The arrival of your first child is an exciting time — and a nerve-wracking one. Between setting up your home and mentally preparing yourself for the responsibility, there can be a lot to do before the baby enters the world. Taking a few key steps ahead of time will ensure you’re less stressed for the new challenges ahead. Try these tips to prepare your mind and home for your first child—you’ll thank yourself on those first sleepless nights.

Ready your support system

A support system is crucial during new parenthood. Get in touch ahead of time with the family, friends and neighbors who can help you manage your first few days and months of having a child. A support system can help with childcare, meals, cleaning, or just providing some friendly faces to visit and be a lifeline of adult friendship during this new period in your life.

Prep your home

Preparing your home for a brand-new baby is one of the most important tasks for first-time parents. Babyproof the home before your due date so you’re not scrambling after bringing the little one home: move anything that’s a choking hazard, cover electric sockets, cover sharp edges of furniture, and check your house for poisonous plants. Preparing a nursery ahead of time will ensure you have a comfortable spot ready for the baby once they arrive.

Test out your gear

You want to make sure all your new baby gadgets work before it’s time to use them. Test out your baby monitors, strollers, baby carriers, and any other new equipment to see if they work properly and comfortably. Fixing or replacing gear like this becomes more complicated when you’re caring for a newborn.

Get ready for parental leave

Prepare yourself to be on leave so you can focus on your newborn. Set up your leave time with your employer ahead of time. Wrap up work, set your out-of-office replies, and tell colleagues about your plans. Use this time to prep for later: Making freezer meals will save you time and energy after the baby is born.

Think about financial security

It’s never too early to start planning for long-term financial security for yourself and your family. The birth of your first child is the perfect time to consider getting life insurance. Life insurance can be a way to make sure your family will be financially protected if you pass away unexpectedly.

Sit back and enjoy the ride

The challenges of having a newborn are easily outweighed by the joys of bringing your child home for the first time. Go into it with your home fully set up, your mental state fully prepared, and your financial security on your mind. Then you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

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