Whether you are a new parent or a family with multiple children, expanding your family can be a very exciting time. As any parent could tell you, those first few weeks with your newborn can turn into a blur of feedings, diaper changes, and many sleepless nights. While many parents start preparing for the birth of their child early on, the fact of the matter is that your life and your home will change immensely, so having some guidance before the baby comes can help you to ease into your new hectic but amazing adventure. Here we will discuss some ways in which you can prep for your child’s homecoming.
Make a Checklist
There are a lot of things to keep track of when preparing for your baby. You will see that the amount of stuff you need quickly adds up! Being able to reference what has been bought, done, or what is still needed is key to helping parents keep everything in order. Your checklist should consist of items and products needed, things to do before the arrival of your child, and a way to keep track of completed purchases/tasks. While this list can get extensive Kinsa Health suggests some essentials parents will need when bringing a baby home from the hospital (Kinsa Health, 7 Things You Need When Bringing Baby Home):
- An approved car seat
- A safe sleep space
- Feeding essentials - The Olababy GentleBottle keeps feeding as natural as possible while stimulating development
- Diapers/changing supplies
- Clothing and blankets
- Bathing supplies
- Medical care supplies (i.e. baby thermometer, nail clippers, bulb syringe, etc.)
Set up the Nursery
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your child’s nursery. If you have more than one room option in your home, you will want to consider choosing the one closest to your own bedroom. That way you have quick and easy access to your child. You will also want to plan the layout of the room. This will help you to maximize space and get all the essential pieces of furniture baby will need in there. If you are working with a smaller space, do not get discouraged! Consider installing shelves and purchasing storage solutions to get the most out of the room. Choosing furniture, décor and stocking up on all the nursery essentials may seem overwhelming, but many parents end up enjoying this time, so try to go into it with a positive attitude.
Baby Proof Your Home
Making sure your home is safe for a young child is the most important step parents will take in preparing for them to come home. While you may think you can put this on the back burner because your child can’t move around on their own right away, think again. Time goes by very quickly, and your baby will be rolling, crawling and even walking sooner than you think. According to Grow by WebMD, taking the time to babyproof your home before your baby is there is key to ensuring their safety (Grow by WedMD, Baby Proofing Essentials). Some things parents should be keeping in mind are large pieces of furniture, such as bookcases, dressers, TV’s and more. These types of items need to be secured with furniture straps or anchored to walls to keep them from falling on your child in event of an accident. You will also want to purchase edge bumpers to keep your little one from coming into contact with sharp edges. Here are some other safety issues to keep in mind:
- Electrical sockets – must be secured with outlet covers
- Toilet set lid lock – always keep your toilet lids down and locked into place
- Electrical cords – use cord organizers or fasten longer cords to walls
- Medications and cleaning supplies – keep these out of reach of your children and keep all cabinets locked
- Toys – ensure you are allowing little ones to play with age-appropriate toys to avoid choking hazards
- Unplug your appliances – these can hurt your child if turned on or accidentally pulled down
Do a Deep Clean
When you first bring your child home, you and your family will be very busy trying to get into some form of a routine, you may not be able to find the time (or energy) to clean your home. Babycenter asked their mom readers to provide advice for expecting parents. Many commented that they wished they had done a deep clean of their homes before coming back from the hospital (Babycenter, Parents say: What I wish I'd known about preparing for life with a newborn). For expecting mothers, this may be hard to do if you are close to your due date. Ask your partner or family for help. Another option can be to hire a cleaning service to come into your home while you are at the hospital. By cleaning before the baby comes, you will have less stress about completing household chores and will be sure to know where all the important items you may need are located.
Prep a Hospital Bag
When that time comes for delivery, you want to be prepared to make your way to the hospital. Having your bag ready with all the essentials needed for you, your partner and your little one is key. Knowing when and what to pack can be difficult, but experts at The Bump say anywhere between 35 – 38 weeks in your pregnancy. You will also want to take into consideration how long you will be at the hospital; vaginal birth is a usual stay of 1 – 2 days while delivery via c-section can mean 3-4 (The Bump, Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Hospital Bag). You will want to be prepared with all of the essentials, but won’t want to overwhelm yourself with too much stuff. This list contains everything you need to be ready:
- Photo ID and insurance info
- Cellphone and chargers – for you and your partner
- Fuzzy, nonslip socks
- Comfy change of clothes – for you and your partner
- Snacks – pack your and your partner’s favorites. You may also want to consider packing some change for the vending machine
- Overnight essentials – toothpaste/brush, hairbrush, deodorant, etc.
- Warm blankets for baby
- Coming home outfit for baby – bring a couple of different size options and consider bringing a hat or headband to keep their head and ears warm
- Pediatrician’s contact info – this is good to have on hand as hospital staff may ask for it
- Bottles and formula – if you are formula feeding make sure to pack some along with bottles, like The Olababy GentleBottle, which comes in a variety of colors and sizes
- Entertainment – for you and your partner, try some light reads or a deck of cards
Get Ready for Family & Friends
For many families, bringing a new baby home is exciting for everyone, this includes those outside your household. In many cases, grandparents, aunts, uncles or friends may want to come see the baby or offer to help out around the house. It is best to be prepared for this ahead of time (Parents, 9 Things to Do to Get Your House in Order Before Baby Comes). If your guests will be staying overnight, make sure you have their room prepped with blankets, towels and other overnight essentials.
Pregnancy preparation can seem like an impossible thing to conquer, but having support is a great way to get started. This list was made to help parents tackle some of the major new baby prep in hopes to ease some of the stress and allow you to focus on the joy of your expanding family.