by Alexis Hall –
Nothing can truly prepare you for parenthood, for the way you’ll feel the first time you see your baby’s face, or for how tired you’ll be after waking up for the ninth time in a single night. There’s no guaranteed method for bonding with your baby, navigating marriage after parenthood, or dealing with your dog’s jealousy. Nonetheless, preparing for your new baby can relieve tons of stress and make life much easier in the days after your little one is born. Here are nine things you should do to get ready for your new addition.
1. Set Up the Nursery
Your baby’s nursery doesn’t need to be perfect. You’ll probably end up changing it as you develop a routine with your baby. However, it should be functional. Install the crib, put batteries in the baby monitor, and set up a basic changing station so it’s easy to go through the motions when you’re still exhausted from the birth.
2. Stock Up on Newborn Supplies
Running to the store with a newborn will be harder than you think. Make life easier on yourself by stocking up in advance. Diapers and wipes are an obvious place to start, but you should also purchase nursing pads, baby Tylenol, diaper cream, and household staples like groceries and cleaning supplies. Buy some formula too; even if you plan on nursing, it’s helpful to have formula on hand in case your baby doesn’t latch right away or your milk supply is low.
3. Wash Your Baby’s Things
A newborn’s delicate skin is easily irritated. Launder your baby’s clothing and bedding in a fragrance-free detergent to reduce the chance of irritation. This is also a good time to sterilize breast pumps and bottles.
4. Clean the House for New Baby’s Arrival
You won’t have energy or free hands for mopping floors and scrubbing toilets after your baby arrives, so it’s best to do your chores now. Draw on your nesting energy to get your house clean and organized before your child comes.
5. Prepare Infant’s Meals
Post-baby you will love pre-baby you when she pulls dinner out the freezer, pops it into the oven, and has a home-cooked meal to enjoy 30 effortless minutes later. As you whip up freezer meals, don’t worry about making every meal the picture of health; the postpartum period isn’t the time to shame yourself for eating an entire pizza or digging into a cheesy lasagna. Turn to The Kitchn for recipe recommendations and more tips on filling your freezer.
6. Pack Your Hospital Bag
Labor happens on its own schedule, not yours. Make sure you’re ready by packing your hospital bag in advance. The Bump recommends including comfort items like cozy socks, toiletries, and loose clothing as well as essentials like identification, insurance information, cell phone chargers, and a camera.
7. Install the Infant Car Seat
You don’t want to leave the hospital with your newborn only to realize you don’t have a car seat. Install the car seat so you’re not scrambling while in labor.
8. Talk to Your Birthing Partner
Will one parent handle nighttime feedings, or will you tag team it? Will you co-sleep? If you have a boy, will he be circumcised? These are conversations to hash out before the baby is born so you’re on the same page about parenting.
9. Ask for Parenting Help
No amount of planning and effort can truly prepare you for the realities of parenthood. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone. Everyone benefits from an extra hand after their first baby is born, and accepting help doesn’t make you any less of a mother! While family and friends are wonderful to lean on, loved ones can’t always be available when you need them. Hire help with household tasks like cleaning, mowing the lawn, and walking the dog so you have fewer things on your plate and more energy to devote to your precious little one.
Parenthood looks a little different for everyone, but there are a few things you can count on: It will be messy, it will be exhausting, and it will be beautiful. While there’s no accounting for every possibility, following these tips will get you as prepared as possible for your first baby. If you’re a first time parent, and you want to set up an appointment with an experienced midwife, you can find our contact information here.