One of the hardest things about those final weeks before the arrival of a new baby is the waiting. Oh, the waiting! It feels like time just drags on. But, one way to make the waiting go by a little more quickly is to use that time to prepare for your newborn. If you have to wait, you might as well be productive while you do it, right?
Anyway, here are a few ways I’m preparing for the arrival of our little one. Here’s hoping it helps the time fly by!
1. Finishing the nursery.
Even though my little one won’t be sleeping in his own room right away, it will still be nice to have a place to store everything and find it quickly when I need it. It will also be a good way to ensure that my own bedroom doesn’t become overrun with baby gear!
2. Stocking up on newborn essentials that can’t be handed down.
I made a list of all of my birth/postpartum/newborn essentials over on my blog, and I’ve been stocking up. Thankfully, we have a lot of things that will be passed on from our daughter as far as baby gear goes — but stocking up on things like diapers and bodysuits are still happening.
3. Setting up my home birth supplies.
Since I won’t be going anywhere to give birth (so long as our home birth goes according to plan), it’s important that I prepare the space where I’ll be giving birth (i.e., my bedroom). Fresh linens, a garbage can, extra towels, an inflated birthing tub, essential oils, and more are all part of the set up. For other mamas, this will be the equivalent of packing your hospital bag.
4. Setting up a nursing station.
Having a designated comfy, cozy area for nursing is really nice to have, and I’ve already begun gathering supplies for mine. Here’s my list of 10 Essentials for Creating a Nursing Station if you need some ideas for yours!
5. Creating my birth plan / emergency procedures.
Just in case things don’t go according to plan, it’s important to have a back-up. I’m finishing writing up my birth plan along with plans for what should happen in case of an emergency situation. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but it’s important to be prepared for all scenarios.
6. Packing for my daughter.
Some moms like having their younger children present during the births of younger siblings, but I’m more of a peace-and-quiet birther, so I’m planning to have my little one head off to the grandparents’ house while Baby Brother is being born. As such, I need to plan ahead and pack some essentials for her to take along so I don’t forget anything while I’m in the midst of laboring.
7. Making freezer meals and setting up a meal share.
OK, I’ll be honest — so far I’ve only thought about making freezer meals. But it does sound like a good idea, doesn’t it? I’m not sure I’ll actually get there, but I’d like to try. In any event there are also plenty of online programs like Meal Baby where you can direct friends and family if they want to bring you meals during those early weeks with a newborn. This was seriously the best thing about having our daughter — all the delicious food that I didn’t have to cook myself. Amazing!
8. Sorting all the baby clothes by size.
I’ve been washing and sorting all those teeny, tiny baby clothes so I can find things easily once our little man arrives. With my daughter, I didn’t sort sizes ahead of time and she ended up outgrowing many outfits before I could even find them to dress her in!
9. Making sure the house is clean every night when I go to bed.
The thought of having a baby in the midst of messy chaos and with dirty dishes in the sink is enough to send me into full blown panic attack mode. I’m a little bit OCD about tidiness, and I need to have my space be calm and serene. In order to ensure the best chance at this, I’ve become hyper vigilant about picking up all clutter and making sure my kitchen is clean every night before I head to bed… just in case. It’s weird, but it helps me feel a little more calm about the situation.
Also here are three bonus preparation tips that I don’t need to do this time around, but that are totally helpful as a first-time mama:
Reading up on newborn sleep and breastfeeding.
I cannot tell you how much I wish I had done this before I had a little one. I hadn’t the first clue about baby sleep schedules or breastfeeding and just assumed I’d figure it out. I was wrong and it was hard. I read the books, but it was after the fact, and it would’ve been so much more helpful to read this information ahead of time.
Properly installing the car seat.
Read the owner’s manual on that car seat, or better yet — head down to your local fire station and have them show you how to properly install it so you can be sure you’re bringing baby home safe and sound.
Finding a pediatrician.
I didn’t even think about finding a pediatrician before my daughter was born, and as such, ended up on a long waiting list for the pediatrician I wanted. Start asking your friends who are parents and/or your OB or midwife for recommendations, and then get an initial appointment set up ahead of time.
Photo taken by: Lisa Warninger