Preparing for baby's arrival

Preparing for baby’s arrival

Some things to think about as you start preparing for baby’s arrival.

1. Get your baby’s car seat ready

Choose the right child car seat for your baby and car and ensure you know how to fit it correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Child car seats are divided into different categories, according to weight. Any child under 36kg and 150cm should be restrained in an appropriate child restraint. It is important to ensure that you have a properly fitted child restraint in your vehicle to suit your child’s weight and height. This prevents the child from being thrown about inside or ejected from the vehicle during an accident. It also absorbs some of the impact force. According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) an appropriate child restraint is one which: ° Bears an E mark (meaning that it meets United Nations Standard ECE Regulation 44 03 or 44 04); ° Is suitable for the child’s weight and height; ° Is suitable for the type of car; ° Is fitted correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is safer to fit the seat in the back seat of your car, but if necessary they can be fitted in the front. But, NEVER fit a rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is an active airbag on the passenger side of the car. Go to

Mum’s tip

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone you know wants to help in some way or another so don’t be afraid to ask for help. My grandmother kindly made me a pot of stew. It was great we had dinner and lunches sorted for two days!”

Hannah Boylan

2. Prepare your home

Ensure the house will be warm and clean when you get home. If you didn’t get a chance to dust and vacuum before you went into hospital, get your partner, a friend or family member to give the house a once-over, especially the areas you and your baby will be inhabiting. You will feel a lot better returning to a clean house and it will leave you time to spend with your baby and rest where possible.

3. Stock up on food supplies

If you get a burst of energy before you go into hospital, it is a great idea to make up some tasty nutritious dishes for the freezer. Casseroles, quiches, pasta sauces and soups are just some of the nutritious dishes that are great to have made up in advance.

4. Get all baby’s clothing, nappies, and equipment ready

Be sure and wash all baby clothes, bedding, towels and washcloths in non-biological liquid detergent before using. If you are unsure what to buy in advance, stick to a list of what you really need. Babies’ requirements are very simple, despite the sometimes dizzying array of ‘must-haves’ in the shops.

5. Home support

If you are a single parent or your partner is not able to be at home, try to arrange for family members or friends to come and help you out with practical chores such as shopping, cleaning and cooking. Online grocery shopping will help avoid tiring trips to busy supermarkets. Try to organise things so that your visitors don’t all arrive at once – ask them to call in advance and to make their own tea or coffee – and accept all offers of help. If you have had a C-section, you are likely to need a little extra assistance so that you can look after your baby.

And finally – don’t forget about YOU. Put those feet up and get as much rest as possible!

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.



Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….