Some people float pretty easily through the newborn stage. My transition to motherhood and life with a newborn was a little more difficult. I remember the sleepless nights and diaper changes at every feeding. And that babies aren’t exactly keen on my idea of a good routine.
How to prepare for life with a newborn
Here are my suggestions on how to prepare for life with a newborn baby:
Stuff gets in the way. The more stuff we have, the more time we spend managing it. Fewer clothes mean fewer loads of laundry. Fewer toys mean less time picking them up. Reducing clutter now will keep us from feeling overwhelmed when the baby comes.
In survival mode, your brain doesn’t tell you that life would be easier if you washed your large mixing bowl. Instead, you get out another large mixing bowl and soon have two to wash. That is, of course, unless you only have one in the first place.
You might have a legitimate reason to keep two large mixing bowls and that’s a-okay with me. Is your stuff helping you live a better and more relaxed life, or complicating things? Come newborn time, housework goes on the back burner (where it should be in survival mode).
You can let housework go pretty far, but you still have to eat. So if at all possible, get some meals into your freezer for the newborn stage. Freezer meals don’t have to involve long Saturdays of cooking or intense planning. Just double up on some of your favorites as you’re making them.
You don’t even have to freeze whole meals. When I make rice or quinoa, I make a lot of it and freeze the extra. I do the same for ground beef and chicken breasts. Spaghetti becomes even easier if all you do is grab some cooked meat, boil some noodles and throw on a jar of sauce.
Bonus: make up a snack list for when you’re too exhausted to decide what to snack on.
By the way, if you’re interested in freezer meals, definitely check out MyFreezEasy for frozen meal plans. They provide you with the right kinds of meals and recipes that actually freeze well, are inexpensive to purchase and easy to cook. Check out MyFreezEasy (affiliate link):
Preparing spaces doesn’t just apply to the nursery. Do you have spaces in your house that don’t make any sense? Perhaps a closet that’s too crowded so clothes end up on the floor. Or a tupperware drawer that’s such a mess you can never find anything.
Along with decluttering, preparing spaces helps reduce stress. Rearrange a closet so it takes less effort to keep things neat and tidy. It’ll go a long way toward things running smoothly when you’re in survival mode.
Prepare smaller spaces too. When I was breastfeeding, I gathered baskets with magazines, burp cloths and nursing pads. I’d put one in the rooms where I most often nursed. This small preparation allowed me to enjoy nursing instead of looking for supplies.
Are there tasks coming in the months after the baby is born that you could do ahead of time? For instance, do you send out birthday and anniversary cards to family? Fill the cards out early and put sticky notes on the envelopes telling you what date to send them out.
Do you plan on sending out a birth announcement? Compile addresses and get everything set to go except for what you cannot know yet. Get your bills set up to deduct automatically. Stock up on toiletries so you don’t make late night store runs because you ran out of toilet paper.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Or accept it when it’s offered. A few ways people can help new moms:
- Childcare for older children
- Help with housework
- Rides to doctor’s appointments
- Just another adult to talk to
Just be sure to clarify if you want help or a visit. Either way is fine, but it’s useful to clarify expectations. And don’t feel guilty if you’re not up to chatting or visiting. Your job is to recover from childbirth and take care of your baby…not to entertain.
Get your finances in order
Save regularly during your pregnancy months to cover any large costs. These can be for anything from big-ticket items like cribs and strollers to extremely large amounts like your insurance deductible. I didn’t want to be hit with ridiculous costs at random times of the year, so we opened a savings account specifically for baby costs and contributed regular amounts each month.
Calculate how much income you’ll have during maternity leave. Most of us have reduced pay during maternity leave, so if you’re accustomed to your regular income, consider how much to save to meet your needs. Or, determine which parts of your budget you can reduce to make ends meet during those tighter weeks.
Shop for baby gear and materials based on coupons. I hardly bought items at full price because big-name stores often offered coupons. Time your purchases according to these savings. Obviously you may not always buy from a store that offers coupons as I did with our baby’s furniture, but I could often count on a coupon to save money for most items.
Prepare for the unknown
No matter how smoothly you envision those first few weeks going, plans may differ. Caring for a newborn is hard work. And no matter how much you prepare, you can’t avoid feeling tired. So relax. And enjoy the ride—because nothing else is like it.
Not sure what you need to do during your pregnancy? Get my FREE printable checklist and make sure you have everything taken care of before the baby is born. Download it below:
Read more advice all about preparing for a newborn:
- What to Do when Your Baby Needs to Be Entertained Constantly
- “Help! My Newborn Only Sleeps when Held.”
- The Ultimate Mommy to Be Guide: Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
- 8 Misconceptions First Time Parents Make about Parenthood
- 13 Ways to Cope with Newborn Sleep Deprivation
What are your biggest challenges with preparing for your baby? What are some of your most pressing fears?
Steph Fisher is a mom of two and blogs and stephfishr.com. She writes about simple living, learning, faith and parenting.
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