Becoming a parent is one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever have, filling your world with happiness and joy. But it can also be one of the most terrifying, with the mummy or daddy title coming with a whole load of new responsibilities.
Fear not. Protecting your little one is one of the instincts that kicks in when you become a parent and, although there may be some trial and error along the way, this will help you do the right thing by junior.
There's also plenty of advice and support available when you're getting to grips with your new responsibilities. As well as friends and family, your health visitor and GP will be on hand to help with any health issues you might have. They'll also ensure you're signed up for all the necessary checks and vaccinations that will keep your tiny tot healthy as he or she grows.
The internet can also be a great source of information. Sites such as Netmums (netmums.com), Parent Dish (parentdish.co.uk) and Babycentre (babycentre.co.uk) are packed with ideas and advice on parenting.
These websites also have handy forums where you can discuss everything from the right car seat to when to wean your baby with other parents.
As well as all the practical elements of bringing up a baby, being a parent brings new financial responsibilities too. While your immediate thoughts might be on finding the cash to pay for all the feeding equipment, the travel system and the mountain of nappies, it's sensible to think further ahead too.
Over the course of their first 21 years, it costs just shy of £230,000 to bring up a child, according to research by the insurer LV=. While many of us might like to pass these costs on, in reality few of us would really expect someone else to foot the bill for our son or daughter if we weren't around.
Peace of mind
Taking out life assurance ensures that, if you die prematurely, there'll be a pot of money available to meet these costs. It's easy to take out cover, especially as, chances are, you're young and healthy. And it's affordable. A 30-year-old male taking out £250,000 of level cover for 20 years would pay around £10 a month - about the same price as a new romper suit they'll grow out of in weeks.
Costs can be even cheaper if you opt for family income benefit. As the name suggests, rather than paying a lump sum, this provides an income for the remainder of the term. This can make it much more suitable for covering the costs of bringing up a child.
Protecting their lifestyle
Having a little one may also make you want to consider other protection products. These can give you the reassurance that, whatever happens, you'll be able to afford to bring them up the way you want.
Income protection may be worth considering. This pays a replacement income if you're unable to work long-term due to illness or injury.
You could also go for critical illness insurance, which provides a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious health condition such as cancer or a stroke.
But whatever protection you plump for, now you've got a little one, make sure you sort out your will. As well as dealing with your finances, you can use a will to appoint legal guardians for your son or daughter if they're orphaned before they reach age 18. Hopefully they'll never need to step in, but a little forward planning can save an awful lot of hassle if the worst does happen.