So you're having a baby. Congratulations!
You are about to embark on one of life's most satisfying - and nerve-wracking - adventures.
The arrival of that little bundle in your home will change your life in ways you can't even imagine.
And one of the keys to survival is preparation.
According to the Australian Parenting website (raisingchildren.net.au), getting your home ready can be a good way to help you, your partner and your other children prepare for your new baby's arrival.
Here are some handy ideas to get you started.
If you haven't the time or space to organise the nursery before the baby arrives, they will be just fine in a cot in the corner of your bedroom.
In fact, according to the experts, you can reduce the risk of sudden infant death by letting your baby sleep in the same room as you for the first six to 12 months.
A change table is often on the shopping list, but you don't always need one; in fact, it's safer to change baby using a mat on the floor.
If you are changing baby on a bed or change table, keep your hands on them at all times so they can't roll off.
As far as bathing is concerned, once again you don't need a special bath.
You can bathe a newborn in the kitchen sink or laundry tub, so long as it's safe and clean.
When it comes to feeding, it's a matter of choosing somewhere where you can relax and hold your baby comfortably.
Essential equipment includes:
- An approved rear-facing child car seat that meets Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754. It's a good idea to have the restraint professionally fitted before your baby's arrival.
- An Australian Standards-approved cot with a firm, well-fitting mattress and sheets. The standard for cots is AS/NZS 2172. Going straight to a full-size cot from the start can be a cost-effective option.
- Even if you plan to use reusable nappies, it's a good idea to have a few disposables on hand just in case.
- If you're bottle-feeding, you'll need bottles, teats and bottle-washing items, and if you're breastfeeding, you might want to think about a breast pump if you plan to express milk.
Simple ways to save money
When planning for a baby, you can save money by buying or accepting second-hand or pre-loved toys, clothes, and furniture like dressers.
You can find these items in many places, including websites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace; trading papers; parents' groups; community advertisements and garage sales; local markets; and second-hand shops.
Other ways to save include buying only what you really need. Some new baby products are based on gimmicks. It's a good idea to talk to other parents about what they've found useful.
You can look out for sales and special offers on items like nappies and wipes and stock up when they're cheap (taking care to check use-by dates).
Many public libraries lend toys and books, but borrowed toys should still comply with Australian Standards.