How to Prepare Yourself and Your Home for Your New Baby!
So, you're about to have a baby! Congrats! I'm sure you've already spent months (if not years) thinking about what it will be like having this tiny new human in your home. It is certainly wonderful, but it's also daunting - and just like anything else in life - it won't be exactly how you pictured it. The best thing you can do now, before the baby arrives, is to prepare.
First, take care of you (and your partner)
If you're lucky, both you and your partner will get leave from work to help take care of the newborn baby. Ideally, one of you can take care of the baby while the other rests, cooks, or cleans. But as we all know, this is not always the case. So, it's best to take care of the small details now, because later they won't seem so small.
Get those annoying projects done
Do you have to take the car to the DMV or go to the dentist? Get that done now before the baby arrives. You will thank yourself later because it will be much harder to run those errands with baby in tow.
Prepare at least a week of meals for you and your partner and freeze them. Both of you will be so exhausted you won't even want to look at the stove. Food prep is also a healthier option than ordering delivery, and it will also save you some money.
Clean and organize
You will be oh so happy when you arrive home from the hospital with your brand new baby, and everything is spic and span. Of course, it won't remain that way for very long, but you can enjoy that little moment of domestic joy before your home turns into a nursery. Yes, it is difficult to know the exact timing of when the baby will arrive, so if any of your loved ones asks you what they can do to help, see if they wouldn't mind cleaning up the place while you're in labor. Or, have your partner give a cleaning service a call.
Even more importantly than returning home to a clean house is returning home to an organized one. You'll be tired. Your brain will be frazzled. You'll be trying to figure out how to raise a tiny human. The last thing you need is to be worrying about where you put the diapers. Now's the time to start not only buying the things that your baby will need, but also the things to keep them in so that they can be easily found. Set up a simple but efficient organization system for the baby's room that you can easily stick to so that your life is that much easier when everything else feels like chaos.
It's also not a bad idea to do some decluttering in the meantime. You'll have plenty of new stuff for the baby and you'll need room for it all. Start going through your things to see what you can get rid of so that the new baby furniture, toys, and clothing won't make the house feel crowded. You can check out our article on how to declutter the home to get started.
Do some learning
Having a new baby home is wonderful, but it can also be daunting. They don't come with a manual, after all. It doesn't hurt to take some prenatal classes or to read some books about baby care before you bring your little bundle of joy home. Many mothers say that they wished they had learned more about breastfeeding and sleeping habits before they had given birth, for example. Do yourself a huge favor and do the learning before you are afflicted with baby brain.
If all else fails, bribe your mother, sister, or friends to come over and cook and clean for you (in exchange for baby cuddles of course) in the weeks after returning home from the hospital. Now, if only there was a stand-in for those pesky DMV lines or dentist appointments...
Baby-proofing the home
The other main aspect to this whole 'new baby' business is making sure they're safe in their new home. Before the baby arrives, set about baby-proofing the home. Most parents will tell you they start crawling around and exploring before you even know it! It's best to do the safety stuff now before they start getting into things they shouldn't.
Here are some things you can do:
- Cover power outlets so they can't stick their fingers in.
- Keep hazardous items out of reach. This means anything sharp, toxic, breakable, or anything they could potentially swallow. Put toxic cleaning materials high up where they can't reach, or if possible, replace those items with non-toxic alternatives. Another option for guarading hazardous items is to put them in drawers or cabinets with locks on them.
- Get a baby gate for stairs.
- Remove any fragile items that might topple off a table and break.
- Make sure windows are secured tight or install childproof window guards.
- Consider anchoring certain furniture to the wall if it's liable to topple.
- Cover sharp corners on low tables such as the coffee table
Before you start child-proofing, it might also help to crawl around on all fours to see the baby's point of view so you get a better idea of what might be hazardous within their reach.
Remember that it's good to prepare, but don't be too stressed or worried. Once your baby is here, all of your already percolating motherhood instincts will kick in full force, and you'll know exactly what to do. You'll do great mama!