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Things to do before baby arrives (and trying to plan for afterwards!)

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Things to do before baby arrives (and trying to plan for afterwards!)

edited 22 June at 11:05AM in MoneySaving Mums
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ST1991ST1991 Forumite
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edited 22 June at 11:05AM in MoneySaving Mums
Hi all :) Hopefully in the right forum subsection?

Baby no.1 is arriving at the beginning of December, and i'm trying to plan as much as possible now!
There are a few months between now and then, and a few things i need to take care of too. There are lot's of things in my house i had planned to do (new kitchen, new bathroom) which will now take a back-burner for a few years.There are some things that need to be done in the meantime (such as a new boiler, and a new/secure front door).

House bits aside, I've tried to list everything else below. As i will be a first time mum, it would be great if anyone could offer any additional advice or re-arrange my priorities? :)

My Plan in the next few months!
1 - Pay off my debts! I've switched my credit card to a 0% one and plan to pay it off in the next few months instead of making minimum payments.
2 - Sort out bills, reduce them where possible, and just tidy them up into Direct Debits so i don't forget anything
3 - Set up a joint account with partner for bills, so we can both pay across our income from work/maternity there and bills will come out without having to move/rearrange monies
4 - Come up with a budget, to see how much we will have incoming/outgoing whilst on maternity leave, AND how much we need to save now to make up the shortfall each month
5 - Decorate the Nursery and buy all the furniture needed in advance so it is not a cost incurred closer to the time.
6 - Try to stock up on as much as needed now (after point 1) when we will have some disposable income. I'm thinking Aldi nappies, wipes, basics etc. I'm planning to breastfeed (because i think it will be easier for night feeds and cheaper in the long rung. If that isn't successful i will tackle it when baby is here)

Plan for when Baby arrives
1 - Try to stay sane and adapt... and enjoy it!
2 - I have the option to work from home, so i would like to do that if possible instead of taking 'full' maternity leave. I would be able to work reduced hours (as obviously i imagine caring for a baby will take up most of my time) but i'm unsure at what point returning to work would be most suitable. I don't want to miss out on bringing up baby, but i also don't want to just scrape by. As my partner works full time and we own our house (mortgaged) i'm aware there isn't much help for our situation - so returning to work earlier would be in our best interests overall.

Have i missed anything? Probably.
Do i know what i'm doing? Absolutely not.
Hotel? Triv... you get the point :)

Any input or help/advice/golden rules etc from anyone else as a first time mum would be greatly appreciated... as honestly i really have no idea what i'm doing, but trying to plan best now!
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Replies

  • PetriixPetriix Forumite
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    All sounds pretty sensible. The only thing I would question is the desire to work when you have a tiny baby. I would suggest that you make full use of the time you have available and only consider a gentle return to a few hours of working from home after 6 months and not to consider full time until a year.

    It's easy to over extend yourself trying to get back to normal; and you can just about get by for a few months. But that's when the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation and the physical demands of providing a human with all its nutrition start to mount up.

    When you do your budget, see how much you can reduce the need for you to be earning anything at all (above your maternity pay and child benefit) in the first year. Then you can plan around what works best for you and the baby rather than feeling forced to work because of the financial pressure.

    Obviously you might really enjoy your work and having some time away from the parental responsibility might really help you. A lot depends on whether you have someone (like a grandma) who can look after the baby without too much cost or worry.
  • ST1991ST1991 Forumite
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    Thanks for the reply :)

    Yes - the getting back to work thing seems important for me now, but i'm sure that may change.
    In my head i would like to have a general idea or aim to return to work within a few months, gradually - although i don't want to push myself to a breaking point.

    In an ideal world i would love not to have to return to work for a long time, but our income just doesn't allow that. I want what is best for baby, but also what is best for us in the long term. The idea of potentially getting into debt over basic household needs terrifies me. I guess that is where i will need some balance between working and being a mum.
    It would definitely be part time or reduced hours to begin with in any case - as working full time hours would be impossible without splitting the hours throughout the entire day.

    Help with childcare is unfortunately a no - as i have no family living close, and my partners family live in another country. I think that might be the biggest thing we will struggle with, not having that help from family.

    Aside from all that - my brain seems to function well when it has a goal to work towards! Hopefully everything else in my plan is achievable and sensible to reduce stress once baby is here :) 
  • PetriixPetriix Forumite
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    My only other advice is that you can save lots by buying things second hand where possible. Cots, prams, slings, monitors etc are readily available on gumtree and ebay for a fraction of the new price. Aldi nappies are so much cheaper than the brands.
  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    Dont stock up on nappies/wipes as you may not get on with them and then you will have loads you cant use.

    Maybe just get a few weeks worth.
  • kiwi77kiwi77 Forumite
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    Congratulations on your soon to be arrival! This is all relatively recent to me - well, it feels recent, he's about to start school. Everything you have listed seems sensible - a few tips to consider though - make no commitments to go back to work ... you just don't know how its all going to go (if your baby is a sleeper then you'll be fine though!) - I breastfed for 2 years after thinking it'd be a miracle to get to 6 months - great economically and for ease but exhausting .... feeding every 1 - 1 1/2 through the night ... your brain can't function to work on so little sleep so have no expectations of yourself on that front. 
    I absolutely second getting all secondhand stuff - its so so much cheaper and stuff for infants in superb condition is easy to come by ... the best thing we bought was a 'Next to me Cot' which attached to the bed making nighttime feeds alot easier. Following on from this everything we bought we swiftly sold on as well so overall it did not cost us a lot. Baby honestly doesn't know that its secondhand stuff :)
    I had the full year off then back full time - no help available so we had to pay very expensive nursery fees .... next month is our final invoice and we've spent around £38k for a full time nursery place overall. It's an eye watering amount of money but worth it to keep a full time salary coming in, full time pension contributions and superb reliable care. 
    Oh and don't stock up on nappies etc now ... you don't know what size they are going to come out or how quickly they will grow! Instead, put a little money aside each month so that you can buy what you need at the time you need it.
    The very best to you for the journey ahead!
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    ST1991 said:
    My Plan in the next few months!
    5 - Decorate the Nursery and buy all the furniture needed in advance so it is not a cost incurred closer to the time.
    6 - Try to stock up on as much as needed now (after point 1) when we will have some disposable income. I'm thinking Aldi nappies, wipes, basics etc. I'm planning to breastfeed (because i think it will be easier for night feeds and cheaper in the long rung. If that isn't successful i will tackle it when baby is here)

    Plan for when Baby arrives
    1 - Try to stay sane and adapt... and enjoy it!
    2 - I have the option to work from home, so i would like to do that if possible instead of taking 'full' maternity leave. I would be able to work reduced hours (as obviously i imagine caring for a baby will take up most of my time) but i'm unsure at what point returning to work would be most suitable.
    Just a couple of points. 
    Next few months:
    5 - the Nursery. Try to plan ahead with this, DON'T do something so cutesy that it won't work for a lively toddler. Yes, having a mobile above the cot is lovely, but it will probably only be there for a matter of months not years. Furniture, again, don't just think about what you need for a baby, get stuff that will still 'work' later. And yes, secondhand is fine, baby won't know or care, just get a new cot mattress. And, even if you think you know whether you're having a boy or a girl, surprises happen and neutral may be wise. 
    6 - Someone else has already picked up on not overstocking nappies, but wipes - we used cotton wool and water at home, and don't be tempted by a top and tail bowl ... and I like your plan of tackling an inability to breastfeed IF it arises. Worth touching base with La Leche League or an NCT breastfeeding counsellor in advance, because they can be a huge support if you're struggling and have actual live experience - your midwife may be supportive but inexperienced, and may lack time. 

    When baby arrives
    1 - excellent plan
    2 - when you discuss your return to work plans with your company, please make them aware of who will be looking after your baby if there are any fixed hours involved - not that it's anything to do with them, and it's a bit different if it's a 'just get the work done' setup. But I have known people suggest that they can work from home WITHOUT any childcare in place, doing set hours, and then they've been surprised when the employer has said 'no' to their suggestions. I believe you have to give 8 weeks notice of your intention to return, or of any change in your planned date of return - they might be able to accept less than that, but you can't guarantee that. So just give thought to how you professionally present your plans, and how they'll work for the company. Again, I knew someone who suggested they could start and finish 2 hours early on their return, when part of their job involved reception for an office which was open 9 am to 5 pm - it just didn't work. 

    Still knitting!
    Completed: TWO adult cardigans, 3 baby jumpers, 3 shawls, 1 sweat band, 3 pairs baby bootees, 2 sets of handwarmers, 1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 3 balaclavas, multiple hats and poppies, 3 peony flowers, 4 butterflies ...
    Current projects: pink balaclava (for myself), seaman's hat, about to start another cardigan!
  • ST1991ST1991 Forumite
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    Thanks so much everyone for your comments!
    They are not only really helpful, but also very reassurring to know my 'pre-baby' plan seems sensible :)

    Not stock-piling nappies/wipes etc - good thinking! I was trying to save myself multiple trips to the shops, and thinking of the potential baby events that will be inevitable between now and December... but all being well, we can always buy later. I'm still thinking to get a few packs of the smaller sizes (size 0 and 1 i think?) so there is something around regardless. I plan to buy from Aldi as i've seen their nappies aren't just cheaper, but seem to be of an equal quality to more expensive ones too :)

    Preparing Nursery - I will be completely honest with you, i have already bought some items...!!! o:) But, i don't feel bad as i don't honestly think i could have saved much by going second hand. Babies room is not huge, so finding secnod hand furniture which is small enough to fit would be tricky.
    I've bought 2 chest of drawers from Ikea (plain pine RAST - which were £25 each) that are small, and can be painted colourfully in the future for a toddler. Those are too short to put a changing table ontop, but i thought they would be great in the long-term as grown up baby will eventually be able to use them easily, and they are a good durable wood, cheap, paintable etc. they also fit perfectly in a very shallow alcove i have in that room, for which nothing else would 'fit' :)
    I've also bought the sniglar changing table from ikea which was £25, much cheaper than anywhere else i've seen... even second hand! I plan to buy the cot from the same range (sniglar), in the smaller 120cm size so it can be used in my bedroom for the first 6 months if needed, which i think is actually less than £50. And then of course a mattress. I say 'as needed' as my mum is keen to gift us the first bassinet, which i assume would be either a moses basket or a foldable bed-side crib.
    I am far from a snob that wants 'all new' for no reason - but the baby's room will be decorated quite neutrally and considering how cheap it was to buy a few items of furniture new in the exact colour i wanted, it seemed reasonable :) (and exciting!!!)

    Regarding returning to work, you are all so right. I will take it in my stride and see what happens :) We will try to budget for me to NOT return to work, and then if i want to/am able to it will be a bonus!
  • sjg666sjg666 Forumite
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    For the very first nappies I’d recommend Lidl over Aldi simply because they have a little dip in the front to accommodate the belly button stump/clip. 

    As someone said above with wipes you can just use water and cotton wool (the large oval cosmetic wool pads are great for this and if you get a little spray bottle for the water it’s even easier). That said personally I stocked up on LOADS of Water Wipes using deals on Amazon. 

    The best things we bought were the Next2Me crib, perfect prep machine (I had intended to breastfeed but we had some complications which made it very difficult and only managed 2-3 weeks) and I bought an electric nail file from amazon which looks a bit scary but it’s SO soft and gentle that you don’t have to worry about clipping a wriggly baby’s finger (and those first nails were quite stubborn!).
  • Coveredinbees!!!!Coveredinbees!!!! Forumite
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    Get some bepanthen just in case. Our youngest had terrible nappy rash and sudocrem just made it worse but switching to bepanthem cleared it up in no time.
    :o
  • bathgirl13bathgirl13 Forumite
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    Not sure if anyone else has mentioned about child benefit. You can apply once baby is here and it starts pretty quickly. You are also entitled to help with childcare - for every £8 you pay, the government pays £2. You can go onto gov.uk and check what you could get based on hours worked and expected childcare costs but you can’t apply until 30 days before your maternity leave ends. 
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