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How to get your home ready for a baby.

NSW Government
Thanks to our brand partner, NSW Government

Set up the cot, install the car seat, pack the hospital bag — as first-time expectant mothers, we are all made aware of these essential tasks to tackle before baby comes home. But it’s also important to create a healthy and happy space for them to come home to.

You’ve probably already thought to vacuum the carpet and wash all the onesies, so here’s the list of things you might not have considered when it comes to making your house baby friendly.

The family.

Get vaccinated.

A healthy home starts with the health of everyone living in it.

Just as you have been proactive in other areas of your health during pregnancy, avoiding certain foods and activities, it is worth visiting the doctor to get this year’s flu shot and a whooping cough booster. Pregnant women in their second and third trimester are at greater risk of severe complications from the flu, like premature labour and delivery. But only 40 per cent of women know that the influenza vaccination is recommended.

Vaccination during pregnancy is free in NSW and most other states. It has shown to benefit both mother and baby as protective antibodies are transferred across the placenta protecting the baby for up to six months.

As infants under six months are not able to have the influenza vaccination, the best protection available to them is through mum.

getting ready for a baby

Did you know the influenza vaccination is recommended? Image via iStock.

Also talk to your doctor today about getting free whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester. The immunity you get from the whooping cough vaccine fades over time so you need to be vaccinated during each pregnancy at around 28 weeks.

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For those who don’t know, whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is a highly infectious bacterial disease and can be deadly for newborn babies who are particularly vulnerable. Try to ensure that anyone who plans on coming in contact with your baby is well and has had a whooping cough vaccination.

For peace of mind, take advantage of these free health services. They are entirely safe for expectant mothers and their unborn babies.

The kitchen.

Stock your freezer.

It’s important new mothers keep themselves fed and healthy so they are better able to care for their little ones. Cook twice as much food as you usually do in the weeks preceding your due date, and store and freeze the leftovers in plastic containers.

Between loss of sleep, feeding your newborn, changing their nappies, and general doting on them, you will have little time to shop for groceries, let alone cook meals. Also keep this in mind for whenever a friend or family member asks what they can do for you before and after the birth – it’s a simple, inexpensive but entirely useful gift.

Have your fridge and freezer stocked. Makes things SO much easier. Image via iStock.

Make sure you have your breastfeeding and bottle essentials.

That neglected coffee maker and the blender that saw a smoothie one time a couple of years ago need to find their way to storage. Because regardless of whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, your kitchen counters are about to become prime real estate. Breast pump, bottles, formula, steriliser – all the essentials necessary to feed your baby ought to be bought and in an easy-to-reach place before baby is brought home, preferably in the kitchen, as that is where all feeding equipment will be sterilised prior to use.

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The living room.

Rearrange your furniture and clear some floor space.

Don’t believe everyone when they say you need to baby-proof your home before baby comes. Lit candles teetering on countertop edges excluded, it’s completely unnecessary – baby doesn’t come out crawling, I promise. There is one adjustment I would make to your living room arrangement though – all your armchairs and couches facing into one another to make a conversation pit? It’s time to move them out, because although newborns are small, baby equipment takes up quite a bit of space. You might swear now that you won’t buy the garish, brightly-coloured play equipment and bouncers like the modern mothers before you – but trust me. As cute as your baby is, there comes a time when you just want to put them down. Creating a happy and healthy home depends largely on knowing when to give yourself a break.

Clear some floor space. Just do it. Image: iStock.

The bedroom.

Prepare a dedicated changing station.

When my husband and I were expecting our second child, we did away with a dedicated changing station. It took up too much room, we decided.

Fools.

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I tell you this now, on behalf of chiropractors everywhere, your bed isn’t an ideal place to change your baby’s nappy. Or the couch. Or the floor. Especially when you will change your child’s nappy hundreds and hundreds of times before they’re ready to potty-train. It wreaks havoc on your back and neck, to constantly be slumping forward in that position.

Learn from our naivety, and if at all possible, have a dedicated changing station, preferably one the height of your hips. The best advice I can give you if you’re short on space, is to find a chest of drawers in the right dimensions – that way it can pull double duty and store your baby’s clothes and nappies as well, leaving floor space elsewhere in the room.

getting ready for a baby

You really should have a changing station. Image: iStock.

Consider your window coverings.

Sleep is one of the biggest challenges a new parent faces – specifically, teaching babies the difference between shorter day naps, and longer night sleeps. If you live on a busy road with headlights and streetlights pouring through your window in the evening, you might consider block-out curtains, or at the very least venetian blinds or plantation shutters that can help direct the light away from your sleeping baby. Learning to associate darkness with long sleeps will (theoretically) enable your baby to sleep through the night sooner.

This list should help you keep baby and family healthy, fed and (hopefully) well-rested. All the best on your impending journey into motherhood.

How did you prepare your home for baby’s arrival?