Planning for a family is an exciting time, but it’s also a busy one. Becoming a parent means reviewing multiple areas of your life, from finances to health insurance.
Speaking with professional home organiser and mother of two, Chelsea Smith, we gather her best tips for preparing your home for your new bundle of joy.
Here is Chelsea’s advice for planning at different stages of your pregnancy, from the long term prep right up until the due date and beyond.
Long-term (pre-pregnancy) preparation
Consider health insurance
If you want private healthcare during the course of your pregnancy and birth, it’s best to start planning early.
When you have the suitable level of cover – like HBF’s Gold Hospital – you may enjoy benefits, like the freedom to choose your own obstetrician, the hospital you have your baby, and a private hospital room for the birth. Just remember there is a 12 month waiting period before you can use your cover to claim for pregnancy and birth.
“Think about your changing health needs,” Blake Delcanho, General Manager of Member Products and Propositions at HBF, says. “Extras cover can come in handy if you need pre or post-natal physio, remedial massage or psychology.”
Once baby arrives, it’s also a good time to review your cover based on your family’s needs.
“If you don’t have cover and want the benefit of private health insurance to protect your family, now’s the time to consider hospital cover, extras cover or both,” Blake adds.
“Health insurance can give you peace of mind and, when you’re a parent, peace of mind is one of the most valuable things you can have.”
Make storage space
Chelsea recommends decluttering early too, to save you doing it later as things around the home get harder.
“Create a space for the newborn with the expectation they will be gifted a lot of stuff, but also think about the time to come,” she says. “Over the years you’ll accumulate more toys and they’re bulky and big and plastic and awkward [to store], so if you can, really declutter in the process of pregnancy or when you’re planning for a family.
“Do the storage areas – the linen press, the garage, the shed – all the sort of stuff you need to make space for what is to come. What I find is that if you miss this step before the baby or babies are born, it can be harder to play catch up because life goes by at a different pace as a parent.”
Start nesting by styling your nursery
Of course, you’ll need to prepare a sleeping area for the baby, whether that’s in your room or in a nursery. Again, even if the newborn will sleep in your room, Chelsea recommends thinking about the child’s nursery or room in advance.
“I personally think it’s nice to enjoy this step. It’s like a nesting period, when you’re all excited to style-up the space,” she begins.
“I had the nursery ready to go early, with plenty of muslin wraps and weather appropriate attire depending on the season. You also need to consider the temperature of the nursery and have adequate heating or cooling set up before the last trimester.”
Prepare meals (and your freezer)
Chelsea’s main tip was to start preparing meals in advance so you’re well-fed and can concentrate on other things after baby arrives.
“Keeping on top of food is so important,” she starts. “Having meals pre-prepared and the freezer well stocked is my main advice to everyone. For instance, if you or your partner is making a cottage pie or something while pregnant, just make another one and chuck it in the freezer. Then all you need to do is reheat it on one of those nights when everything falls by the wayside.”
Start clearing space in the freezer early to accommodate all your meal prep. You may even want to clear it and defrost it entirely before you start meal prepping to ensure it’s in tip-top shape.
Get across gadgets
Nowadays, there can be a lot of helpful tech to accompany your parenting – Chelsea advises new parents to get their heads around it. While you may not need every gadget and gizmo under the sun, if there’s a chance something could make your life easier as a parent, wouldn’t you want to know?
Furthermore, some of the technology can be complicated for a first-time user.
“We have a lot of gadgets with babies these days. Whether it’s sound machines or bottle sterilisers, they can be quite complex,” Chelsea shares. “Even your baby monitor – they’ve usually got video function, they can be on apps, [and] they’re connected to WiFi.
“I think it’s important for you and your partner to spend some time getting your head around how to use all the gadgets associated with the nursery, meal prep and bottle prep, so you’re not learning on the job while you’ve got a newborn crying in your arms.”
Stock-up on what you need (but don’t go overboard)
“A lot of things that are marketed to us for raising children, we actually don’t need,” Chelsea warns. “So, I feel like bringing it back to basics removes the sense of being overwhelmed for any new parent.”
“What you need is a set of nappies, fresh clothes, fresh linen and somewhere safe for the baby to sleep. Everything else is a nice-to-have.”
Having said that, some of those nice-to-haves may soon become essentials in your home, like baby-safe laundry detergent or light-blocking curtains, so make a list and get a friend (who is a parent) to check it for you.