Practical Tips to Prepare for a New Baby
The last few months of pregnancy can feel like the longest months of your life (or maybe that was just me?). You’re tired, uncomfortable, and just ready to meet your baby already! While the waiting can be stressful, using the last couple months of your pregnancy to prepare for your baby’s arrival is a great way to make the time pass more quickly. And to make life easier after your baby arrives. Which they will, eventually. I promise! Check out these 15 practical ways to prepare for baby!
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Simple Ways to Get Ready for Baby to Arrive
1. Wash & Put Away Newborn Baby Clothes Before Baby Arrives
This is probably the most fun item on my list of ways to prepare for your baby. I love baby clothes. They are so tiny and adorable. I get warm fuzzies just looking at them.
With new clothes, it’s tempting to cut off all the tags and wash and fold every adorable outfit. But don’t. Choose the things you love and know you will definitely use. Wash and put them away. But for the rest, even with newborn clothes, if you have a large number, keep the tags on anything you’re not sure about.
If you have a large baby, they might be out of newborn clothes in a few weeks. If you keep the tags on you can exchange anything you never get a chance to use for a larger size.
For size 3 months and up, I suggest keeping the tags on and holding off on washing anything new you might not end up using. You’ll be super busy after your baby arrives. But you’ll also be washing many, many loads of laundry. And will have plenty of time to wash these when your baby is ready for them.
For hand-me-downs, returning them is obviously not a concern, so wash everything you plan to use. And donate anything you were given but hate (it happens). You’ll need the space for things you actually will use.
If you can’t resist cutting every tag and washing and folding all the adorable baby clothes, well, I don’t blame you! I did it too with my first!
2. Get Ready for New Mom Life and Buy Non-Perishable Groceries
After my first baby was born, I was ravenous! Maybe it was breastfeeding, maybe it was just my stomach wanting something to fill the hole she left, but I wanted to eat, eat, and eat. When people would ask to come and see the baby, I would say “Sure! And please bring food!”.
The point of this is to stock up on snacks before baby comes! Fill your cupboards with cereal, crackers, granola bars. Things that are easy to eat and filling.
Obviously, try to keep it reasonably healthy. But get some snacks to get you through the first few days at home with your baby. And put some in your hospital bag in case the food there is lousy (hint: it probably will be).
3. Stock the Freezer Before Baby Comes
In addition to stocking up on snacks to prepare for baby, now is also a good time to stock your freezer with meals!
Figuring out dinner can be a stressful part of daily life even without a new baby. With a new baby, you just won’t have time to deal with it every night. So, stock your freezer with your favorite casseroles, pasta dishes, and other freezer friendly meals.
If getting started freezer cooking sounds overwhelming to you, check out the freezer friendly meal plans from My Freez Easy. Their budget-friendly meal plans can set you up with 10 to 12 meals prepped and ready in your freezer in under an hour.
It’s pretty amazing. That’s enough meals to get you through quite a few days at home with your new baby. Check it out here!
Freezer cooking is even something you can do with friends to get a greater variety of meals and enjoy some social time before your baby arrives. Check out how to start freezer cooking with friends with this guide from Two Liberty Belles.
4. Get Ready for Baby by Starting a Diaper Stockpile
If you’re planning to use disposable diapers for your baby, stockpiling diapers is a great way to save money on something that adds up pretty quickly.
Creating a stockpile does require an investment of time, but if you’re trying to keep costs down before and after your baby arrives, it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in creating a diaper stockpile, this post gives great advice to get you started.
5. Buy Post-Baby Personal Care Items for Mom During Pregnancy
It probably won’t surprise you that the days and hours following childbirth will not be your most glamorous. While you’re at the store stocking up on snacks, hit the feminine hygiene aisle. Now is a good time to stock up on pads for postpartum bleeding.
The hospital will send you home with some, but not enough. And it isn’t the kind of thing you really want to send your friends, family, or even your spouse to the store for if you can avoid it.
Buy the supers or the super-dupers or whatever the biggest, most absorbent pads are called. Just giving it to you straight.
While you’re there, make sure you have enough shampoo, body wash, lotion, and whatever else you need for personal care once you’re home with your baby. And snag some travel shampoo and body wash to take to the hospital for that first shower.
6. Get Some New Clothes Now for After Baby Arrives
It’s a fact, you won’t be coming home from the hospital with the same body you had going into it. But it also won’t be the same body you had pre-pregnancy. Most of us mamas end up with a body size somewhere in between pre-baby and six months pregnant.
Once you get past the bathrobe sweatpants phase of post-birth life, you’ll need something to wear. And even that phase, you may want to plan for.
Chances you’re going to be pretty sick of your maternity clothes and want to look not-pregnant after your baby is born.
If you have an event within a few months of giving birth, or the holidays will be coming up, you’ll want something to wear that makes you look and feel good with your new body. So you’ll want at least one dress or nicer outfit for your post baby body.
Maybe you’ll be up for a shopping trip after giving birth. But I was emphatically not. At least not for a long time. You’ll be glad to have some clothes on hand for after your baby arrives.
7. Create a Baby First Aid Kit Before You Bring Home Baby
When you’re dealing with a sick baby the last thing you want to do is have to go to the store for medicine or turn the house upside down looking for your doctor’s phone number. Prepare for baby by creating a baby first aid kit.
Stock your kit with infant acetaminophen, infant ibuprofen, lanolin, an infant thermometer, snot sucker, and anything else you think might be useful for first aid with your new baby. Here is a checklist you can use as a guide.
I also recommend taping your pediatrician’s phone number to the first aid kit or medicine cabinet or wherever a panicked parent will be able to find it most easily.
8. Prepare to Feed Your Baby Before they Arrive
Whether you’re planning to breastfeed your baby or use formula, now is a good time to prepare. If you’re planning to breastfeed, check out this post with the essentials for a breastfeeding mom. You may also want to take a breastfeeding class. Check out this awesome online option!
If you will be pumping breastmilk at work, now is the time to check with your health insurance about if and how they will cover the purchase of a breast pump.
Do some research and get the highest quality pump your insurance will cover (or you can afford). I had great success with the Medela Pump in Style. I used one almost daily for about two years.
If you want to pump breast milk but have questions about what is involved, this class can help give you all the information you need.
If you’re planning to formula feed your baby, you will need bottles and an easy method for sterilizing them. You’ll also need formula. Many formula brands will send free samples, so you may have some to start with.
Even if you plan to breastfeed, hold on to those formula samples just in case things don’t go as planned.
9. Install Your Car Seat During Your Third Trimester
Installing your car seat is an important step in preparing for a newborn. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
And check your area for a car seat clinic where you can have an expert check your installation to make sure it is correctly done. Car seat safety is so important to protect your new baby.
10. Prepare for Birth by Packing Your Hospital Bag Now
When your due date gets close, take some time to pack your hospital bag. I think this is a good checklist for your bag. One comment from my own experience is to bring snacks.
And to bring your most comfortable clothes. Like your oldest, softest sweats and robe. You’ll be exhausted and want to be able to sleep at a moment’s notice without changing.
And don’t get so focused on packing what you need for your baby you forget to bring your own things. (This happens!)
11. Arrange for Help for Before, During and After You Give Birth
If you have older kids, now is the time to make arrangements for their care during your hospital stay. Ideally, your partner will be with you, so find out if grandparents or close friends are available to take your older kids and give them some extra attention before they welcome a new sibling.
If friends or family have offered to bring meals or come over to help with the baby, talk to them now about what might be helpful. Don’t turn help away! You’ll be grateful for it so you can focus on your new baby.
12. Set Up Baby’s Sleep Area Before You Bring Baby Home
A big part of nesting for many moms is setting up your baby’s nursery. But depending on your sleep plans, that may or may not be where your new baby will actually sleep at first. In the days before your delivery, take some time to set up your baby’s sleep area.
You do not want to bring baby home and then spend two hours cleaning your room to make space for the cradle you then have to set up. Get it set up now.
13. Learn About the Birth Process During Pregnancy
You probably have a basic idea of what the birth of a baby involves, but humor me. When you’re preparing for your delivery, take some time to read about the birth process.
Related: Do I Really Need a Childbirth Class?
You may also want to contact your hospital to find out what is available to you during your stay. Is there a birthing tub or birth ball? Can you bring your own? Is there a CD player or DVD player?
Where will your partner sleep? Will the baby stay in the room with you or go to a nursery? Knowing what to expect can help you be a little calmer as your delivery approaches.
14. Find a Pediatrician for Your Soon to Arrive Baby
Your baby will need to be seen by a doctor within a few days of coming home from the hospital. Part of preparing to bring a newborn home is choosing a pediatrician.
If you have a family doctor who will be seeing your child, let them know your due date and find out how and when you need to make their initial appointment.
If you’re still searching for a pediatrician, call around and make arrangements to meet the ones you’re interested in. Most pediatricians will do a quick meet and greet visit for new parents.
15. Rest, Be Alone, Go on a Date Before Baby Arrives…
People are not lying to you when they tell you how tired you will be at home with a new baby. It’s for real. So, take some time now to rest. Going into your delivery rested can make a big difference in how you feel both during and after your delivery.
You may also want to go on a date with your spouse, go all the places it will be too inconvenient to take a baby! The movies, out to dinner, shopping.
And spend some extra time with your older children if this isn’t your first baby. Give them some extra love and attention before your new baby is there taking center stage.
I also suggest you spend some time alone. You will soon have a tiny human hanging off of you around the clock. Take some time to be just you before baby arrives.
Did I forget anything? Tell me your number one tip for practical ways to prepare for baby in the comments below!
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