Preparing for a new baby is an exciting and scary time, especially with the first child. When our son was born, we had no idea what we would need to do to get our home ready for our sweet little bundle of joy. I read every book that I could on preparing the nursery, bought all of the proper bedding, and washed his tiny little baby clothes. These were the things that I thought would be the most important in preparation of his homecoming. With the second child though, I began to realize that I would need to complete many more tasks before we brought our daughter home. I would now be performing the balancing act of raising two children and I would need to really be on top of my game this time. This article will explain a few simple things that I found to be helpful in preparing myself & my home for the new baby.
Fill Your Freezer
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to begin filling your freezer a few months before your baby arrives. The last thing you are going to want to do when you get home is to prepare meals for the family. You are going to be very tired and the first thing that will pop into your mind when the dinner hour rolls around will be… take out, of course! To save yourself from resorting to a hamburger & fries every night (not to mention the blow it would be to your wallet), start making doubles of your dinners once a week.
Choose a day that is easiest for you to prepare an extra dinner for your freezer. Fill the freezer with things that are easy to double and to reheat. Some of the things that I chose to fill our freezer with were meatballs, meatloaf, pizza dough, casseroles, & lasagna. Make sure to clearly mark the outside of the packaging with what the item is and the date of preparation. It is also helpful to include (either on the outside of the meal or on a piece of paper tucked inside the freezer bag) directions for reheating & cooking your meal. Feeding your freezer will really help you in the early weeks when you are sleep deprived & dinner is the last thing on your list to complete.
Thank you, Thank you
Make sure to purchase plenty of stamps & thank you notes to keep on hand. Making a trip to the post office or card shop will be last on your list of things you would want to do in the first few weeks after bringing your child home. The gifts will really add up and I found myself overwhelmed with thankfulness and notes that needed to go out to everyone. I kept track of these gifts by keeping a notebook next to the cards and writing down any baby gifts, gift cards, or meals that I received from my family & friends. If I had a spare moment (these were very few & far between), I would jot down a thank you note and send it out in the mail. Having these items on hand really helped me get them out just a little bit quicker.
There will be lots of diaper changes in your future after bringing your baby home. If you are planning on using disposable diapers, add diapers to your grocery list a few months before the baby arrives and pick a box up each time you go. Try to avoid buying a lot in the smaller sizes (newborn or preemie) because you will be surprised how few of these most people go through. Picking up a box here & there will feel like you are not spending as much on the diapers and you won’t have to make a diaper run in the evening when you are tired & ready to unwind.
If you are cloth diapering, make sure to get your stash of diapers ready ahead of time. Most diapers will require a series of washes before they are ready to be used. Make sure to read all of the manufacturer’s instructions and get the diapers ready in advance.
A Little Convenience
There are items that I consider to be convenience items that many people keep in their homes on a daily basis. If you are like me and keep few convenience items in your house, now would be the time to bend the rules a little bit. There were a few convenience items that I bought to help make things easier in the first few weeks.
Paper products were one of the items that I added to my grocery list before the baby was born. I purchased paper plates and cups to save me time from washing dishes. These are not items that I normally keep in our house, but it saved me a little time in the kitchen.
Another item that I felt was helpful to have on hand were cleaning wipes for the bathrooms & kitchen. We had lots of visitors coming to see our new baby and it was much easier for me to whip out a cleaning wipe and swipe down the bathrooms & kitchen then to get out my caddy of goodies to get the rooms looking clean. I am a frugal gal at heart, but there are times where convenience is very helpful.
We also bought some convenience foods that my husband could prepare for himself & our son. It was nice to have a few things that they could put together without my help.
You will find eating to be a difficult task when you are caring for a newborn. I found myself not setting aside any time to eat and when I would want to eat, our little one would be hungry as well. To make sure I got the nourishment I needed, I kept a basket of snacks that I could eat between meals. Try to take note of the things that they offer to you at the hospital for snacks and use this as a guide towards healthy snack options that you can indulge in. I filled my basket with granola bars, cereal bars, crackers, and fruit. We also kept string cheese, baby carrots, and fat-free puddings for me to eat. One-handed snacks are the best for those early days when you are constantly feeding & bouncing your baby.
Don’t forget to try and feed your mind a little bit too. Keep a basket of books or magazines next to the place where you do the majority of your feedings. The material doesn’t need to be intellectual, but it should be able to provide a little “escape” from the everyday monotony of diaper changes and feedings.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help as you prepare for your new little family member. Remember, try and enjoy this time as much as you can. They are only little like this once and the days will fly by quicker than you realize.