Getting Prepared to Welcome Your First Baby!
Every first-time parent knows that getting prepared to welcome your first baby is exciting but also fraught with uncertainty. We turn to the internet and ‘Baby Essentials’ lists to help us get organised. Sometimes, as we go through the lists collecting all the paraphernalia, we realise that there is actually no room left for the baby in the nursery or that our bank balance has depleted considerably. Since I got that ‘positive’ result in December, here are some questions I asked myself/things I did to ensure I stayed focussed and got the items I needed/wanted for our little one.
What Do I NEED?
This one takes some self-restraint. My husband tried to convince himself our baby girl needed quite a few outfits and as a result, spent hours shopping for her online and sheepishly presenting me with packages after the deed was done. Being the more practical one (most times anyway), I thought about what we would use most often on a day to day basis. My ‘need’ list included items like baby grows, nappies, a nursing pillow, muslin squares, a blanket, somewhere safe for her to sleep and a safe play area. In fairness to my husband we went out shopping one day and I was convinced we needed a nappy bin, he presented a strong case as to why we didn’t, so the bin stayed on the shelf.
What Would be Nice to Have
No one can resist all the beautiful baby items out there. If like us you have been waiting a while for your family unit to expand, the temptation may be even greater to purposely confuse the wants with the needs (see shopping husband example above). I created a baby wish list of the things we wanted our little girl to have and sorted it into categories covering her first year. Some things I bought (baby stuff is sooooo adorable), some things my husband bought and the rest? Read on…………
Use Your Resources
We both have large families and a small but close-knit group of friends. While you are getting prepared to welcome your first baby, people will want to give you baby gifts whether via a baby shower or after the baby gets here. If you know/strongly suspect a shower or two is being planned, then kindly ask if its ok to forward your baby wish list (include your ‘need to haves’ if you haven’t gotten it all yet). In my experience, people tend to appreciate the guidance and like the fact they are getting you something you actually want. Include links to websites if there is a specific item that has caught your eye.
We decided very early on that we would not get everything new. Using pre-loved items significantly reduced the cost of our baby spend. We ensured items were functional, safe and suited our lifestyle and then parted with a fraction of the amount we would spend getting the item new. We also assured people gifting us items for the baby that we would welcome good quality pre-loved items especially toys and books. It saves everyone some money; reduces waste and we strongly suspect that our baby would not know the difference.
Baby Will Grow
We had to remember that babies grow fast! When doing your planning remember to think past the first few months in terms of clothes and toys. While speaking to parents one of the most common things we were told is how much stuff never got used because the baby grew too fast. For bigger items try to get things that can ‘grow’ with the baby to extend the item’s use. Also, things that have more than one use also reduces the amount of ‘kit’ you will need. Think blanket that becomes a playmat or baby nest that has extendable straps.
Enjoy the Process
Finally, as you are getting prepared to welcome your first baby, enjoy the process. As beautiful and miraculous as pregnancy is, it can sometimes wreak havoc with your body and mind. Even if you aren’t growing the baby yourself
(partners, adoptive parents etc), the excitement of being able to plan for the little human who will soon be joining you is one of the things that get you through the tougher days.