Getting Organised (or not?)

I read somewhere that I should do the bulk of my organising and purchasing in the second trimester, when I am least tired and most up to it. As the second trimester draws to a close, I’m not sure whether I am organised or not.

I don’t have a hospital organised. My apps are telling me to start drawing up a birth plan, but without knowing where I might want to give birth, I’m not sure how to draw up a birth plan. I’m not sure I actually *want* a birth plan, as I would like to be relaxed and open minded about how Pip chooses to come, but perhaps others who’ve done this before might weigh in.

We don’t have a flat to live in. As of 5 weeks time, we are officially/techinically homeless. And, as soon as we become homeless, I technically don’t have a GP or a midwife either. (of course, none of our families will let us actually be homeless. I just mean we’ve given notice on our cottage and haven’t agreed to or signed a lease on a new property in London).

And yet, and yet, I have organised some things. Baby clothes – Pip has been given three bags of clothes from various friends and will never be lacking in little suits or knitted cardigans. Or, he won’t until he grows out of 0-3 months size. We might struggle then. We have a moses basket. A pram. A steriliser. 2 bottles. A little striped hat. And a teeny tiny elephant with a very chewable trunk. [We still need sheets and muslins. And a changing mat and some nappies]. Do we need a sling straightaway, or can we wait?

A date for the baby shower has been agreed on and save the dates sent out. (No address though).

I haven’t registered for any ante-natal classes. We are still undecided on NCT. I am just not sure I am willing to pay £280 to essentially meet some people. (although, if I do, you may seem some advertising appear here. no other way to pay for it). The baby first aid course still needs to be booked. 

The thing is, until Pip comes, how will we truly know what we need. When Delilah arrived we bought her a basket which she has refused to set paw in and two mouse toys which she only occasionally plays with. What if Pip is like that, only on  a larger scale. If he refuses to sleep in his basket, we have no cot. If he won’t breastfeed, I haven’t got a pump, only 2 bottles that came free from Boots.

More and more, being pregnant reminds me of being engaged. There appears to be no limit to the guilt you can be made to feel and the expenses that you can be made to feel are essential. My only aim was to limit the amount of new things we have to get for Pip. To date, I have bought new the pram, a microwaveable steriliser and a baby bath. I think the sheets and muslins will have to be new when (if?) I get around to sorting them out.

Any advice? Anything I’ve missed?



  1. can I say don’t worry, it’ll all be fine and make any difference??

    you’re right that there is no limit to how much you can be persuaded to spend or how guilty you can be made to feel about not having this or that piece of apparently essential kit and you’re also right to try and ignore it all.
    We bought most stuff off amazon and ebay (partly because I left it way too late and was too huge to move!) We were also given or offered tons of stuff (One of the only things we bought new was an ikea cot and although it wasn’t pricey we could have saved that money as about five people offered us theirs soon after – typical!)
    What I also did was save stuff that I was not sure if we’d need on an Amazon wishlist so when/if we desided we did need it it could be bought with one click – handy when time to go shopping gets scares. (Also if people ask you what they can get you as a gift you can point them there.)
    Really at the start you need so little – a car seat (hospitals don’t let you leave without one) and a changing mat could be added to your list, but IMO a special (expensive) changing table is pointless. Slings are great – but not needed straight away. As for a pump, it’s hard to know if you will need it or not but if you do it’s worth getting an electric one (ebay?). Someone must use the Tommy Tipee hand pump with success but it was agreed within our NCT group that it is only an instrament of abuse and torture.

  2. Speaking of NCT – so so worth it. Book as soon as you can to get the group you want but go as late in our pregnancy as you dare. I thought the same as you, is there really any point in paying just to meet people? It is, because, not only are the classes great but having people you can talk to who are at exactly the same stage as you is a life saver. In our group, everyone had little difficulties with this or that and we share all the good advice we were given or just sympathise – usually via group emails sent at 4am. Especially if you are moving somewhere new – it’s important to get out of the house to meet people for coffees or walks, for your own sanity and also to indulge in going over the tiniest details of your Pip’s development with girls who are genuinely interested. Even my old friends who had babies just a few months older couldn’t give the same support. (Once they’re through that stage, all you tend to get is variations on “you’ll be fine” – see top of this ridiculously long comment ;-) !)

  3. Marie-Eve · · Reply

    Birth plan: I never made one. I just decided to go with the flow.

    Prenatal courses: never took them either. And I think we’ve done well. :)

    Sling/carrier: yes, you probably want one right away…

    Additional bottles can probably wait.

    A hospital could probably lend or rent you a big industrial pump if you need one, but it’s probably a good idea to have a small portable one on hand. The only good brand is Medela. Mine was manual: I only used it a little, like when the kid fell asleep after having only side.

    Clothes: it’s probably best to have some 3-6 months before. You never know, he might need it within a few weeks. But at the same time, you’ll be in London. It’s not like if he needs new clothes faster than you think, you won’t be able to go out and just get some.

    Good luck with the flat/hospital/midwife. x

  4. Just here to give you a huge hug.

  5. October12 · · Reply

    I’ll second that you’ll want a sling or carrier pretty much right away. My Moby wrap is indispendsable.

    We kept our stuff to a minimum (relatively speaking, I’m sure) because we live in one big room. We didn’t want baby things to overrun our living space, and we seem to have accomplished that so far.

    Can’t speak to the NCT group, but we did take a birthing class. We found it helpful, especially my husband. It really helped him understand what was coming and how he could help. It was a chunk of money, to be sure, but well worth it in our case.

    I didn’t have anything ready until about a month before my EDD. It felt too soon before that point.

    And I wouldn’t worry about whether or not the baby will sleep in the basket. Our son sleeps in a glorified cardboard box (a Cosleeper that we built) that’s attached to my side of the bed. He doesn’t seem to mind.

  6. Our baby is only three weeks old, but I can tell you what we can’t live without:

    muslins (lots) for mopping up/catching vomit
    bibs (lots)
    vests (lots)
    baby bouncer/rocker chair
    changing mat
    woolen blankets/shawls

    Things we bought and haven’t used:
    baby monitors – felt that I should buy this when I was pregnant but the reality is Elsie sleeps in our bedroom at night or in our living room during the day. Our house is tiny so I am never more than one room away from her, if I am away from her when she’s sleeping.

    breast pump – I’m breastfeeding but plan on expressing so my partner can feed Elsie occasionally, or so I can go out once in a while without baby. Advice is however that you don’t start expressing til baby is at least four weeks old and breastfeeding is well established. Don’t think I’ll be expressing at four weeks – maybe six weeks – as we still have a few hiccups now and again. So you don’t need one straight away.

    I also bought a lot of 0-3 month clothing, but friends and family bought us so much 0-3 month clothing as gifts when she was born that I wish I hadn’t bothered. Instead 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothing would have been a better buy for me.

    We didn’t buy a changing unit (a mat on the floor or the bed works just fine).

    We’ve got a sling but haven’t used it yet. Bear in mind we don’t have a car so I think it will be useful for me when we get the bus into town, but if you have a car, a carseat and a buggy then you probably don’t need a sling.

    Am pretty sure your baby will sleep in the basket. Elsie sleeps anywhere and everywhere. Even on me in the most awkward positions (she puts herself in those positions!).

    I had a very loose birth plan which is just as well as I was induced and so didn’t get the water birth I had in mind. Thing is you don’t know exactly how labour will go and what will happen so it’s best to have an open mind and just go with the flow. You also don’t know how you’re going to feel. I wasn’t sure if I wanted music, or my partner to massage me or anything. When it came to it, it turns out I just wanted complete silence and not to be touched! You only need to have fixed ideas on if you want the baby delivered on to your tummy, and if you want the injection to help deliver the placenta, and if you want baby to have the vitamin K injection.

    I didn’t bother with NCT – met some lovely people through the NHS antenatal classes, and after birth the midwife visits you at home for 10 days, and then the health visitor takes over, who is very useful, so I’ve found I don’t need the support of the NCT. The health visitor runs a weekly drop-in baby clinic and you can phone her any weekday if you have any concerns about the baby. I’ve used her services a couple of times already!

    1. So good to hear your essentials.

      Im glad ive stocked up on muslins and vests and have a couple of blankets too. We’re picking up the baby bouncer tomorrow as the last thing we think we need so glad to hear its useful! Might need some other bibs although we do have a few of the bandana kind already.

  7. Im just a week and a bit away from my due date and I havent written my birth plan or actually packed my hospital bag, although I do think ive got everything to put in it; must get it packed!

    As for the birth plan I dont want to be too definite either, except about the placenta / vitamin K injections etc and about the fact I dont want diamorphine. Otherwise im kind of happy to go with the flow, might try the pool in our new birthing centre (at our hospital) or if i think the pain is too much im heading straight for the labour ward for pain relief.

    As for things, we have just bought what we felt we wanted to and im sure we have bought too much but isnt that was every first time parent does?

    We got our plain moses basket & cot sheets and also muslins and baby towels in John Lewis although I did also get some aden + anais muslins from amazon and they are so so soft so im glad I did.

    We do have a baby monitor but only because the one we wanted was on sale in mothercare and we had vouchers to use and did see anything else.

    I do have a pump but its just a manual one and I only got it cause it was £7.50 in morrisons! Im hoping to pop into Asda this weekend as they have their baby & child promotions on so that would be a good bet for nappies; the ones we have so far came from mothercare’s 3 for 2 promotion.

    We dont have a carrier / sling yet but do intend to get one, again from amazon as its the cheapest place to get the one we want.

    Sorry for the long comment, hopefully ill be better to advise after ive had the baby!

    p.s we did go to the NCT classes (they are so so much cheaper (£126) up here) and we did find them really useful and im sure the baby will sleep in a basket too, every single person I know who has a baby all used moses baskets at first.

  8. Oh and also we didnt buy a changing unit either, weve just put the changing mat on top of our chest of drawers where it can stay or it can be moved to wherever its needed, ie floor, bed, top of shelving unit etc. I just wanted to have a surface to put it on in case I cant get on the floor of bend down at the start!

  9. Thank you all for comments. Very helpful and I’m reassured that we’ve still got lots of time. x

  10. It’s hard to answer these questions, since one parent’s must-have is another parent’s never-took-it-out-of-the box. But from my own experience…

    For me, the breast pump is freedom. Freedom to sleep a little longer – N has given both of our babies one bottle of expressed milk a night from when they were a week old so that I could get one longer stretch of sleep each night – freedom to run an errand without panicking that Pip might be screaming for milk. You are also much less likely to give formula sooner than you might want to if you can express milk. The early weeks of breastfeeding can be really difficult and a pump can be really useful for relieving engorgement (just pump off a tiny bit to soften the nipple. not so much that you stimulate the breast to supply more milk) and for that reassurance that you have another option if you have trouble getting Pip to latch and just want to get some milk into him to settle him down until you can get some help. So for me a pump is an absolute essential that you should beg, borrow or steal for your own sanity, and I second the Medela recommendation. But like I said, this can only ever be based on my experience. Some people hate/never use pumps.

    I never made a birth plan either. I mean, I had a general plan to try to manage with as little drugs or intervention as I could, but take anything I needed if/when I needed it, but nothing written down. (Although you could say that when a midwife walks into a homebirth in Brighton, the general birth plan is pretty obvious!)

    I would recommend getting a sling from the start if you can (perhaps you can borrow one from someone, or look into organisations in London that you can borrow them from to see which style you like). I know lots of mothers regret leaving things to sort out after the baby comes, when they look back and realise just how much free time they had beforehand!

    Having said all of that, don’t worry about not having enough stuff. If you realise you do want something, pretty much anything, you can get hold of it in a matter of hours in London. Remind yourself of that if you feel a bit stressed!

    1. Thanks Cate, so useful as ever. I miss your blog, and your writing.

      Am waiting to see if sister in law has finished with her electric breast pump.

      I will also be getting a sling as soon as we are back in London and can try them on. X

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