Ways to Prepare to Make the First Few Weeks with New Baby a Little Easier

Today’s post is far from my usual – instead of a recipe and pictures, I’m jotting down everything we’re doing/will do before baby Pea #2 arrives that will make life easier when we get home from the hospital. Obviously this is all with the assumption that I don’t go into labor early. If you’re preparing for your first, hopefully these will give you food for thought. Some of these things just seem so basic that you wouldn’t necessarily think of it being a help to have done beforehand, but you’ll come to realize that in those first few weeks the less you have to focus on things other than your new baby (and other kids/husband for seasoned moms) the much less stressed you will be.

Anyone that has already had kids knows just how all-consuming those first few weeks are, and there are several things we could have done to be more prepared for bringing our first home. My goal this go-round is to have as much done and purchased as possible, so that the first few weeks at home I will only need to focus on taking care of the people inside my house (myself included).

I want to be able to hold our new baby all day long if that’s what she needs, and not worry about mess building up in the house.

I want to be able to sleep (or shower) when she sleeps during those first few weeks.

I want to be able to enjoy my maternity leave trips to Target – I want to walk the aisles aimlessly without having to worry about actually remembering to buy something we need like shampoo or toothpaste.

I do not want to be caught up doing tons of dishes and cleaning. Of course I’ll maintain, but having a good deep cleaning done while we’re in the hospital means we’ll come home to a house that I won’t have to clean for at least a week (probably two if we’re being real here…maybe three).

 For baby:

  • Wash bottles/pump parts – even if you plan to EBF, you never know how it may shake out, and having these other feeding methods ready to use will save time if you need it
  • Buy enough bottles that they can just go into the dishwasher rather than washing by hand every day – maybe someday I’ll write about our first breast feeding journey, but long story short I ended up exclusively pumping/bottle-feeding for 10 months (and working, so needing bottles for daycare was a given)
  • Nursery ready with diapers/wipes
  • Have a diaper changing kit ready in rooms other than the nursery where you hang out most – have a small basket or bin in the den, living room, playroom, etc. filled with diapers, wipes and burp cloths so you don’t have to constantly go back and forth to the nursery
  • Buy present from baby to older siblings

diaper station

For older siblings (pets, too):

  • Plan for various “going into labor” scenarios – it won’t matter if I go into labor in the middle of the night, workday or weekend – we have a set plan for Anna Ruth (and Bailey), so I won’t have to spend any time worrying about her
  • Buy present from older siblings to baby
  • Have the dog groomed

For self:

  • Haircut
  • Pedicure
  • Find the best dry shampoo that works for you – buy all of it – and then buy stock in the company
  • Have post-delivery healing products ready – squirt bottle, cooling spray, ibuprofen, Colace
  • Have nonmaternity-in-between-regular-clothes ready to wear – for Target runs, obv
  • Buy good concealer and one other product for everyday wear – when you don’t want to do make-up but have to look presentable at Target
  • Make sure all make-up is stocked

For home:

  • Stock the freezer – I’ve done this, this, this and this (and added chicken breast) so far. Anything you make for a meal that would freeze well, go ahead and double it to freeze half. Once the meals stop coming, you’ll be thankful you did this
  • Put a bottle of white in the fridge on your way out the door to the hospital – SO to Taylor for reminding me of this most important tip. I won’t get in an argument over this piece, but as opposed to some popular belief it is A-okay to have some alcohol while breastfeeding 
  • Subscribe to a year of express lane grocery pick-up – this could almost go in the “For Self” list – for $100, I can order our groceries online and pick them up without having to cart two kids into the store. I figure the cost will be covered by not buying all of those items I just throw in the cart that aren’t on my list (looking at you boxed macaroni and Cheez-its)
  • Cleaning lady on call for hospital stay – our house will be *sparkling* when we come home from the hospital, and this is probably what I’m most excited about
  • Change your bedsheets just before heading to the hospital – does this even need a comment? Fresh sheets are the best
  • Buy back-up toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, hair product, face wash, body wash, bar soap, razors, toothpaste, contact solution, lotion, deodorant
  • Buy back-up cleaning products
    • bathrooms (showers, sinks, floors, toilets)
    • kitchen (counters, floors, appliances, trash bags)
    • dusting spray
    • vacuum cleaner bags
  • Stock up on paper products – napkins, paper towels, toilet paper
  • Buy paper plates and plastic utensils for first 2-3 weeks – I’m generally not one that’s okay with being wasteful, but not having to worry about cleaning most of our dishes will be big
  • All laundry done – for these last weeks leading up to my due date, we’ll be running laundry all week rather than just on laundry day
  • Pick up clutter every day – I wish I could say this was already standard, but maybe one day….
  • Schedule any bills due to be paid on time
  • Clean the cars and make sure gas tanks are always full

back up toiletries

So – wow – that list wound up being quite a bit longer than I originally thought it would. Do some, all or none of these things, but I guarantee whatever you can do on the front end of delivery will make those first days/weeks at home with your new baby easier.

Is there anything you would add to this list? I’d love to hear more!