1. Slash your spending
“There are far more important things to be doing once your baby arrives than thinking about managing your finances,” says financial planner Martin Bamford. “Having a baby also often means a reduced household income, at least for a few months, so learning to cope with this ahead of time makes the transition a lot easier.” Have a written budget in place and arrange all your financial paperwork into folders, so you know exactly where everything is.
2. Save to drafts
Make a list of all your nearest and dearests’ phone numbers and email addresses. Then draft out a message, with blanks for your baby’s name, weight, and the time he or she was born, ready for your partner to fill in. His head will be all over the place after the birth, so he’ll never remember to contact everyone if you don’t.
3. Go trackie-tastic
Even if you’re a real skinny minnie, your tum will take time to go down after the birth, so invest in cheap tracksuit bottoms for the first couple of weeks. Primark and Peacocks have trackies in gorgeous colours if you’re worried about feeling like a frump.
4. De-bunk your buggy
You know that state-of-the-art buggy you’ve just bought? Read the instructions now! It’ll be handy to know how it folds up, where the raincover attaches and how to lie the carrycot flat before you’ve got a newborn baby in your arms.
5. Book for beauty
Get yourself an appointment for a beauty MOT a few weeks before you’re due. Have a haircut, invest in an eyebrow shaping session and perhaps even get a wax if you’re brave. Not having to worry about spilt ends or bushy brows while everyone takes your picture will give you a little boost when you really need it.
6. Fit your car seat
Maternity units won’t let you leave with your newborn if you don’t have a correctly fitted car seat, so make sure you fit it in advance. “As well as the safety risks, drivers without a child seat face a £30 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £500,” explains Sara Cooksley from Halfords car seat fitting service.
7. Cook now
Make double each time you cook up a feast and freeze the portions for yummy, home-cooked food for when you might be too tired to think, let alone boil an egg. Get started with Bolognese, casseroles and soups for nutritious, freezable meals you can microwave in a flash.
8. Investigate the after-dark options
Find out which local chemists sell a decent range of baby essentials and note down their opening times. Babies are pretty unpredictable so it’s a good idea to know which shops you can call on outside the normal 9 to 5 opening hours.
9. Buy some bottles
As all mums know, breast is best, but it’s useful to have some bottles on standby in case you want to express and get your partner to help with nightime feeding.
10. Do a brekkie-rekkie
Research and find a few local, baby-friendly cafes. Knowing there’s somewhere welcoming to wander to with your newborn will give you loads more freedom. Look for buggies and breastfeeding among the coffee guzzlers.
“Lists saved my sanity”
“Near the end of my pregnancy with Merlin, I made lists for everything, including useful telephone numbers, the children’s routines, who eats what, and dates such as parties, school trips, and so on. I taped them all to the fridge to make sure all the others were OK while I was in having number seven.”
Jo Holland, 36, from Kent, mum to Harry, 10, Bridie, 9, Erin, 7, Arthur, 4, Arwen, 2, Matilda, 19 months, and Merlin, 5 months