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Here’s how to prepare for your new baby’s birth. Our handy checklist of must-haves, suggestions and a few nice-to-haves will ensure you’re all set for the big day.

Use the time waiting for your baby’s birth wisely and plan ahead, so that when baby makes their appearance you are cool, calm and collected.

Read more about the importance of prenatal testing.

Start sooner rather than later

By 37 weeks you should have made the majority of your purchases so that you can enjoy the last few weeks of pregnancy and wait for baby’s birth. This is especially important for your hospital bag because you never know when you might need it.

Find out more about pregnancy ailments and how to deal with them here.

Pack that bag

Try to have your bag packed by around week 36 of your pregnancy. Knowing you’ve got everything you need for your new baby’s birth will make you feel more relaxed. Check with your hospital or birthing centre to see what they have available for your use while in labour.

Use this checklist to see you have all you need:

 for labour and new baby’s birth
  • A comfortable, loose-fitting nightie or T-shirt that you can wear during labour
  • A water bottle and some sweets
  • Any snacks or drinks you or your partner might like
  • Lip balm
  • Hairbrush
  • Warm socks (your feet may get very cold during labour)
  • Massage equipment and any oils or creams.
  • Heat pack
  • Camera and video camera (ask before you start taking video footage)
  • Music to play during the birth of your baby.

Read our articles about the benefits of antenatal classes and what you need to know about pregnancy-related medical expenses

For hospital

Some hospitals and birth centres supply all of baby’s needs while you are there, check what they supply and what you need to add. Remember to pack these essentials for your stay in hospital:

  • 3 easy-to-open night clothes (for breastfeeding)
  • 3 nursing bras, nipple cream and breast pads
  • Dressing gown and slippers
  • Toiletries and make-up kit
  • Plenty of underwear, perhaps even some disposable
  • 2–3 packs of maternity sanitary pads
  • Day clothes and an outfit for leaving the hospital
  • An outfit for baby when leaving the hospital: babygro, socks or booties, cardigan, beanie if cold, and a blanket for in the car.
Welcome home little one

Budget for these essentials first. Besides nappies, nappy cream and all the other everyday necessities, here are the top 10 must-have baby items:

  • Pram/stroller/travel system
  • Car seat
  • Cot or bassinet
  • Baby carrier
  • Baby monitor
  • First-aid kit
  • Breast pump
  • Nursing pillow
  • Baby/nappy bag
  • Bath
  • Changing table or compactum

Did you know there are some fabulous apps to help you with your newborn?

Find the best deal online

There’s no need to pound the pavements, especially when you are heavily pregnant. Why not shop online? Your options are endless, from Gumtree and Facebook groups to top-of-the-range online baby stores. Try using a comparison site such as PriceCheck to find the best deal and compare prices and specifications online. Some items such as baby carriers, prams and camper cots should be seen or tried before being purchased. In these cases, you can start your search in-store and then compare online or vice versa. Try both large and small retailers, but well-stocked boutiques like Kids Emporium will have all your new baby needs.

Nappies, nappies and more nappies

If you find nappies on sale, buy them regardless of their size – even if you are still pregnant. You can never have too many nappies! PriceCheck has a handy Nappy Alert feature to make sure you receive alerts when nappy prices drop. Also consider using environmentally-friendly nappies, Faithful to Nature is just one great online source.

Don’t break the bank

The best products don’t necessarily need to cost a small fortune. Must-have items do not need to be expensive, top of the range or even brand new, there are often very good second-hand, barely worn items advertised for sale. Compare, shop around, ask for recommendations and deals on social media and join groups that meet both face-to-face and through online groups to find the guidance and support you need.

Some items such as baby carriers, prams and camper cots should be seen or tried before being purchased.

Read  about one woman’s experience, joys and fears around the first baby’s birth and more about becoming a first-time mother.