I’m pregnant! What do I need to do next to prepare for my baby?

According to the #5BigQuestions survey results carried out by Ipsois Mori for the Royal Foundation, 68% of first-time parents prepared items for the baby, 41% prepared a place for the baby to sleep while 10% wanted to find out more about their child’s development. Planning the nursery is so exciting - it’s a little bit like playing dolls houses but on a life-sized house!!! Finding the right cot, the colours that you want, just the right curtains and decoration is so much fun. It can fill a very happy hour or two finding the right things and bringing it all together to create this lovely space to bring our baby home to. It helps give us something to do while we wait for the arrival of our baby. (Sometimes, nine months can seem an age can’t it!?!) It makes it all so much more real.

Then there are all those FABULOUS clothes that we can get; boy, there are some fab things out there! Why wouldn’t you want to spend time collecting all those tiny clothes? And those tiny, tiny socks…. SOOOOO delicious! I got a lot of second-hand clothes from my sister for my first baby and took so much delight in washing them all and hanging them on the line (even though they were already clean and really didn’t need to be washed). I enjoyed watching them blowing in the wind! But all this is a bit odd if you think about it; because those clothes that I enjoyed playing with only lasted my eldest 3 months. She was in her nursery for probably 2 years at the most, and the pram we chose went on through three children until the last one was about 3. But ultimately, all of the things that I had focused on (and apparently lots of us focus on according to that first statistic above) were all finished and done with by the time my youngest was 3 years old.

On the other hand, child development, something that that only 10% of us think about while we wait for the arrival of our first child, lasts at least 18 years! If we understood more about child development, we would more than likely feel much more confident in our parenting and what we were doing with our children at every stage!

When parents feel confident, they are happier. They interact more with their children and are more in tune with their baby’s needs which in turn helps the baby be happy and reach their full potential. So, does that mean we need to all rush off and do a degree in child development? No!

Just understanding how the tiny things you do each day are helping your baby develop will make all the difference to you and your baby. Having ideas of things to do that are appropriate to your baby’s age and stage also helps. However, knowing what to do to fill the day and knowing what is appropriate for your baby’s age and stage is hard! The days are really long and tiny babies don’t give much back, do they?!

When you’re pregnant, knowing that you can start helping your baby develop and learn from before they are even born helps you bond with your baby. The Oliiki app contains over 1000 simple age-appropriate activities for you to do with your bump, baby or toddler and starts from the first day of conception and goes right up until they are two years old. It shows you not only what to do, but also how that little activity is helping your baby’s development. So, you are learning more about your child’s development as you play!

When the activities you do are right for your baby’s needs, your baby responds and is delighted. This in turn gives you a boost and makes you feel fabulous, which makes you want to do the activities more with your baby. As one Oliiki mum told us,“after doing the tasks, the reaction of my little one was amazing. It keeps me busy and happy as well, it gives me like, sunshine the whole day! Like oh my God! She’s reacted like this and it’s something I can do over and over again. And I do, just to see how happy she is again!”

And when that mum does the activities again to get that wonderful response again from her baby, her baby has the chance to learn more and develop more and so will delight in the activity that is being shared! It’s magical really - both the baby and the parent win! The more we are in tune with our baby, the more we are able to meet their needs and the more confident we feel. The more confident we feel, the better the outcomes are for our baby! It’s so clever!

So, if you are expecting your first child, congratulations! It’s an incredibly exciting time. Have fun choosing those amazingly cute clothes and delight in planning and creating the nursery, but also remember to do something to learn more about your child’s development because that will help you be the brilliant parent you want to be and help your child reach their full potential. If you want a simple way to start learning through simple-to-do activities, feel free to download the Oliiki app and give the 7-free trial a go. You never know, you might understand more about your child’s development and you might even feel a little bit more confident in your role as a parent, just like this mum felt:“There were things. I was doing them, but I didn’t know that it was good for her. Understanding what she is getting out of the activities helps me feel I am doing something right!”

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