Working out the things to do before baby arrives may seem like a hard task — especially with all the other New Year resolutions you’ll probably have made.
Bringing a baby into the world is cause for celebration. If you're expecting soon, there's no better time to start getting ready for the beginning of something beautiful.
Although starting back at work after the festive holidays can be pretty hectic, making the best of that New Year energy could be just the boost you need to start on that list of things to do before the baby arrives.
1. Plan maternity leave
If you're in a job that comes with a lot of hours, you need to make sure you book some time off for yourself. All employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave. Booking your time off now will be one less thing to worry about and guarantee that you’ve left yourself enough time beforehand to tick off everything on your list of things to do before the baby arrives.
You should give your company around 15 weeks notice, so if you haven't already, now is the time to work out when you'd like to start your leave.
2. Plan a day out with your partner
As you’ll be aware, things will get very busy once your baby is born. Having a child is a physically strenuous experience that can take a lot out of you. You’ll need to make sure you give yourself enough time to recover during those first few months. But before then, take the time to do something with your partner – a nice day out where you can enjoy those last precious moments before the focus will shift to the new member of your family.
There's no better time for a babymoon! Start 2020 with a weekend getaway or take a trip down memory lane. If you can still travel and have the money to do so, head off on a holiday to somewhere sunny.
While it's important to bond with your bump, it's just as vital to spend some time with your partner before things get too crazy. You're growing a human inside — you deserve some me-time too!
3. Prepare a birth plan
While childbirth can be exhausting, the more you plan for it, the easier it will be. A birth plan should be high on your list of things to do before the baby arrives.
You need to decide which delivery option works best for you - natural birth or C-section to name but a few - and the options available for pain relief. You should also decide where you would like to give birth as well as any alternatives should you face any difficult circumstances.
4. Enjoy some much-needed R&R
A lot of your attention is going to be on your new little one once they burst into the world. But until they come along, don't forget to be kind to yourself.
Have a lie-in while wearing your favourite comfy pyjamas, indulge that sweet tooth, and binge-watch your favourite TV series. That's what cosy winter evenings and weekends are for, after all.
5. Get the play area/nursery ready
If you're up for a challenge, why not use this time to get the nursery together? Hit up those post-Christmas sales, pick out a paint colour, or spend your day putting together furniture.
It may seem like a lot to deal with, but trust us — you'll feel so much better once the baby's special place is finally ready.
6. Sort out a budget
Now that the holidays are over, one of the best things to do before the baby arrives is to sort out a budget.
You're going to need a lot of baby supplies, like nappies, clothes, toys and food. There's no harm in spoiling your little one, but you will need to divert a good portion of your finances to the practical side of childcare.
That will mean working out how much money you have and how much you need. You may find you'll have to make allowances to keep everyone in your house clothed and fed.
Start 2020 off by opening a savings account, and make one of your New Year’s Resolutions sticking to your new budget.
7. Safeguard the house
It's time to baby-proof! A new life is a very fragile one, and there are going to be certain things that you need to change around the house that may be an inconvenience for you and your partner, but essential for the safety of your baby.
Baby-proofing is an ongoing battle but hit the ground running and start thinking about what needs to be changed.
8. Get your hospital bag ready
You know what they say... it's always better to be prepared.
If you're expecting soon, then get the hospital bag ready. Make sure to have all the essentials in there, including your birth plan, comfy hospital clothes, extra knickers, and a toothbrush. Also, don't forget the must-haves for your new baby: a onesie, plenty of nappies, and some hats and booties to keep them warm.
Leave it somewhere that's easy to get to in case it's rush to the hospital.
9. Bond with your bump
Now is the time to start making memories. During these next few weeks, spend some time bonding with your little one.
Talk to them, play them your favourite songs or do some pregnancy yoga. And don’t forget your or your partner can bond with your baby whilst you massage in your Secret Saviours Night Cream every evening!
If you're not camera shy, a pregnancy photo shoot is also a great idea. You can get all dolled up for the camera, show off how incredible you look, and get to keep the pictures to show your child when they’re older.
10. Consult with parents
Last but not least, one of the things to do before the baby arrives is talk to other parents.
If this is your first baby, then you'll be in for a major learning curve. But despite the journey ahead of you, you don't have to do it alone.
You might have friends who already have children. Talk to them about their techniques and any difficulties they went through during the first few years. Find out how having a baby changed things for them and how your list of things to do before the baby arrives lines up with their experiences.
And of course, your biggest source of advice will be your parents. Chances are, they will relish the opportunity to talk about how you were as a child and take you through the process. By the time you've had these conversations, you'll have a fully-rounded idea about what you need to do to give your child the best start in life.
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Happy New Year!