Congratulations! You’re preparing to bring a new baby home and you want to plan ahead and prepare for the big arrival! Of course you’re going to make sure you have diapers, wipes, bottles, clothes and all of those basics, so I’m going to give you a list of things that may not be at the top of your mind.
Let’s talk about things you need to do to prepare for your little bundle of joy. These days, when you walk into a baby store to make a baby shower registry, you’re overwhelmed by aisles upon aisles of products, while walking around with the list they hand you at the door, that entails items you never knew you needed. Truth be told, babies don’t need much. It always blew my mind when people told me to add more items to my registry when I was pregnant for the first time. I didn’t think a baby could possibly need all of the bells and whistles, so I didn’t ask for them. And guess what?! My babies have all turned out pretty darn great and we didn’t have all of the fancy things.
Tip #1: Meet your baby’s basic needs > Food, shelter, clothing, and love.
Food: Whether you plan on breastfeeding or formula feeding, I highly recommend having bottles and formula on hand. You never know if there will be an emergency, or an inability to nurse your child. You want to make sure you’re prepared for anything and don’t have to stress about running to the store at the last minute.
Shelter: Of course this goes without saying, make sure your home is safe and appropriate for a child. You need to have your home baby proofed, and in some cities, there are professionals who can come in and do this for you. I HIGHLY recommend that you do this before your baby is born because once your little bundle arrives, you’re not going to have time to worry about every little thing, and you can easily get this checked off of your list before the baby is born. Another reason to baby proof before the baby arrives is because you never know when your baby is going to become mobile. One minute, your baby stays in one spot and the next minute he has rolled and rolled his way to the other side of the room. Once they’re on the move, you need to make sure your house is a safe place.
I’ll throw this part into the “shelter” category, but I have to make a point to talk about the sleep environment. Babies need to sleep on a firm flat mattress, placed on their backs, with nothing else around them. Your baby can’t have pillows and blankets or bumpers, so don’t even purchase them. If you don’t have the means to buy a crib, bassinet, and a pack ‘n play, just go for a crib and set it up next to your bed in your bedroom. Move the crib into the nursery when your baby is ready to sleep on his/her own.
Clothing: I know I said I wasn’t going to go too far into the obvious things your baby needs, but in terms of clothing, I want you to make sure your baby’s sleep gear is safe and age appropriate. Swaddle your baby with a safe swaddle until s/he is 8 weeks old (recommendation by the AAP). I do not recommend products such as the Merlin Suit as they can become dangerous as your baby learns to roll over. I’m a huge advocate for the Halo swaddles and you can move into a sleep sack as the baby gets bigger and stronger.
Love: I’m going to get a little mushy here… ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE… Sing it with me! 🎵 ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE! Seriously. The most important thing your baby needs is to be loved. You don’t need products for this. Spend your time with your baby, look into your baby’s eyes and sing to your baby. Take every single moment and cherish your sweet little love because they grow entirely way too fast. Do NOT stress about the little things, your baby won’t remember if he had the fancy swing or the super fetch high chair (yes, fetch is totally going to happen).
Tip #2: Find a Pediatrician that you LOVE!
Go around town and interview Pediatricians. It is so important to 100% LOVE your child’s Doctor. I cannot stress this enough. The same goes for Daycare centers. Make sure you LOVE the place your child is going to spend a lot of time. I always tell my clients that their childcare providers and the medical care team should feel like family. If you’re questioning them at all, you aren’t in the right place.
Tip #3: Educate yourself about baby sleep BEFORE the baby arrives!
It’s no secret that I take baby sleep seriously. Ok, let’s be real, I take ALL sleep seriously.
Time and time again, parents who buy my Prenatal/Newborn Sleep Guide tell me that they wish they knew all of the information BEFORE they had their baby. It’s easier to navigate sleep and routines when you have a solid foundation of knowledge before you’re completely exhausted. Download my Prenatal/Newborn Sleep Guide to help you navigate the first 4 months of your baby’s life.
Tip #4: Prepare for postpartum healing!
We can’t forget about you, Mom! As much as you’re preparing for a new baby, make sure you prepare for healing your postpartum body, too. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section, you’re going to need to make sure you’re allowing your body time and rest to heal properly.
You’re also going to want to get any appointments out of the way before you have the baby. Even though you’re probably already exhausted and just want to rest, it’s going to be easier to get your eyes checked, or your car inspected before you have to care for a newborn. Don’t put those off, just do your best to get them done so you have one less thing to worry about.
Tip #5: Make freezer meals!
Some days, you’re going to look at the clock and wonder HOW it can possibly be dinner time already. This is a great time to pull out a freezer meal and just pop it in the oven. Pinterest is swarming with great recipes! Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make tons of creative dinners. Do what is simple and what you KNOW you will enjoy.
Here are my final thoughts: Life with a baby is hard enough on new parents. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have all of the trendy new products on the market. 9 times out of 10, you don’t need them.
If you are interested in my favorite baby sleep products, check them out.
One last piece of advice, build YOUR tribe. Find YOUR people. You’re not going to mesh with EVERY new mom on the playground. Go to several different mommy meetups, say hi to other new moms at the grocery store, and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. I can’t stress that enough. I know, I know, you just had a baby. But once you’re into the swing of things, you can go out and about, in between naps of course, and make some new friends. You’re never alone in motherhood. If you ever need anything, know that I’m always here for you.