Planning. Planning. Planning.

The uninitiated could well be of the misguided impression that the real work doesn't start until baby arrives but ask any new parent still in the pregnancy and they'll tell you just how much work there is. Creating and furnishing a nursery. Choosing how baby will be fed and what feeding system to use. Buying (and finding the money to buy) a travel system, a travel cot, clothes, changing supplies, cleaning supplies, feeding supplies and so on. The list is almost never ending and the whole period before baby arrives can be super stressful.

The best advice is to start early. As soon as you know that baby is on the way start deciding which room will become a nursery and what items are needed. Measure out the room and put the details on a piece of paper or enter them in your phone. This will be invaluable as you start to look at cots, dressers, wardrobes etc. Figure out what you need to feed baby when they get home from the hospital. Will you be breastfeeding or bottle feeding and what equipment is required. Then create a space (in the kitchen most likely) where these items can be stored. You'll never want to have to go looking for feeding equipment when there's a hungry baby - it needs to be where you know it is and ready to go. Consult your car manufacturer or the staff of a baby equipment retailer (Mothercare, Eurobaby, Mamas and Papas etc.) about what car seat is best for your car. Then look at stroller systems and decide what will work best for you from a size and finance point of view. Here's a hint - ask to bring a display system out to your car and see if it comfortably fits in your boot, and if it can be put down and put up by one person. Before baby goes into their cot you will also want a Moses Basket and stand.

We decided to go for a very simple and elegant decor in Beckett's nursery. White furniture and playful wall decals. Rather than buying an actual changing unit, we opted for a sturdy set of drawers and simply placed a changing mat on top of it. Not only does this give you a very firm and hard wearing piece of furniture that you feel safe putting your baby on but it also means that once baby gets older, you have a set of drawers they can use. We choose to use IKEA for his wardrobe as this allowed us the greatest flexibility to design a system that works for us. You can decide how many rails you want, what drawers or shelves you want inside and how many doors you want. Believe me, the wardrobe design options are absolutely brilliant. Finally then we choose a rather simple cot providing two heights as a cot but also doubling as a first bed (detachable sides).

Finally, the most important thing to remember is that nothing is set in stone and don't be afraid to roll with the changes. For all the planning in the world, once baby arrives you will discover that certain things just don't work the way you thought they would and work better another way. Especially with regard the nursery, remember that baby will be in their Moses Basket until around 10 weeks so there's some additional time to work on the nursery - however, apply a giant caveat in that you won't have a huge amount of free time! Once your baby has a place to sleep and you can feed them, everything else will work out. Don't freak out or get too stressed. You have no idea how amazing this adventure is going to be. For all the lack of sleep and poop filled nappies, you won't regret a single moment!
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