You’ve heard the newborn stage can be tough, especially for first-time parents. Check out these tips on how to prepare for a newborn baby.
The transition into the newborn stage and motherhood can often be difficult for many moms. Sleepless nights, diaper changes all day, and getting used to breastfeeding are just some of the challenges we face.
But being ever so organized, I wanted to do all I could to welcome my new baby. While nothing prepares us for parenthood until the day your little one is born, we can still do plenty to make that transition smoother.
After all, bringing a baby home is hard enough—dealing with the chaos of daily life can only add to it.
How to prepare for a newborn
So, what are a few recommendations on how to prepare for a newborn during those early months?
You’ll find that you can do plenty now, even while you’re still expecting, to ease the transition. Make sure you check off these tasks before the baby comes so that you can focus 100% on him from day one.
1. Reduce clutter
Stuff gets in the way. The more stuff you have, the more time you spend managing it. For instance, fewer clothes and toys mean fewer loads of laundry and less time cleaning up. Reducing clutter now will keep you 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.
Come newborn time, housework goes on the back burner (where it should be in survival mode). Is your stuff helping you live a better and more relaxed life, or complicating it more?
Before dumping all your stuff at a charity or secondhand store, look online for local “Buy Nothing” groups. You can post your items online to give to folks in your community. Even now, I still give stuff away here first, since these items are more likely to actually be used and appreciated.
Free printables: Need a checklist of all the things to get done before the big day? Join my newsletter and grab your printable checklist below—at no cost to you:
2. Prepare meals
While you can go pretty far without doing housework, eating is a whole other matter (especially if you have little kids).
Start preparing meals now while you still have more time. One simple way is to double up on some of the meals you’re already cooking and set half aside to freeze.
Another option is to freeze ingredients you can put together when the baby comes. For instance, cook and freeze ground beef and marinara sauce, so that you can toss a quick spaghetti dinner down the line. Stock your pantry with necessities to save on trips to the store.
And lastly, compile several favorite recipes that don’t take too long to cook. Should you want or need to find meals to cook, you already know which ones are simple to make.
3. Prepare your spaces
Preparing spaces doesn’t only apply to baby gear in the nursery. Do you have rooms in your house that could be put to better use? Perhaps a closet is too crowded and clothes end up on the floor, or a food storage drawer is such a mess that you can never find anything.
Prepare baby essentials you’ll need as well:
- Wash the baby’s clothes, blankets, and burp cloths in baby detergent
- Prep the breast pump and nursing bras
- Pack the hospital bag and diaper bag in time for labor
- Set up the changing table
- Read the instructions on the baby monitor
- Gather diapers, wipes, and a changing pad, and place them in various rooms
These small steps allow you to be efficient with your time instead of looking for random items you need.
4. Think ahead
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 which dates to send them out.
Do you plan on sending out a birth announcement? Compile addresses and get everything ready to go except for what you don’t know yet. Get your bills set up to deduct automatically, and stock up on toiletries so you don’t make late night store runs because you ran out of toilet paper.
5. Enlist help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered. A few ways people can help new moms:
- Bring meals
- Play with older children
- Help with housework
- Wash and fold the baby’s outfits
- Offer rides to appointments with the pediatrician
- Lend a listening ear
Just be sure to clarify if you want help or a visit. Either way is fine, but it’s useful to clarify expectations. You might not be up for chatting, so don’t feel guilty if you want to take a nap while others spend time with the baby. Your job is to recover from childbirth and take care of the baby, not to entertain.
6. Get your finances in order
Save regularly during your pregnancy months to cover any large costs you can expect.
These can be big-ticket items like a crib, stroller, and car seat to extremely large amounts like your insurance deductible. If you don’t want to be hit with high costs all at once, open a savings account for baby costs that you can contribute regular amounts each month.
You should also calculate how much income you’ll have during maternity leave. Most of us have reduced pay during this time, so if you’re accustomed to your regular income, consider how much to save to meet your needs.
Similarly, determine which parts of your budget you can reduce to make ends meet during those tighter weeks. For instance, shop at consignment stores (they have strict standards for what they’ll take). Watch for coupons and time your purchases so you never pay full price.
Life changes drastically with the arrival of a newborn, but thankfully you can do plenty now to ease that transition.
Reduce clutter around your house and prepare meals ahead of time for easy cooking. Prepare rooms and spaces, and try to do what you can now before the baby arrives. Get your finances in order, and don’t be afraid to ask for help—this is when it’ll be most appreciated.
You can make it through the newborn stage in one piece—even with sleepless nights and diaper changes all day.
Get more tips:
- How to Entertain a Baby
- How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Without Being 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
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your printable checklist below—at no cost to you: