Having a baby on the way is exciting, but it can have you wondering how your life is about to change and what you need to do to prepare for your newborn. With so many books, articles, and experts giving advice about everything that needs to be done before the baby arrives, it can be overwhelming. As long as you complete these ten must-do’s, you’ll make things easier for yourself and family when your much-anticipated baby finally comes home.
1. Make a Clear Plan for the Kids
If you already have children, you’ll want to be sure that they’re being looked after while you’re in the hospital. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask a family member or friend to stay in your home with your children. If your children will be staying at a neighbor’s home, friend’s house, or somewhere other than their own home, make sure to have clothing, toiletries, and any overnight essentials packed in advance. (You could even pack a surprise toy or snack to make them feel extra special.) Make sure you communicate with your children and let them know that they will be staying with someone for a short time, so that they are not surprised and act out.
2. Set a Plan for the Pets
If someone will be staying at your home while you’re in the hospital, be sure to leave them with clear instructions on how to care for your pets. Depending on the needs of the pet, you may be able to ask a neighbor or friend to visit your home to play with, walk, or feed your pet. Otherwise, be sure to find a person or kennel that you trust and provide instructions on caring for your beloved pets in advance. You may even ask that the pet be taken care of for a few extra days, so that you and your newborn can settle in before introducing your pets to the new baby.
3. Pick a Pediatrician
Your baby’s pediatrician will play an important role over the coming years of your baby’s development. Make sure you are spending the time to research your options. Ask for recommendations from family and friends, and check out reviews of pediatricians on Healthgrades and Vitals. Schedule an introductory meeting with the pediatricians you are considering and feel comfortable asking questions. Avoid any pediatrician who is dismissive or with whom you have bad chemistry. Selecting a good pediatrician before the baby is born will pay dividends later.
4. Stock the Pantry and Freezer
The more you can do in advance, the less you’ll have to worry about when the baby comes home. Food is something you will certainly need, but preparing a gourmet dinner may be out of the question for a period of time. To make things easier, get your food delivered by AmazonFresh and start preparing frozen meals 3-4 weeks in advance of the expected due date. Search Pinterest for inspiration and look for recipes of meals that reheat easily such as lasagna, fajitas, and casseroles. Load up the pantry with easy snacks such as granola bars and crackers, and foods that are simple to prepare such as canned soup and cereal. You may even find that family and friends will want to help by bringing meals over for you and your family, and (as long as they are decent cooks) you should absolutely accept.
5. Set Up Cleaning Services
Once your baby comes home, you’re not going to have the time or energy you might think you were going to have to do household chores. Setting up a temporary cleaning service to help around the house will take a heavy burden off of you and allow you to spend valuable time with your precious new baby, without needing to worry about everything that needs to get done. With a stockpile of laundry, dishes, and general cleaning, you will be glad to have someone help out.
6. Look into Meal Delivery Services
Even if you stocked up the pantry and hired a cleaning service to help around the house, you may find yourself needing a little something more than that granola bar for dinner. Even if you typically love to cook, with a new baby, you’ll be glad to take a break from it for a while. Subscribing to a meal delivery service will ensure that you are able to get nutritious meals on the table. You won’t need to worry about grocery shopping and can spend more time focusing on you and your baby’s needs. Many meal delivery services such as HelloFresh, Sun Basket, Plated, and Martha & Marley Spoon, offer meal options that take 30 minutes or less to prepare.
7. Get the Carpets Cleaned
When is the last time you had your carpets cleaned? If it wasn’t in the last 12 months, it’s time to get a professional in to remove the dangerous particles that could be embedded in the carpet fibers. Your little one is going to roll around and eventually crawl on those carpets, so it’s best to have freshly cleaned carpets for his or her arrival home. (You’ll also feel more comfortable if you place your baby on a soothing mat on freshly cleaned carpet.)
8. Do a Test Run to the Hospital
When you start to go into labor, you will want to know exactly where to go and what to do. Figure out how you will get to the hospital, the amount of time it will take to get there, and you may even want to look-up a backup route in case of unexpected traffic or construction that could cause delays. When you get to the hospital, be sure to understand exactly where you need to go, including parking and where you will be admitted (building, floor, etc.). Understand the check-in procedure as best as you can in advance so that there are no questions or delays when the baby is ready.
9. Have the Car Ready
Having your car in tip-top shape, loaded with essentials, is going to make your life a lot easier when the baby arrives. If you’ve never installed a car seat before, head to a local fire or police station for assistance to ensure that the seat is installed properly and your baby will be safe. Have any needed maintenance done on the car and get a check-up to make sure that your car is running well. Take this time to also clean out and vacuum the car, as finding time to do this when the baby arrives will be difficult. Stock up the car with baby essentials, and maybe even an extra nursing and diaper bag, so that you will know that you have everything you need when on-the-go. (Check out this super cute breast pump bag and bundle by Sarah Wells!)
10. Stock up on Essentials
Toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry detergent are just some of the items you should have on hand before the baby arrives. Load up on extras of anything your family uses regularly that don’t expire quickly (shampoo, hand soap, dish soap, etc.). For those days when doing dishes seems impossible, you may want to have paper plates and plastic utensils on-hand to make cleanup a cinch. To save even more time, order low-priced items through Amazon Prime Pantry for seamless delivery and the opportunity for subscriptions so you don’t need to worry about reordering!
Completing these 10 to-do items will give you less to worry about when the time comes to meet your new baby. Remember that you don’t have to do all of these on your own – ask for help from your partner, family, or friends, and accept help when it is offered. Congratulations and enjoy getting ready for your new baby!
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