While most parents are naturally excited to meet their new family member, others find the idea of new responsibilities makes them a bit anxious.

One of the best ways to deal with what makes you worried is to be as prepared as possible. 

Emotional readiness relies on the ability to discuss your fears and plan ahead for the future. You might have money worries (see our advice on financial support), worries about your suitability to be a parent or even just generally scared about the responsibility of being a mum or dad for the first time.

One of the best ways to let go of some of the worries is to accept that you will not be a perfect parent - everyone makes mistakes. Even if you are adding to your family and already have experience of parenting, every child is different so will have different needs and challenges. Discuss your parenting values with the other people who will be involved in looking after your child(ren) and establish some common principles, to reduce conflict later on.

Having a new baby can put a strain on relationships, so it’s important to get some time to yourself for rest and recovery. Getting into competitions with your partner or spouse about who is more tired is tempting but will only lead to arguments. Making sure you each have some time to relax, in peace, will make you better parents in the long run as looking after babies and children can often be selfless, hard work. 

Babies don’t need much other than warmth, comfort and milk in the first six months. It’s helpful to have plenty of changes of clothes as babies can be quite messy, but clothes don’t have to be brand new. Social media selling sites and charity shops are good sources of clean, inexpensive clothes if you’re on a budget. In the first year, babies grow out of all their clothes every few weeks, which is another reason to consider preloved items.

A good place to sleep is also necessary. Babies need a firm surface to sleep on and whilst hand knitted or crocheted blankets are beautiful, many families find baby sleeping bags a good solution for worries about safe sleep