What do I need to prepare for baby’s arrival? Here’s your pre-baby checklist

Zariah Kale
Zariah Kale
Zariah is a writer, history nerd, amateur chef and mum of three. When she is not negotiating screen time with one of her two tweens, or falling asleep during movies, you'll find her scouring vintage shops for one-of-a-kind pieces or apologising to friends for the "late reply" over text.
Updated on Jan 20, 2024 · 6 mins read

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It can be pretty overwhelming for parents to start preparing for a baby’s arrival. Do you start babyproofing now, or is it okay if all you want to do at the moment is go crazy in the clothes department? After all, those tiny onesies are just sooooo adorable! And the shoes! Oh.My.God!

But wait, while buying every baby product just because “it looked cute” is totally justified, (how can you resist the cuteness of those tiny mittens?) it would be wise to do these 3 things before you dish out a fortune in the clothes section.

  1. Make a list of items you need to buy.
  2. Make a list of things you need to do.
  3. Allocate a budget.

Do you really need to have a baby prep kit? Well, I’ve prepped for three babies, and so I tell you this from experience: Yes! You can’t skip the list.

You need a list that defines the number of items you need and the things you need to do It doesn’t matter whether you plan on doing a nursery or simply dedicating a corner in your bedroom, the list is important!

Here’s why:

Even though babies are tiny, they take up a lot of space. You’ll need everyday essentials like nappies, bottles, and clothes, as well as nebulisers, steamers, and gadgets like baby monitors, strollers/car seats, etc. If you don’t have them listed, you are more likely to miss out on a few items.

Some are more expensive than others, and you can decide how much you want to invest in them based on your lifestyle. Families who travel often prefer investing in sturdy travel prams, while those who don’t prefer to go for the less expensive options.

Your first list will include everything you can think of. Yes, you can add that wet wipe warmer too.

Once you have everything done, you and your partner can scroll through the list to find products that you both agree on and allocate a budget to the list. (The wipe warmer will then take a back seat.)

Here’s a simple baby pre-kit of the things you need to do and buy before your newborn arrives:

What do I need to prepare for the baby’s arrival?

Bringing a new baby into your life is an exciting and transformative experience. As the due date approaches, it’s important to prepare to ensure a smooth transition for both you and your little one. From setting up the nursery to organising supplies, there are several key aspects to consider.

So here’s a comprehensive checklist of essential tasks to help you get started on your to-do and to-buy lists:

Nursery and baby supplies

First off, everything the baby needs to sleep, poop, and just be is in the nursery, which is why creating a cosy and functional nursery is essential. You and your baby will be spending a lot of time here so comfort should be at the top of your list. You can start by selecting a crib or bassinet, a changing table, and a dresser or storage unit for baby essentials.

If you plan to have the baby sleep in your room, avoid co-sleeping in the same bed. Sleeping in the same bed, soft bedding, and even extra pillows or stuff toys increase the chances of SIDS.

Consider adding a rocking chair or glider for those precious bonding moments and to help rock your baby to sleep.

Also, invest in a reliable baby monitor for peace of mind. Pro tip: Invest in organisers and make sure everything has a place.

Other supplies and essential items that you will need include nappies, (newborn sizes) clothing, bedding, bathing supplies, and feeding equipment such as bottles and pacifiers.

Baby gear

A good idea is to keep all your baby gear ready to go by the time your baby comes, so you don’t have to worry about last-minute purchases.

Gear like car seats, strollers, and cots should be bought beforehand so you are free from the hassle. Make sure you read all the instructions before assembling.

It is important to remember that hospitals won’t let you leave the hospital with an infant if you don’t have a car seat installed.

Food preparation

Whether you plan to breastfeed or formula-feed, it’s essential to be prepared. If you choose to breastfeed, consider purchasing a breast pump and storage bags. For formula feeding, ensure you have an adequate supply of formula and sterilised bottles.

When the baby comes, you won’t have time – or the energy to cook for yourself. So, it’s a great idea to prepare and freeze meals in advance. Making milk lactation bars or granola for quick snacks can be a game-changer during the postpartum period.

Also, don’t forget to restock your pantry with non-perishable items for convenience.


Consult with your healthcare provider about any necessary medications for you or your baby.

Take note of prescribed medications, prenatal vitamins, and over-the-counter remedies for infants. It’s crucial to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet for any unexpected health issues that may arise.

Other to-dos

Aside from the nursery and supplies, there are several other tasks to tackle. Make a checklist of essential to-dos, such as scheduling paediatrician appointments, completing paperwork for insurance and maternity leave, and installing a car seat correctly.

Take the time to babyproof your home, securing cabinets, covering electrical outlets, and removing potential hazards. (Although you can do this once the baby starts to crawl)

However, since you definitely have a lot more time on your hands right now, it is best to get this out of the way. Don’t forget about necessary home repairs or maintenance that should be addressed before the baby arrives.

Taking care of pets

If you have furry family members, it’s so important to prepare them for the new arrival. Make arrangements for pet care during labour and delivery, and gradually introduce them to the idea of a baby.

You can hire a dog walker for the first few months or have a friend take on doggy duty while you recover. Research strategies for a smooth and safe introduction, ensuring a harmonious transition for everyone.

When should I start preparing for my baby’s  arrival?

Really, as soon as you like but it is recommended to start preparing for your baby’s arrival during the second trimester of pregnancy. This timeframe provides ample time to plan, organise, and gather necessary items without feeling overwhelmed.

It’s always great to have a head start, and beginning preparations early will ensure that everything is in place before your baby arrives, including setting up the nursery, completing paperwork, scheduling appointments, and making any necessary home adjustments.

Don’t put off everything for your third trimester because, for many people, it is a roller coaster. Since you’re carrying more weight, you get tired more easily, and it’s better to relax at that point.

Starting early allows you to tackle tasks gradually and reduces stress as your due date approaches. So as soon as the first-trimester sickness wears off and you start feeling slightly better, a good idea would be to get your baby registry in order.

Aim to wrap up major tasks by the beginning of the third trimester, leaving yourself with time to enjoy the calm before the baby arrives.

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