Planning to have a baby is one of the most emotional and potentially joyous life events possible. With that in mind here at ChalkKids we don’t want to put a downer on things, but it will go better if you have your sensible head on and remain organised during the pregnancy.
Money, Money, Money!
Unless you are one of the Kardashians you will need to think seriously about this aspect because there is no getting away from it. You and your partner need to think about what affect having a baby will have on your finances.
When and Where?
It’s important to know when the baby will be due and once you know that you are pregnant there are certain things you need to consider. Firstly, where do you think will be the best place to have the baby?
Visit your Doctor/Midwife
Make an appointment at your family’s GP to see the midwife or your doctor. The first thing they will help you to organise is your antenatal care. Try to involve your partner as much as possible and talk to them about attending antenatal classes.
Maternity Leave and other Benefits
First things first, tell your boss you are pregnant. Double check your rights and whether based on your situation you will be entitled to any help in the form of benefits. Often overlooked by new mums is that pregnant women are entitled to free dental care and free prescriptions. See the NHS guidance here on maternity/paternity leave.
Statutory Maternity Leave
If you're currently working (employed) and pregnant then you are entitled to one year (52 weeks) of maternity leave, regardless of how long you have been in your current job.
This is made up of 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave.See the GOV.UK website for details
If you are currently claiming any type of benefits then you may well qualify for free vouchers to buy milk, vegetables, formula milk and free vitamins.
Take your Health Seriously
Your mind and body are about to go through things you never imagined possible so to give yourself the best chance of dealing with it. If you start taking your health and fitness seriously now it will certainly pay dividends later in your term.
Regular exercise and eating healthily will put a spring in your step and keep you feeling positive and ready for what’s to come! Something I swore by was folic acid and I made sure that I was taking vitamins and minerals in tablet form each day.
If you smoke now would be a great time to quit and if you think you can’t, seek help.
Have you given this some thought? One of the biggest problems for all parents is getting the best childcare possible within your budget. Are you or your partner going to stay at home with your baby, or are you returning to work as soon as possible?
If you do wish to go back to the workplace then you need to start thinking right away about childcare. Good nursery places are like gold dust and some nurseries have a 12 month or more waiting list. Often childcare is the biggest headache for parents.
Questions you should ask
If you are deciding on a midwifery unit, birth centre, or in a hospital for the birth here are some questions you should ask that may help you decide.
Am I allowed check out the facilities beforehand?
Are partners, family members and/or close friends allowed into the delivery room?
Under what circumstances would they be asked to leave the room?
What is the standard practise policy on induction, pain relief and routine monitoring?
For me pain relief was my number one priority to ask about. So, I wanted to know all about whether epidurals and TENS machines were available?
Ask if all goes to plan, how long would it be before you are allowed home?
If you are not going to hospital for the birth I’d ask what if type questions in a worst case scenario. So if problems arise what help is at hand, that type of thing?
What to buy first
Clothes, clothes and more clothes! Babies grow at an incredible rate so try and plan ahead if you can. Initially you’ll just need to make sure you have enough clothes to make sure your baby stays clean and warm.
From birth to maybe 3 or 4 months you'll probably use a crib, Moses basket or a carrycot. Keeping the new born safe, warm and close to you should be a top priority.
Please avoid pillows and duvets as they are not deemed safe for any baby under 12 months old.
Please note that safer sleeping is not just about bedding but the temperature of the room in which the baby sleeps. The room temperature should be between 16c - 20c.
There are a great many to choose from and most babies love being carried in front of you. It’s a great feeling to have them close to you like this. Your midwife/health visitor will encourage both parents to have skin to skin contact with your baby, as this promotes healthy brain development.
If you are going for a long walk then you’ll probably want to thinking about pushchairs. (strollers/buggies).
A good car seat is an absolute must if you are taking your baby on a car journey. Remember on the way home from hospital you will need one so choosing one can’t be put off.
Rear facing in the back is best but if you do put them in the front passenger seat make certain the airbag is switched off if your car has them.
Take some time to research and find a good/safe car seat and read the instructions carefully so you have it fitted correctly.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website has great advice on choosing and fitting a child seats, so be sure to check that out.
Pack your bag!
In your bag make sure you have your birth plan and hospital notes, something comfortable to wear and at least two changes of clothes.
You’ll need things like, breast pads, super-absorbent sanitary/maternity pads, half a dozen knickers. (Disposable ones are a good idea)
Our toiletries such as toothbrush, brush, flannel, soap, deodorant and a couple of towels etc.
You may be there sometime so make sure you have access to your music or favourite podcasts and a supply of books or magazines to read.
Don’t forget your phone and charger as you might want to take a photo or two!
For the baby you'll need;
Outfit to travel home in (a sleepsuit is ok)
Formula, bottles and teats (if you have chosen not to breast feed)
During pregnancy and the first 12 months of being a parent you will learn skills that as yet you don’t even know exist. Right now you will be naturally apprehensive and nothing I can write here will stop that.
All I’ll say is you’ll make the odd mistake along the way, but help is at hand from your partner, family, friends, midwife and GP. It can be tough but overall a positive experience I'm sure. Check our post "A Mothers Choice" for some insight into parenthood.
Following the birth you will also have contact with a health visitor if you haven't already met them antenatally.
They are very skilled practitioners who are there to promote healthy outcomes for all children, whilst helping parents to understand their child until the child reaches school age.