When I found out I was pregnant, a million things flooded through my mind. While some of that was the, “Oh my god, I’m about to have a baby!” the rest of it was thinking about all of the STUFF I needed to do.
The idea of trying to prepare my home for a baby was just overwhelming. I was so stressed for so long because I felt like I was drowning in my to-do list.
Thankfully though, I did get through it, and so will you. The moment that you finally don’t have anymore things to do you will feel amazing!
Preparing for a baby doesn’t last forever. And if I can figure it out, so can you.
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When Should You Start Preparing for a Baby?
Ideally you should start putting things in order as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. I know that nine months sounds like a long time, but when you think of all of the things that you need to get ready before you bring your little bundle home, you’ll realize just how short it really is.
There are a few simple things that you can start doing as early as your first trimester. Things like calling your insurance company, researching breast pumps, and setting up appointments with your doctor can and should be done sooner rather than later.
When I was pregnant, I didn’t realize that I needed to call and tell my insurance company that I was having a baby. I just made an appointment with my normal OB/GYN and didn’t think anything of it.
When I was about six months along, I started getting bills in the mail. Bills that I knew my insurance should have paid.
Several phone calls and hours of my life later, I found out that I was supposed to see my primary doctor and get a referral to see an OB. Talk about a ridiculous rule!
I managed to get it worked out, but it took forever and it was WAY more complicated than it needed to be.
Don’t be like me, go ahead and call your insurance company and see what steps, if any, they need you to take.
What do I Need to do Before Baby Arrives?
The best thing that I did when preparing for my baby, was to make a full list of everything that I wanted to buy or do before he was born.
Then I was able to take that list and divvy up the items for the remaining week/months that I had.
Doing this really helped me to stay organized and helped me feel like I was actually getting everything accomplished. Mom brain is a real thing. Anything that you can do to help you stay on top of things is a lifesaver.
The other benefit of separating out the things that I wanted to buy for the baby kept me from going broke buying all of it all at once.
I was better able to financially prepare for having a baby. Baby supplies can get very expensive very quickly if you aren’t careful. Learning how to save money on those baby supplies will be huge.
What do You Really Need for a Baby?
While there are a million different things that you can do before your baby is born, there are a few absolute necessities that you really do need to have prepared before you give birth.
- Put together the crib
- Have the car seat properly installed and inspected
- Write your birth plan
- Take a prenatal class
- Take a breastfeeding class if you plan to breastfeed
- Choose a pediatrician
- Pre-register at the hospital
- Wash baby clothes
- Sheets for crib washed and put on mattress
- Plenty of diapers and wipes available
That’s pretty much it. These are the things that you really need to do before your baby shows up.
There are several other things that I would definitely suggest, but these are the only things that I feel are a real necessity.
What Should I Prepare Before Delivery?
Make freezer meals. Easy things that you can just throw together or toss in a Crock Pot will make eating healthy SO much easier after your baby is born. Cooking full meals will be the last thing you want to do.
I put together all of the supplies for each meal in a ziplock bag and then wrote the remaining instructions right on the bag. It kept me from having to remember where I put the recipe and was a huge help. It also made the process easier for my husband if he happened to be the one doing the cooking.
Have snacks on hand. Learning how to eat one handed will be an absolute necessity. Have some easy to grab and preferably healthy snack items around to ease those breastfeeding hunger pangs. I’m a big fan of homemade granola bars. I ate them daily. They’re also really easy to modify as well with different ingredients that you might want to add.
Wash bedding. Go ahead and make sure that all of your sheets and your baby’s sheets are clean and ready to go. That’s just one last thing you’ll need to do later and having clean sheets to “sleep” in when you get home from the hospital will feel so nice.
Clean and sanitize baby bottles and breast pump supplies. When I gave birth, I took my pump to the hospital just to have the lactation consultant show me how to use it. I didn’t think I would need it. I absolutely did and nothing was sanitized. Don’t be like me, do it beforehand.
Set up bassinet or Pack ‘n’ Play in bedroom. You’ll probably want to have your baby sleep in your room for a while after birth. This will make night time feedings MUCH easier. I got one of these awesome Pack ‘n’ Plays for that and I’m so glad I did.
Set up nursing and diaper change stations. Have backups of all of your diaper changing and feeding supplies anywhere that you plan to do those things outside of the nursery. I had both stations in my bedroom and in my living room. It made those things so much simpler for me. Just put all of your supplies in an easy to store and transport basket to save some space and your sanity.
Stock up on household essentials. Things like toothpaste, toilet paper, and DIAPERS are not things that you want to run out of or have to make a mad dash to the store to replace. Go ahead and stock up on some of these items so that it’s one less thing to worry about later. Oh, and laundry detergent. Lots and lots of laundry detergent.
Get all your postpartum supplies. You do not want to risk not having these things ready and waiting when you give birth. Go ahead and stock up now and put them in the bathrooms where you will need them.
Hospital bags for you, dad, and baby all packed and ready to go. I had all of my hospital supplies packed up and in the car by 35 weeks. That’s probably a little extreme, but I didn’t want to risk forgetting something when the time came. It also took one less thing off of my to do list so do what you need to do.
Car seat mirror. You’re going to want a way to see your baby from the front seat. Make sure you have a car seat mirror and have it installed so that you don’t have to worry about it after you give birth.
Clean your house. Whether you hire someone or you do it yourself, you’ll want to have your house thoroughly cleaned before you bring your baby home, especially the floors. Clean floors for tummy time will be huge.
Prepare pets for a new baby. Make sure that you begin preparing your pets before you bring your newborn home. I used to play sounds of a crying baby to my dog to help her get used to the idea that our house was about to become very noisy. It really helped.
You can also check with local dog trainers or even at the hospital to see if they happen to offer a dogs and babies class. Mine did and it was amazingly helpful.
Make sure your partner is on the same page. Having your partner on board for what you plan to do during delivery and immediately after is HUGE! He (or she), is going to have to be your advocate and he needs to know what is expected. Check out this guide for some great ways that your spouse can prepare for childbirth.
What do You Need Before Bringing Baby Home?
To be honest, what you really need is patience. Having a baby is going to change your life in a million different ways. It will take some time to figure all of that out. Do the things that you can do ahead of time, and then after that, just try to relax.
Becoming a mom is all about figuring things out as you go. What works for one mom may not work for you, and that’s okay. We’re all just figuring it out as we go anyway.
How are you preparing for your new baby? Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!