Becoming a parent is both exciting and daunting. While no one can truly prepare you for such a monumental life change, taking some important steps like saving up money, quitting unhealthy habits, and finding a trusted term insurance plan can help you feel more prepared.

Organize your home to make it baby-friendly. Keep a caddy full of essentials within reach, such as diapers, wipes, extra clothes and pacifiers.

1. Get Your Maternity Clothes Ready

If you don’t already have a few pairs of comfortable maternity jeans or long shirts in your closet, now is the time to start shopping. There are many factors that affect when you should start wearing maternity clothing, including pre-pregnancy weight, your body type, and how big your bump is getting.

You should also be sure to stock up on essentials like a nursing bra and breastfeeding pillow, as well as diapers and wipes. If you want to save money, you can find pregnancy clothes at local thrift stores or online. It’s also a good idea to join a parenting group or pregnancy support group where you can meet other parents and share tips on what to expect during labor, delivery, and the early months of parenthood.

If you have friends who were recently pregnant and aren’t using their maternity clothing anymore, ask if you can borrow or buy their items from them. You can also check out sales and clothing swaps in your neighborhood or online. Finally, don’t forget to purchase a couple of LBDs that you can wear to baby showers and other events. You might also want to invest in a few oversized button-downs that will fit throughout your pregnancy and be great for layering.

2. Set Up Your Baby’s Room

Whether you’re doing a full-on nursery or simply moving baby into your bedroom, this is an important step. Organize the furniture and hang decorations, as well as make sure you have a place for diapers, wipes and clothes. A changing station should also be included – one that’s comfortable and at the right height for you to use during those 2 a.m. feedings.

If you have pets, prep the room for them too. Put up gates to keep them out of certain rooms and start slowly introducing them to your child. This will make everyone happier and help things go more smoothly once your little one is here.

If you’re not sure where to start, try a baby checklist that’ll give you a good idea of what’s essential. Or, if you prefer a more holistic approach to parenting, consider trying an automatic rocking bassinet like the Newton Baby, which provides 4 built-in sounds, 5 motions and a side table to help meet your newborn’s sleep needs in the first months of life. It’s also organic and non-toxic, making it a healthier alternative to traditional mattresses. Plus, it’s super portable – so you can take it with you when visiting family and friends!

3. Buy a Car Seat

When preparing for baby’s arrival, it can feel overwhelming to know what to do. From purchasing a car seat to taking a childbirth course, there’s so much on the to-do list. However, it’s important to determine what’s a necessity and what’s a nice-to-have.

To ensure a safe ride for your newborn, you’ll want to buy a high-quality car seat. Make sure to buy a model that meets federal safety standards and has the proper installation instructions. You may also need to buy a stroller or other baby gear, such as a crib or bassinet. Make sure that the paint for crib is safe for babies. Lastly, it’s smart to clear your kitchen cabinets and ensure that they don’t contain any chemicals you wouldn’t want your baby to ingest.

Entering parenthood inevitably brings up emotional and thought-provoking considerations about your own upbringing. It can be beneficial to work with a therapist during this time to understand the implications of your choices and learn how to respond consciously rather than automatically. If you’re concerned about how parenting will affect your relationship, it’s also a good idea to have an open conversation with your partner about what you hope for your future together as parents. This is a great way to set the stage for a happy, healthy family.

4. Shop for Baby Gear

While it’s tempting to start buying baby gear for your soon-to-arrive bundle of joy, resist the urge unless you’re absolutely sure you need it. Buying gear you won’t use can cost you a lot of cash and will add to your stress level if you have to return it later. Plus, it’s always better to buy items new so you can be confident they meet safety standards and are up to date.

Look for clothing that’s easy to take off and on for quick diaper changes, like onesies or a baby gown/sleep sack. Invest in some diapers, wipes and creams that are safe for newborns, and consider buying a pack of pre-washed cloths (like muslin or cotton) to help with the wash cycle.

If you’re shopping on a budget, keep an eye out for hand-me-downs and try to shop at stores that offer discounts or rewards for expectant moms. And be sure to check on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if any baby gear you’re considering has been recalled recently.

5. Find a Support Network

As soon as you discover that you’re expecting a baby, start reaching out to your existing circle of friends and family members who are ready and willing to help you during this time. Ask for help with household chores and errands, as well as babysitting or meal preparation. And don’t be afraid to ask for a shoulder to cry on.

Another great tip is to get involved in local groups and online communities that are dedicated to mothers and parenting. These groups can offer a wealth of information, advice, and camaraderie with other parents who are experiencing the same challenges. And don’t forget to find a trusted term insurance plan to safeguard your financial health for years to come.

You should also prepare for the fact that you’ll be giving up on your privacy. New parents often sacrifice personal time and routine, like going to the bathroom alone or watching their favorite show on TV, to tend to the needs of their newborn. You’ll be busy juggling countless tasks and duties like cooking meals, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, attending doctor appointments, and, of course, taking care of the baby. So, take steps to simplify or outsource these tasks as much as possible, and make sure you have a backup plan for emergencies.

6. Plan a Date Night With Your Partner

Pregnancy can have a big impact on a couple’s sex life. Whether you’re the one who’s expecting or supporting your partner, talking openly about how this change will affect your relationship can be helpful. You might find that you want to spend more time together, and you may be worried about having enough sex to make up for lost intimacy.

It’s a good idea to fit in as many doctor’s and dentist’s appointments as possible before your due date. This is especially important if you’re having a high-risk pregnancy, or if your health history includes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, thyroid disease, or heart problems.

Once your baby arrives, it’ll be a while before you can go out for a fun dinner and drinks with just your partner. Take advantage of this time by enjoying a romantic dinner or taking a long weekend away!

Another great date idea is to go to an outdoor movie theater. You’ll have a much more enjoyable experience without the claustrophobic feel of an indoor theatre. Also, this is a great time to see all the new releases before they’re no longer in theaters!

7. Take Care of Yourself

Parenthood is an incredible life change that can feel overwhelming. It’s important to take care of yourself during this time, whether that means meditating, journaling or taking a nap. These self-care practices can help you to relax and stay calm during the challenges and joys of parenting.

Prepping for a baby is also a great time to clean and stock your home with supplies. Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, wipes, medicine, and other household essentials to minimize trips to the store. Consider preparing and freezing meals so you have healthy options for those first weeks after your baby’s arrival.

It’s also a good idea to ask for and accept help. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during this time, so don’t be afraid to accept offers from family and friends. Whether they offer to mow the lawn, grocery shop or watch the baby so you can get some rest, these offers will help you sane during this crazy new phase in your life!