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Getting your little one home is one of the most special days of your life as a parent, but it can also seem like one of the biggest challenges of your life, with so much to learn. While the prospect of your baby coming home might feel slightly daunting, you won’t even have time to stress about it by the time they come around, you’ll be so busy.

That’s why preparing as much as possible beforehand can be a great idea, making the whirlwind of excitement as easy as possible. Buying all the items you need for feeding, getting them to sleep and changing beforehand, preparing your home for your new arrival and getting ready for the first time they leave the house for a day out can all really help you feel up to the task.

We’ve created a comprehensive guide to ensure you’re ready for the exciting first few weeks with your baby, including:

  • The essentials for bringing your baby home
  • How to set up and decorate your nursery
  • Travelling with your baby

What are the essential baby items?

Ahead of your baby being born, it makes sense to ensure you’ve bought all of the things you’re going to need for at least their first few weeks, preventing a last-minute supermarket dash once they’ve arrived.

The must-haves to stock up on before your newborn arrives include:

  • Nappies, baby wipes and nappy sacks
  • Cot
  • Bottles
  • Bibs
  • A pushchair
  • Car seat
  • Formula milk or a breast pump
  • Steriliser
  • Blankets
  • Changing mat
  • A baby bath or bath support
  • Soft baby towels
  • Non-biological detergent
  • Clothing

It’s also important to pack a hospital bag ready for the big day. Babies rarely arrive on schedule, so it’s important to be prepared to head for the hospital at a moment’s notice. Your bag should contain things like:

  • Pyjamas, nightgown and slippers
  • Toiletries, including toothbrush and hairbrush
  • Comfortable, loose clothing for the journey home
  • Baby grows
  • Baby blanket
  • Sanitary towels

How to set up a baby nursery

From decorating and buying the furniture, to putting in those cosy final touches, setting up a nursery in your home is one of the most special parts of preparing for your newborn coming home, giving them their own little space in your home.

It’s best to get started well before your due date, before it gets too difficult to paint, which means planning and purchasing everything well in advance. Here are our top tips for setting up your home nursery:

  • Choose a room that’s close to yours. For the first six months, it’s recommended that your baby sleeps in your bedroom. But once they move into their own room, those middle of the night wakeups mean being close to them makes life a little easier.
  • Start decorating a month or two before baby arrives. You don’t want to leave it until you’re too far along in your pregnancy to move things around or paint. Begin creating your nursery early on and get help from friends and family to make it a special time for everyone.
  • Use calming colours. Soft greys, creams and neutral colours tend to work best in a nursery, with most baby furniture and clothes blending in seamlessly. Discuss colours with your partner first to find a scheme you both like.

Nursery essentials to buy:

  • Cot
  • Changing table
  • Storage baskets
  • Baby bedding
  • Drawers/dresser
  • Mobile

Other things like a rocking chair for nursing and feeding your baby on can come in handy, along with a baby monitor and a nightlight. Adding teddy bears, pictures on the wall and toys all help to make your baby’s first room feel extra special and give it a personal touch.

Travelling with baby

Whether you’re heading home from the hospital with your baby for the first time, or jetting off overseas for that first family holiday, you might be a little hesitant and worried about travelling with your baby for the first time. But as long as you’re as prepared as possible, you’ll be fine.

Car journeys with a baby

Shopping for your car seat before your baby is born and getting it fitted will ensure a safe and stress-free journey home from the hospital.

  • Ask the experts. Heading into a shop to discuss car seat options is the best way to make sure yours is safe and ready for your baby’s first adventure.
  • Keep them cosy. Soft clothes and a blanket mean your baby will be much more comfortable on a journey.
  • Invest in a baby car mirror. Ideal for keeping an eye on them while you drive.
  • Keep calm. Tears and tantrums are a natural part of travelling with a baby, so keep calm and don’t let it distract you from the road.

Travelling overseas with baby

When heading further afield with your baby, there are a few extra things you need to consider. Having all the essentials with you for the journey is recommended, but it’s likely you’ll be able to buy most of the things you’ll need once you reach your destination.

Essentials to take with you include:

  • A change of clothes for baby – It’s always best to be prepared with some extra clothing, especially when you have a newborn baby.
  • Formula milk or a breast pump – You don’t need to take enough milk with you for the whole holiday, as you’ll be able to buy it overseas, but be sure to have enough for at least the journey and your first day.
  • Pram/pushchair – A pushchair that’s suitable for both rocky terrain and city strolling means you can make the most of your holiday.
  • Baby sling – A baby sling is ideal for when you’re on the move with your baby and can be handy in busy areas like at tourist attractions, train stations and airports.

How and when to choose a baby name

Naming your baby is one of the most important decisions you’ll have make as a parent, but it can cause lots of tension and disagreement between partners. With the pressure on to choose something that’s going to stick with them for life, it can get stressful deciding on one you both like.

When to choose a baby name

When to choose your baby’s name is completely up to you. Many parents choose to wait until the baby is born, whereas other parents decide on a name well in advance. If you already know the gender of your baby, that can make it easier to choose. If you’re waiting for a surprise, try making lists of both boys and girls names you like.

There are many different things to consider from:

  • How popular the name is and whether or not that puts you off
  • How well it goes with your surname
  • What it rhymes with
  • People you know with the same name

The most popular boys and girls names:

According to Bounty.com, the most popular baby names for boys in the UK in 2018 were1:

  1. Oliver
  2. Harry
  3. Jack
  4. George
  5. Noah

The most popular girls’ names were also quite traditional with Olivia topping the list2:

  1. Olivia
  2. Amelia
  3. Isla
  4. Emily
  5. Ava

While you’re deciding on a name and getting preparing your baby’s first room, take a look at our guide to the first ten days of being parents to get you even more excited for the big day.

1 http://www.bounty.com/pregnancy-and-birth/baby-names/top-baby-names/100-most-popular-boys-names-so-far-in-2018

2 http://www.bounty.com/pregnancy-and-birth/baby-names/top-baby-names/100-most-popular-girls-names-so-far-in-2018

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