for baby as there will be leaks and spills. It’s tempting to dress baby up but for the first few weeks they’ll mostly be sleeping or eating. It’s so easy to spend fortunes on clothes they may never wear so keep your cash, save for a special outfit or two for their first trip outside or visit to a special relative that you can keep, and spend it on clothes they’ll need when they’re a bit more alert and active.
Maxi pads and witch hazel
You’re probably well prepared for how much giving birth is going to hurt but what you’ve probably not spoken about is what happens afterwards. It’s often said ‘it hurts but it’s worth it because of what you get at the end’ and that is very true but that wonderfully perfect little person you take home isn’t going to stop it throbbing, itching and stinging down there. For up to a week after birth you’ll be in need of a few maxi pads and essence of witch hazel, which you can pick up cheaply in Boots or other, will help the external itching and soothe any burning, inflammation or throbbing you feel.