How To Prepare for a Newborn

Expecting a precious bundle? It’s such an exciting and nervous time for parents-to-be. To help you ease into this transition, we’ve put together our best tips on how to prepare for a newborn.

The first thing to know is that there is no perfect way to become a parent. Everyone’s journey is unique and what works for one family may not work for another. These tips are designed to help get you organised and feel more prepared about life with a new baby. Adapt them to suit your own circumstances.

Get Your Home Ready

If this is your first baby, it’s likely your home may need a few adjustments in order to make it safe and functional for this new life chapter. Here are some ideas to get your space ready.

  • Declutter and tidy: future you will be grateful for any attempt you make to get your home in order before you have your baby. We’re not talking huge, expensive renovations. But if you’ve been meaning to clear out unused belongings to give to goodwill, now is the time. Too many possessions can weigh us down mentally – clear out the clutter and clear out your mind!
  • Pet-proofing: if your beloved pet is used to being the “fur baby” of the family, it’s important to prepare them for the adjustment to life with a newborn. If your pet’s routines, favourite sleeping spot etc. are likely to change, establishing the new routine before baby arrives is a really good idea. A safety gate to keep the baby and pet separated can be useful as your pet adjusts to having a new family member.
  • Set up baby’s room: whether you have a nursery or will have baby sleeping in your room, setting up the space a month or so ahead can avoid a panicked rush in those last weeks of pregnancy. A bassinette and change station all set up and ready to go is a great starting point. A comfortable chair for feeding is also useful.

Stock Up on Baby Essentials

Here’s the good news: newborn babies don’t need much. It can be very tempting to buy ALL THE THINGS, but the truth is that a safe space to sleep, warm clothes, milk, and lots of cuddles are a bub’s ultimate must-haves! Here’s a list of baby items to stock up on before you go into labour.

  • Nappies – disposable or modern cloth
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby clothes – start with 3-4 jumpsuits and 5-6 singlets
  • Baby wraps and blankets
  • Nursing bras and breast pads for breastfeeding
  • Bottles, teats and bottle-washing items for bottle-feeding
  • Baby bath and soft baby towel
  • Natural baby skin care
  • Other optional items: breast pump, nappy bin with lid

Get the Baby Car Seat Installed

Safe transport for your baby is crucial. Once you’ve chosen a suitable car seat that meets Australian standards, it’s highly recommended to have the seat installed by a professional. Visit the traffic and road authority website in your state or territory to find an authorised child restraint fitting station near you.

Wash All Those Tiny Things

It’s time to wash all those tiny clothes! Choose a mild washing liquid – fragrance-free is always a good option. There’s something indescribably sweet about hanging out all those tiny little singlets and rompers to dry. Before long, you’ll be putting your tiny little love in those clothes! Fold and put away the freshly laundered clothes and tick another task off your to-do list.

Freeze Meals Ahead of Time

The demands of life with a newborn can make it nearly impossible to make – let alone eat! - three nutritious meals a day. But keeping yourself well fuelled is so important. Make big batches of pasta sauce, soups and other nourishing meals and freeze them in portions. These heat and serve meals are a lifesaver in those first weeks.

Pack Your Hospital Bag

If you’re birthing at a hospital or birthing centre, you’ll want to get your bag packed ahead of time. Here’s what you’ll need.

For mum:

  • Loose, comfortable clothes for labour and post-birth
  • Maternity bras
  • Lip balm
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Thongs for the shower
  • Breast pads
  • Maternity pads
  • Belly oil
  • Hairbrush and hair ties
  • Toiletries for showering
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Snacks
  • Your own pillow
  • Phone and charger
  • Headphones
  • Medicare card and other relevant paperwork

For baby:

  • Singlets, jumpsuits, booties and a beanie
  • Going home outfit
  • Baby wash and lotion
  • Soft towel
  • Baby wraps
  • Nappies (babies use between 8 – 10 per day)
  • Baby wipes

Time to Rest

When we talk about how to prepare for a newborn, it’s important to think about your mental and physical well-being as well as all the “stuff” that has to be organised. It can feel like there’s a never-ending list of things to do – but don’t exhaust yourself trying to do it all. Ask for help when you can, take help when it’s offered, and remember that taking some much-deserved time out is important for you and your baby. Whether you head to a day spa for some pampering and painted toenails (you’ll be able to see them again soon!), or you simply want to put your feet up and read a book or watch your favourite show, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Take some deep breaths and soak up the alone time.