Congratulations! Your partner is pregnant and after watching her deal with all those crazy pregnancy symptoms (nausea, constipation and mood swings!) you’re probably thinking that you got off the hook pretty easy with this one. But even if you’re not the one carrying the heavy weight, it doesn’t mean you’re free from pregnancy duties. Truth is, there’s more to do than just admiring your nursery painting skills and helping your partner eat for two. Here’s everything you need to know - and do - before the big day.
Get financially prepared
Ideally, you should have a good handle on your finances within the first few months of a pregnancy. If things are looking better than expected, you may be able to take more time off work than you’d predicted or you can organise a meal delivery service for after the baby arrives. If things are a little tighter than you’d hoped, why not work on a solid list of useful gifts ahead of the baby shower and hold a working bee day so that your friends can help get things baby proofed around the home?
Prep your freezer
Hell has no fury like a sleep deprived family with nothing nutritious to eat, so spend a couple of weekends doing major meal cook ups and freezing whatever you can before your bundle arrives. And, if your friendships are good enough, don’t be afraid to ask friends to drop in some homemade meals after the baby arrives. You’d be surprised how many people want to be helpful, and just how far a home cooked meal goes in making a difference to someone’s day.
READ MORE: Best meals to freeze
Buy some condoms
No, this is not for when the romance strikes. Give it a minute, jeez! If your partner has had a natural birth she’ll likely be feeling some serious discomfort down there in the days following. Conveniently, condoms filled up with water and placed in the freezer are like the perfect ice pack for the post-partum pain. Just remember to wrap it in a cloth, and whatever you do - and this is important - DO NOT insert it! A good idea is to place it in the inside lining of a sanitary pad. Leave it on for 10 minutes and reapply each hour as necessary, or while it still feels helpful.
Stock up your medicine cabinet
Do you have a thermometer, nappy rash cream, nipple pads and baby paracetamol at home? You do now, friend. You do now.
Wash your baby clothes and blankets
While baby toys, clothes and blankets are up there as some of the cutest things around, it’s important to give them a good wash before actually putting them to use. If you’re using a washing machine, avoid washing powders with enzymes (bio powders) or fabric conditioner, as they may irritate your baby’s skin. And remember to always rinse clothes thoroughly. If you’re heading out for a shopping spree, try to get a couple of different sizes, and some bigger options too so your bub has something to grow into when the time comes.
Know your stuff
It’s amazing how many partners, despite having gone along to birthing classes, go into a delivery suite not knowing exactly what to expect from the birthing process. Your chances of being a positive, calming influence for your partner greatly increases by knowing your stuff. That way you can step in and make decisions should your partner be preoccupied. Have a clear understanding of the birth plan and start asking some questions. Do you know what your partner wants to do with the placenta? Do you know her preference around epidurals and pain management? Ask questions, read up, and as the scouts say, be prepared.
Learn the basics
Once the baby arrives, things are going to be hectic and your arms are going to be full at about all times. So, if you can, take some time to familiarise yourself with swaddling, changing a nappy, feeding and unfolding/refolding the pram before the baby arrives. It will save time, lessen stress and help to avoid unnecessary, sleep-deprived fights.
READ MORE: Baby care 101
Write some letters
Writing a letter to your unborn baby might sound corny, and maybe it is, but it’s also a pretty touching thing to do and something most adults would love to receive from their parents at some point. And while you’re sitting down and putting pen to paper, why not write a letter to your partner and talk about the pregnancy journey from your perspective? Nothing says Partner of the Year quite like a love note handed over in the days after birth.
Baby proof the house
Whilst your little bundle of love may not know how to crawl, walk or god forbid, clime (yet), it’s only a matter of time before they do. Ensure that whatever they might try to open, pull, or play with won’t hurt them. It’s also a good time to make sure you have all the safety basics covered. When was the last time you checked your smoke alarm, including the battery? That’s right. It’s probably about time.
Ask your friends for advice
This may sound a little simple, but if you have friends who have gone through the baby process before you, ask them about it. Find out what they wish they had done before the baby arrived, what essentials got them through those first days, things that made the process easier or harder. It’s amazing what nuggets of wisdom people have to offer if you just ask.
READ MORE: The mother of all shopping lists
Keep your tank on full
Having to duck in to the petrol station while en route to the hospital sounds like a storyline from a rom-com, but in real life it’s unlikely to be quite as funny. So, in the interest of your partner still loving you at the end of all this, make regular station visits in the weeks leading up to the labour and it will be smooth sailing to the delivery room.