Congratulations, mama! If you are reading this, you must be expecting (or know someone who is). It’s an exciting time in life, but can also be stressful if you don’t feel prepared.
For some, pregnancy seems to drag on with no end in sight, but before you know it, that little bundle of joy will be in your arms. So, while you’re anxiously waiting, take advantage of that time to prepare for the changes ahead!
Whether this child is your first or your fifth, these simple ideas will make life less complicated after labor and delivery! (I excluded packing the hospital bag as that will be a different, fun post!)
If you’ve created a comfy nursery with a previous child, skip! Hooray, one less thing to worry about!
For first-time moms, aim to finish the nursery before your 30 week mark. If you are awaiting a baby shower, finish the larger items in the nursery such as: crib, rocker, changing table, closet organization, etc. You can add the baby shower items later. I remember finishing my nursery around the 30 week mark, and I was relieved! I was exhausted toward the end, so I was happy prepping a nursery wasn’t on my to-do list at that point.
Never forget: basics are key, the rest will come. No worries if every detail isn’t covered! It will come in bits and pieces down the road.
Any items that require batteries or assembly (the monitor, Owlet, etc), set up beforehand and have them fully charged. Six key items for the nursery to have on hand before the baby comes:
- Diapers and Wipes: You will need these from day 1, and Costco wipes are great to start out with because there are 900 per box. Score!
- Coconut Oil: from tiny nail scratches, to baby “lotion”, diaper and nipple cream – coconut oil is a must-have!
- Zip-up PJ’s or nightgowns: These are great for middle of the night diaper changes. I prefer the zip-up PJ’s because the nightgown was hard to pull out of the way of the diaper.
- Gripe Water: Just have it on hand in case you need it. Colic, gas bubbles, and upset tummies in newborns are seriously no fun. I had to run to the store at 8pm to get this while my poor husband battled a fussy baby.
- Nail Clippers or a nail file: Those little nails get sharp fast!
- A Trash Can: Some people use diaper pails, others use trash cans. Whatever method you want to use, make sure it is ready to go for those dirty diapers. There is nothing worse than having no place to throw a diaper after a change. They can build up fast. (If you plan to cloth diaper, make sure you’ve taken that into account too when purchasing your diaper pail!)
This is probably my favorite preparation tip of them all. Why? Because everyone has to eat, and you will be especially hungry after caring for a new baby all day.
Friends and family may bring meals by, which is amazing! But when that gloriousness stops, you’ll be ready with your quick and easy freezer meals! In the beginning, paper plates/utensils were convenient when we wanted to cut down on dish duty. I knew I’d rather be snuggling my new baby instead of scrubbing a casserole dish! Storing a few smaller meals, cookies or meals for one person is also a great idea because hunger can strike often and at odd times!
Freezer Meal Ideas
- Enchilada Casserole
- Pot Pie
- Protein, Veggies, and Pasta
- Chicken Noodle Soup Packs
(My husband got sick 3 weeks postpartum, and I had these soup kits on hand – lifesaver! Simply cut up carrots, celery, and onions and store in small baggies individually. Then buy a rotisserie chicken from the store, and cut into small pieces. Freeze with a small bag of pasta and you have a great meal if you feel under the weather!)
During pregnancy, I was able to donate or give away items we no longer needed. This made cleaning and nesting easier, and eased my mind bringing baby home to a clean and clutter free environment. Living minimally early on shows kids that happiness doesn’t equate to having more “stuff”. In addition to paring down and purging, a great deep clean before baby arrives takes pressure off doing so the first month or two.
“Station” Set Up
When a new baby arrives into your home there is a natural tendency to create stations. A station is anywhere you will be sitting for an extended period of time to nurse, feed, burp, cuddle, or simply be with your baby. There are several different stations to prepare throughout your home – crucial for less stress and a smoother transition with baby!
The Postpartum Station: Caring for a newborn is tough work, not to mention recovering from labor and delivery. Have a small basket of maxi pads, tucks, Motrin, Colace, Dermoplast numbing spray (blue lid), and your Peri bottle by the toilet so you do not have to waddle around the bathroom to try and find what you need.
The Feeding Station: This is where you’ll feed your baby most of the time. If breastfeeding, have your nursing pillow, a little basket of snacks, water, and burp cloth close by. There is nothing worse than being hangry and trying to get the hang of nursing. If you are bottle feeding, make sure the bottles are ready to go and that you have a drying mechanism on the counter – you’ll be washing and drying a lot!
The Changing Station: If your living area and bedrooms are on different floors like us, try setting two different stations. No need to trek up the stairs 10+ times a day! Essentials: changing pad, diapers, wipes, alcohol free hand sanitizer, lotion, diaper pail, and diaper rash cream/ coconut oil.
The Car Station: In addition to the car seat, add a small box of extra diapers, wipes, a book and toy, snacks, as well as a pacifier in case all hell breaks loose and you forget the diaper bag. You can never be too prepared!
It’s always smart to just stock up on the items that you don’t think about until they run out! Amazon Prime or Costco are popular places to stock up on essentials before your little one makes their debut, and it will save you later on!
Not having to go the store for “one off” items was a lifesaver, and it made the grocery store trips shorter after our son was born. Time is precious when you go into the store for the first time postpartum, and you probably only have a small window of time to shop before baby needs to eat and be changed again. The essentials are key, so take a look at my list below:
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Detergent (Dishwasher and Laundry)
- Dryer Sheets
- Reusable Baggies
- Cereal/ Dry Snack Food Items
- Paper Plates, Bowls, and Utensils: normally I am not an advocate for purchasing this, but recycle and you will be good to go!
- Hand Sanitizer
- Wet Wipes
- Body Wash, Shampoo, Conditioner, and Toothpaste
- Get The Nursery Done Before You Hit The 30 Week Mark.
- Make Freezer Meals!
- Clean, Nest, and Declutter Your Space.
- Get Your Stations Set Up Around The House and In The Car.
- Stock Up On Essentials!
Do you have any more ideas on how to better prepare before your little one arrives? Did you do things differently from your first baby to second or third or fourth? Comment below! No matter how you prepare, you are doing great already, mama!