10 things every mum-to-be must have on her checklist

It’s no secret that pregnancy affects the hormones, causing mummy-brain - a condition that affects your memory and logic. This is a pregnancy checklist of 10 things you should remember when mummy-brain makes you forget.

pregnancy checklist There is a new baby on the way...make sure you have a pregnancy checklist ready!

There is no doubt that becoming a mother is a rewarding experience.

However, it can also be an overwhelming experience, especially if one has not planned and prepared for the arrival of the little one.

Many of us are fortunate enough to have the tools and resources at our disposal to be prepared for our pregnancy and motherhood and we should take advantage of it.

I advocate informed pregnancy, labour and child-rearing. Not only does it eliminate surprises, but it helps us to be prepared when unexpected issues crop up. This enables us to secure the best outcomes as well as to avoid the last-minute rush and the stress that comes with it. Stress affects us much more than we may think during pregnancy, at childbirth and postpartum. Being unprepared has a direct influence on stress.

As much as we would like to be prepared, our "pregnancy brain" makes us forgetful and interferes with our planning. Mums-to-be you need to remember that planning for a baby is much more than just buying diapers and a stroller. In this article, we're tell you what are the bigger aspects of your life that you need to plan and prepare for to ensure a smooth and happy welcome for your new bundle of joy.

#1 Know and accept that life will not be the same

Even the most stubborn of people change when they welcome a child into their lives.

You will put your own needs aside as baby becomes number one, and you will develop a new respect for your own parents.  Men and women have different ideas of how life will be after the baby is born.

Also be prepared for the fact that your husband will change when he becomes a parent.

#2 Money and budgeting make-over

While family and friends will be only too keen to contribute at your baby shower, there are some things that you should start planning for now, including child care, diapering, feeding, clothing, savings, insurance, medical insurance and OTC, toiletries, toys, books and media.

Speak to your financial planner about whether your insurance is sufficient, and to find out whether you are eligible for government grants.

Your insurance should cover prenatal care, blood tests (including STDs, HIV, Rh compatibility) and prenatal tests, supplements, gestational diabetes, help to quit smoking, breastfeeding counselling and equipment, and birth control after baby is born.

#3 Make your birth plan

A birth plan is a way for you to communicate your wishes to the midwives and doctors who care for you in labour.

It tells them about the type of labour and birth you'd like to have, what you want to happen, and what you want to avoid. Make sure you and your partner agree on this birth plan.

 

pregnancy checklist Preparing your child for the arrival of a younger sibling must be on every mum-to-be's pregnancy checklist.

#4 Prepare your children for the new arrival 

Older children also experience changes when a new baby arrives. It helps to prepare them in advance.

You will have to plan for their care while you're in hospital and in confinement. Try to keep their routines as regular as you can, and avoid any major milestones for the month before and after you bring the baby home.

Older siblings usually benefit from being involved in caring for the baby, but should not be forced to do so. Encourage friends and family to discuss things other than the baby with the older siblings, and be sure that everyone makes one-on-one time with them too.

#5 Pets also need to prepare

Pets, especially cats and dogs, require time to adjust to a new arrival in the family. It is important to help them prepare for baby's arrival by letting them be around you while you prepare the baby's nursery.

Before your baby comes home, let Daddy bring home an item of clothing or baby's diaper to get used to the baby's smell. Always maintain a routine to help shield your pets from stress.

#6 Shop while you can

Many new parents don’t realise just how much time a new baby requires.

They also don’t understand that the mum will be confined to the house, and the last thing the dad will want to do after work, is to go shopping. In the weeks leading up to delivery, stock up on staples such as pharmaceutical items, food that can be stored or frozen, and toiletries.

#7 Build a postpartum survival kit

A Postpartum Survival Kit is meant to relieve some of the physical discomforts that can occur after birth. Buy them now and keep them handy for when you return home from the hospital.

It includes items such as medicines and toiletries, as well as comfort treats such as special socks, books, DVDs, lotions and snacks.

pregnancy checklist The new baby will impact your relationship with your husband. Make sure you talk to him and discuss your parenting styles; and that you also plan for his involvement with the baby.

#8 Put a support system in place

First time parents tend to be very brave, thinking that they can manage it all by themselves, but they don’t take into consideration all the work and the physical and emotional changes that go with having a new baby.

Whether it is your first or fifth baby, consider help from your parents and siblings, baby’s much older siblings, your friends, a doula or confinement nurse, a nanny or maid and child care centres.

 #9 Discuss parenting styles with your husband

Most of us don’t consider half the scenarios that pop up once we have children and how it can make us question who we married.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to sit down to a nice dinner and get to know your partner (as a parent) before baby is born. Find common ground and discuss some of the scenarios where you might differ in terms of parenting.

Discuss the merits of attachment parenting, the Ferber method, free-range parenting, RIE, Babywise, co-sleeping, elimination communication, extended breastfeeding and French-style parenting.

 #10 remember your partner is becoming a parent too

When preparing for a new baby, all the focus is on the mother and baby.

Dad is usually left out of the picture completely. But the fact remains that he, too, is becoming a parent. Involve him in all the planning, and, in the month or so before the baby is born, buy him a New Dad survival kit too, with some of his favourite snacks, books, DVDs or whatever he likes. Make time for a special date and discuss things other than baby preparation.

These 10 crucial steps will go a long way to preparing you for life as a new parent. Yes, it is a huge step, and for you should be prepared if you wish to give your little one the best start.

Mums, how have you prepared for the new addition to your family? Share with us by dropping a comment in the box below!