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No two families are alike. Some people start their families in their early twenties, while others wait much longer in order to be more financially stable. If you’re one of the last of your friends to have a baby, there’ll probably be a lot of people who are happy to greet you with copious amounts of unsolicited advice. You’re going to hear all the new and old parent controversies. At the end of the day, though, you have to do what’s right for you. Here is some much-needed family planning advice that isn’t fraught with opinions to get you through your first year of motherhood and beyond.

Let them throw you a shower.

If you’re not one to draw attention to yourself, you may be dreading having a baby shower. There are a lot of reasons you may be tempted to skip the whole thing. You may just want to avoid more unwanted parenting tips, or maybe you just don’t want to play the strange baby shower games that people plan for new parents. Whatever your reason may be, it’s understandable. That being said, you may want to grit your teeth and bear it for the afternoon, because baby showers can have some serious perks.

If this is your first baby, you’re going to need a lot of supplies. Even for second-time parents, it’s becoming more common to give gifts to support the needs of expecting moms and dads. People go crazy for babies, just like they do for weddings. If there are higher priced items you don’t think you can afford, you can put them on a registry and hopefully, a group of people will chip in to get you to want you to need. Your family members and friends just want to feel involved and have a celebration of you and your growing family.

Outside of functional items, you may be surprised by more thoughtful customized gifts that you receive at a baby shower, like personalized baby blankets, that you never would have bought for yourself. Let them be involved just for one day and pick a party planner who will plan a more low-key baby shower that’s more your speed.

Set yourself up for personal success in advance.

You’re going to be a busy mama, even during your maternity leave. There will be times when you have your hands full both figuratively and literally. Before your baby even arrives, it’s best to set yourself up for success, so you’ll be able to accomplish everything that comes your way.

Pumping bras are the biggest lifesavers when a new baby arrives if you’ve decided to breast-feed. Hands-free pumping gives you back a lot of time that you’d otherwise have to spend stationary and holding your pumps. Once you get the rundown from a lactation consultant about how best to feed your baby and have him or her latch, ask about tips for using your pumping bra during a pump session. With the right pump bra and breast pump, it will make being a working mom easier than you ever thought. Talk to your employer in advance to come up with a plan to give you the privacy you need to pump and work at the same time.

Buy your own car.

You and your partner may be very cognizant of your impact on the planet in terms of transportation. If you’ve been pretty much exclusively taking public transportation, that’s amazing! However, now as new parents, your needs are going to change considerably. Having access to a car will become very important with a little one. Sometimes it just won’t be possible or ideal to take public transit.

When you go to get your new car, you’ll need to partner with an insurance company in order to get the best car insurance for your needs and stay within budget. If you’re planning on still taking public transit most of the time, basic CTP insurance may be enough to make you feel covered. However, make sure you understand everything that CTP doesn’t cover, like property damage. Do your research and make the best decision for your new family.

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