That moment when new parents enter the house for the first time with their baby is indeed special as it heralds the beginning of a new journey of theirs along with their precious child. Considering the enormity of the situation, we understand that parents to-be are going to get into a tizzy wondering how to ready their home to welcome the new addition to the family.
This is a common enough situation which is faced by many new parents. We do understand that the situation is quite overwhelming but the right amount of planning can help the changeover take place smoothly. If you have prepared your house in advance and have stocked up on the essential things, then the transition to a new life will be smooth and easy.
Further, the fact that you have dealt with all these matters beforehand means you get to spend the maximum time with your baby which in turn is going to increase the bonding between you three. Therefore, go out and make preparations right away so that you are not caught unawares when the baby arrives.
While some parents handle it well, others are given to doubts and misgivings and are totally clueless about the flow of things. For those parents who are unable to handle the situation, we have simplified matters and compiled a must-do list before delivery, which will definitely make their life easier post-delivery.
There are certain things which can be postponed for later after the baby arrives but again there are a few things which must be done before you go into labor. Mentioned below are few things which must be absolutely done in advance before a woman heads to the delivery room.
10 Pack a Hospital Bag
Now that your due date is nearing and your baby is expected to come any day, it is high time you get your hospital bag ready. Try to pack two separate bags – one for yourself and the other for your baby so that you save yourself the effort of rummaging through one bag when the need arises.
Keep the bag in an accessible place and attach a note to it about the last-minute things you would like to take with you. Certain must have items in your bag:
- - A robe or sweater
- - Toiletries and your personal items such as toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, deodorant, conditioner, shampoo, makeup (though we seriously doubt whether you will actually need it), body lotions, lip balms etc.
- - Few pairs of non-skid socks for all the walking you will do pre and post labor
Anything you think you'll need or want to have with you to make your hospital stay as relaxing as can be--it's still going to be the hospital after all, not the Ritz Carleton. But having a few must have items in your bag will give you the peace of mind you need when your due date nears.
If your significant other isn't staying at the hospital with you, you can always ask them or a family member to go home and get the things you find that you need once you get settled in. So if you forget to pack anything, don't panic, someone will be willing to help out a pregnant woman.
You might even want to pack things to bring for the baby.
- - Pairs of clothes
- - Blankets for the ride home
- - Warm woolies or appropriate wear according to the season
It might be helpful to make a list of what you want and what you think you'll need, that way you can check off the things as you put them in the bag. As you might have noticed, your ability to remember details might not be what to used to be.
9 Car Seat and Baby Carriers
This is one necessary item which needs to be installed before you deliver your baby for it is a standing policy with certain hospitals that they do not allow the baby to leave unless the parents to-be have installed a car seat in their car. Even if you plan to leave by a taxi, you must have the car seat with you.
Installing a car seat is not a difficult thing at all as the car seat manual has step by step instructions which can be easily followed by anyone. To be doubly sure, you can even get your car seat checked by a professional car seat checker who will check and tell you whether you have installed it properly or not.
In some cities you can take your car with the car seat installed to your local police station and the police can verify if you've installed the car seat correctly. If you haven't put the car seat in correctly, make sure that you have the person re-installing the car seat for you shows you and explains the proper way to install the car seat.
Sooner or later you will go out with your baby, and for that you would require a sling carrier and a stroller. So why not buy one beforehand for once the baby is born, you and your hubby will be too busy to attend to these trifling matters after the baby comes.
As there are many brands selling these items, choose carefully according to your budget and requirements. Not all products are equal in quality, so make sure you do your research into products to make sure that you find the safest slings and strollers available. Once you buy the right baby accessories you and your baby will be all set for that stroll to the park or a short visit to the grocery store.
8 Enlist Help
With your body recuperating and the odd sleeping hours taking a toll on you, you surely can do with a pair of helping hands. If your family members are willing to chip in and help you through the initial days, then there is nothing better than that. Our piece of advice is to get in all the reinforcements you need from all quarters.
You can even enlist the services of a doula for postpartum visits and hire a cleaning agent for regular cleaning of the house. This might seem a drain on your resources but the comfort that you would get by preserving your energy is definitely worth than the money you would be spending.
If you can't afford both, then choose which service you think you'd need more and see if you can afford to pay for at least one of these services. If you're a neat freak and you know it, then get the cleaning service, because there won't be energy and time for you to take care of your new baby and the house.
If you already have kids, then you'll need to determine who is going to take care of the kids while you and your hubby are in the hospital. If your kids are going to stay overnight at a relatives or friends place then help them pack an overnight bag and slyly put in a gift or two which they had been wanting for a long time.
You might want to make a list of your child's favorite foods, activities and movies so the person watching over your child/ren will know how to keep them happy and preoccupied. This will make it easier for you to leave your child behind as you go to the hospital to have your second baby.
If you have arranged for a caretaker to stay at home and take care of the kids, then stock up on your kids favorite foods and a couple of their favorite DVDs so that they stay entertained while you are all readying up in the hospital to bring their sibling into the world.
7 Stock the freezer
Cooking a meal would be the last thing you would want to do after having delivered a baby. If you love cooking and are still in a condition to slave over the kitchen pot, then there is no better thing than to load up your freezer with some healthy nutritious food before your delivery.
Go ahead and whip up some lasagnas and casseroles and freeze them. Cut up fruits and vegetables and store them so that you can toss some together when you need to prepare a quick meal. After eating the same food for days on end at the hospital, you are surely going to thank yourself for having made some tasty food in advance.
The best foods which can be stored in the freezer and still taste fresh after a couple of days are:
- - soups
- - stews
- - casseroles
Also do not forget to make some scones and pancakes which can be easily heated thus making for a great breakfast option. When you are at it, do not forget to bake some muffins and cookies for come on, you deserve a treat for all the hard work you did in the hospital.
Store each food item in clearly marked single meal containers so it will be easy for you to get what you want. Have your friends and family join in the fun and together you all can easily prepare a couple of freezer meals which you can dip into whenever hunger pangs assail you.
You might even find that close relatives and friends will stop by with your next meal. If people are bringing over food, don't discourage them. Soon enough you'll be on your feet and running around trying to find a routine that works for you and your new baby.
6 Load the Pantry
The first few days post-delivery, you will be too tired and exhausted to head to the grocery store and buy essential items. Moreover, once the baby arrives you would hardly get any time to do anything other than attending to your baby. So, go ahead when there is still time and load up your pantry like people do when a storm approaches.
The arrival of your baby should be treated the same as stocking up for a natural disaster that is coming, your baby is an 8 pound storm ready to hit landfall. Therefore, head to the store, somewhere towards the end of your third semester and stock up on supplies which should last you a month at least.
Exhaust your grocery budget for the month in one go and buy all that you can lay your hands on. But do not buy perishable items in large quantities for they will get spoiled soon. Instead, stock up on healthy essentials like dried fruits, nuts, cereals, cheeses, granola bars and quick fix snacks - ideal for those days when your hands would be too full to cook an elaborate meal.
Think about having multiple snacks throughout the day, or eating tiny meals often. This will help you recuperate and build up your strength. Make sure that you listen to the nurse and doctor carefully before leaving the hospital, they will give you a list of nutritional requirements for your recovery.
If you have family that lives close by they can probably help you should you run out of any essential items. Make sure you have a list prepared for anyone who is willing to run to the store for you so you're not calling them every 5 minutes adding to the list of items you need.
5 Prepare for the Baby
No matter where the baby is going to sleep, you will have to create space – space for the baby’s crib and space to accommodate your baby’s stuff which we can assure you is going to be huge.
If there is a shortage of space in your house, do away with things which are not required. Donate them or sell them on sites which accept second hand goods. If you feel that you would require them later on, you can put them away in your basement or storage spaces where you can dig into them as and when required.
Decorating the nursery and painting it in fun and bright colors is an enjoyable task and you can make this task even more interesting by asking your friends and family members to chip in with their ideas. However doing up the nursery needs to be done beforehand for you surely wouldn’t want your baby to be exposed to paint and other stuff which could be harmful for him/her.
A crib is another essential piece of baby equipment which needs to be installed properly before the baby comes home. Initially your baby may not use it regularly but that is just about the safest place to put your baby in when you are attending to other things and need your hands free.
When buying a crib, see to it that it adheres to certain standards which maintains that the rail height should be should be 26 inches or more and the space between the crib rails should not exceed 2 3/8 inches. Another point to check is to ensure that no lead content has been used in painting the crib.
Buy a couple of crib sheets for they are going to come handy what with frequent spit ups and diaper leaks. Also remember that you shouldn't place pillows and stuffed animals inside the crib when the baby is sleeping in there. It might be a good idea to get shelves or a net to hold all the stuffed animals so you don't get used to placing these items inside the crib.
4 Attend Birthing Classes
Many hospitals offer classes for expecting parents to help them get familiarized with the process of childbirth and how to take care of new born babies. These classes give you the lowdown on how to change diapers, swaddle a baby, how to breastfeed properly, how to give a bath and various other stuff.
In addition, these classes address specific queries that you might have thereby giving you the confidence to handle a new born baby. When you're surrounded by other first time parents you can relax because you'll see that you aren't the only person in the world who feels unprepared, or needs to take a class to prepare themselves for their coming baby.
Some women have trouble breastfeeding; clearing these doubts in advance will help your newborn have a smooth breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding can be challenging initially but it is the best gift you can give your baby. It proves to be a very enriching experience for the mother as well. Reading about on breastfeeding and getting to know how to use a breast pump will be helpful once you begin the actual process of breastfeeding.
Second time parents might have no need of these classes as they have experienced all these things the first time round, but believe us first timers really benefit from these classes. And if you've put a large amount of time between your first and second baby, sometimes a refresher course is all you need to help you mentally prepare for baby number two.
3 Buy Clothes for Yourself
Just after delivering your baby, you will be in an in-between stage where neither your pre-pregnant body hugging clothes will fit you nor would you want to get back into your maternity clothes. We know that after the delivery you would be itching to get back into your skinny jeans but sorry to disappoint you – your body will need some time to get its shape back.
Similarly wearing your maternity pants after you have delivered your baby looks really odd and so outdated. A smart way out of this problem is to invest in some in-between clothes that are a few inches wider and a bit looser.
If you are planning to nurse your little one, you should also get yourself some nursing bras. No doubt you can put nursing pads in your regular bras and manage but when your little one is shrieking his lungs out, it is far easier to remove the flap and feed the baby than having to shift the pads every now and then.
You can definitely buy nursing bras even after your baby is born and you are back home, but it would be a good thing to get yourself acquainted with the bra and all its features before hand, so why not wear them the first time you nurse your baby.
These bras aren't overly complicated and they come in two styles; one style opens with a clasp so you can pull the front of the bra under your breast, then second style just pulls off you breast and over to the side so you can have easy access to your nipple.
You could try using a regular bra for breast feeding, but you will probably get tired of unclasping the back and re-clasping it afterward. Not to mention you won't want to soil your good bras with breast milk. If you're determined, you can try using your regular bras, but don't be disappointed if you give into using a breastfeeding bra, many companies make them so you won't be stuck with a cookie cutter bra if you don't like it.
2 Stock Baby Essentials
Before you head to the delivery room take time out of your schedule to stock up on baby essentials like diapers, wipes, clothes and seasonal wear so that you do not have to worry about what your baby is going to wear once he/she is home . Babies are tiny but they plough through a great deal of clothes and diapers, more than you can ever imagine.
This is why you should keep a good stock of baby essentials for frequent changes. When buying diapers purchase a variety of sizes. Buy diapers in newborn sizes and one size up, because your little is going to grow very fast. However, do not buy diapers in bulk ahead of time, you don't know which size or brand will suit your baby best, and it will be quite some time before you find the perfect diaper for your baby.
Until that time you can make do with a couple of diaper packets. If you plan to use cloth diapers, then you can choose from a range of styles until you find the one that suits your baby. While you are at the job of buying diapers, do not forget to buy a couple of crib blankets and crib sheets for your baby’s crib.
Another important thing which needs to be stocked up beforehand is your baby’s food. If you are planning on formula feeding your baby, then ensure that you have a decent stock of formula at hand. If you are planning to nurse your baby, you'll need to stock up on items like breast pump, breast pads, bottles, storage sets etc.
1 Clean and Do Laundry
Before you and your baby arrive at your home, it is your responsibility to make sure that everything is sparkling clean and in a pristine condition. So wash all that comes your way – pillow covers, bedspreads, duvet covers, rugs, blankets – basically anything that you can lay your hand on.
Don't try to get it all done in a day or two, only do what you can handle doing in one day. And don't stress out if you didn't clean everything you wanted to. There's always tomorrow. When you're in the last month, no one is going to accuse of being lazy, you're huge and ready to pop, so if you need to take it easy, just sit down till you feel like getting up again.
If washing that much of laundry is proving a herculean task, you can hire the services of a professional cleaner who is going to wash all your dirty linen, albeit at a cost. After all, your baby has every right to come home to a clean and squeaky house and laundry forms one essential part of it.
Another important thing which needs to be completed before your baby arrives is a thorough cleaning of your house. Your baby deserves to come home to a nice well-cleaned space and welcoming them into this atmosphere is the least you can do for your baby.
This task needs to be done before the baby arrives for once the baby is home you will have innumerable chores on your hand and cleaning the house will clearly take a backseat. Here again you can avail the services of a professional cleaning team who will meticulously clean your house inside out. Alternatively, your partner and family members can also help in cleaning and organizing the house.