"Have a major clean-out and throw stuff out. You’re going to be bringing home another person who is going to have a lot of stuff. Also do a thorough house clean – I haven’t had the chance to wash the walls or anything like that since my daughter was born!" – Michelle Young, Greensborough, Vic

"Pack your bags from 20 weeks, just in case. In my first pregnancy I was admitted to hospital for monitoring at 20 weeks and my partner packed my bags for me – mostly with dirty clothes!" – Laura McCarthy, Tahmoor, NSW

"Put aside as much money as you can in savings – unexpected costs are coming. And don’t make any massive purchases on “interest-free” deals: you might decide to be a stay-at-home mum, and when those bills start coming in you’ll wonder if you really needed that big screen."

  • Caprice Burrows, Morley, WA

"I took a month off work before my bub arrived and I cannot tell you how glad I am I did! I did all ‘me’ things: read books, watched girlie DVDs, swam every morning and shopped. Once you have bub, there’s no more alone time!" – Jodie Oliver, Gosford, NSW

"Make sure your partner knows where everything baby-related is. Five weeks after Livvie arrived, I’m still giving my partner instructions on where to find clean singlets and where the nappies are kept." – Laura Knight, Cranbourne, Vic

"I read every book about pregnancy and birth, but it never occurred to me to read what life’s like with a baby!" – Marika Glover, Bullcreek, WA

"Look after any minor household renovations and repairs now. You won’t be able to spend an entire afternoon looking for the perfect light fitting when you have a young baby, and you won’t want hammering going on when bub is trying to sleep." – Melinda Watson, Fitzroy, Vic

"Cook up some casseroles and other meals that are easy to freeze and reheat, then split them into portions and put them in the freezer. They’ll be great when you’re totally sleep-deprived." – Melissa Leaver, Para Hills, SA

"Stock up on everything. You won’t believe how quickly you’ll go through nappies, snacks and household basics. There’s no such thing as a quick dash to the shops anymore." – Tania Rossi, Annandale, NSW

"If there’s anything you want to do – so long as it’s safe to do while you’re pregnant – do it! Spend as much time as you can as a couple, and sleep as much as you can." – Lisa Ward, Sydney, NSW

"Pop some cartons of long-life milk in the cupboard so you’ll never run out." – Claire Preece, Kingston, Tas

"Buy a slow cooker – it’s great! In the morning, you can throw in some vegies and meat; by night, it’s done! You can even have the leftovers for lunch the next day." – Nicole Blears, Strathpine, Qld

"Buy clothes for your new life as a mum. You’ll get vomited on a lot, so make sure you have plenty and that they can all be chucked in the washing machine and dryer. You want clothes that feel comfortable but also look good." – Karen Bartlett, Baulkham Hills, NSW

"Buy a nursing bra before the birth so you’re ready for breastfeeding. The last thing you want to do after bub is born is shop for a bra – and your partner can’t do it for you." – Jits Gysen, Newtown, NSW

"Buy 10 to 20 times more sanitary pads than you think you’ll need, nipple cream, and haemorrhoid cream. Buy more pegs – baby clothes need loads. And buy a dedicated change table: the bed seems fine at first but it’s too low and buggers your back." – Clare O’Donnell, Exeter, SA

"Make an appointment with the lactation consultant or call in a private one. Have the Australian Breastfeeding Association hotline number ready and make sure you call if you’re not happy with the way you’re being looked after, or if you’re being given conflicting advice." – Colleen van Deventer, Blackburn, Vic

"I had the works just before my due date – hair cut and colour, massage, mani, pedi, facial, leg wax… and I’m glad I did, as I’ve rarely had time to do these things since! When your baby arrives your priorities change, so treat yourself during your pregnancy." – Sita Simons, Coogee, NSW

"Go out to dinner, stay out later than 8pm, take a holiday as a couple, see a movie… we just don’t do these things anymore!" – Sandra Smith, Athelstone, SA