5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a New Baby
Bringing a new baby into the world can be stressful, overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. Be sure you get all the necessary “baby prepping” done early to reduce the stress around expanding your family. Keep in mind, you don’t want to overdo it and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. It can seem like there’s a lot to prepare, but it’s important to remember you don’t need to go crazy with the baby-proofing just yet. Your baby won’t be on the move for some time, so getting your house ready for the newborn stage is your first step.
The most important part of a nursery is making it functional. Yes we all want to have that cute, pinterest-worthy room, but having the right flow and functionality is much more important. This doesn’t mean it can’t be cute, it just means that having easy access to a change of clothes and a clean diaper should be the focus when setting up your nursery. Those middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes are going to be frequent at first, so you’ll want to know where everything is. Another great tip is to place motion sensored night lights in the hallway between your room and the nursery, making it easy to see during the night.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your newborn sleeps in your room for the first 6-12 months of their life. This can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and also makes it easier to change or feed during the night. Your bedroom should be stocked with all the essentials to make your life more simple. A bassinet or crib is a great option for the baby to sleep in, as well as including a caddy stocked with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, burp cloths, diaper cream, a swaddle and anything else you may need.
Stock your kitchen with all the essentials, including bottles and formula or a pump and storage bags for milk if you’re planning to nurse. A bottle warmer and other accessories are nice to have, but may not necessarily be crucial. A good rule of thumb is to wait until you have your baby to see if these are things you need or want.
As far as the living room goes, you’ll want to have a mat or something similar for tummy time. You don’t need to go out and buy all the baby toys you find at the store. It’ll be quite a while before your baby will take interest in them and keeping it simple for now will save you tons of time and money leading up to your baby’s arrival. The living room is another space where it’d be beneficial to have a caddy stocked with all the items you need for a diaper change or a quick change of clothes
About 3-4 months before the baby is born you’ll want to throw a baby shower. This is a great way for your friends and family to gather and show their love for you. It’s also a great way to get all the essentials you’ll need if you create your registry correctly. Include items like clothes, and lots of them. Babies tend to be quite messy, so having a lot of extra outfits is great and helps avoid having to do loads of laundry every day. Diaper raffles are another great way to get lots of diapers in various sizes. Newborns are changed every couple of hours so you’ll be going through lots of diapers and you’ll want to have a good stock to avoid those late night diaper runs. A bouncer is a valuable product and allows parents to be hands free while still keeping their baby entertained. You’ll need the free time, even if it’s just a 5 minute break. A baby wrap is an excellent option for around the house and in public; you’ll keep your baby close, but still have two hands to get tasks even as simple as eating done
Don’t forget about mom! Sometimes it’s easy to overlook, but after giving birth you’re going to need to take care of yourself too. Creating a postpartum kit with things like disposable underwear, instant ice maxi pads, perineal cooling pad liners, perineal healing foam, etc. is a great way to be prepared for the healing process. You’ll also want to pack your hospital bag sometime during your third trimester, but don’t put it off for too long. Babies make their entrance into the world when they want to and not when we try to schedule it. Include things like pajamas for mom, a few outfits for both baby and mom, and any other personal items you may need. It’s a good idea to plan on staying in the hospital for at least 24 hours, but most parents stay for 2 days barring any complications.
The first year of your baby’s life is quite expensive; it can cost between $20,000 and $50,000 depending on where you live and your household income. That’s a lot of money regardless of your income, but there are different ways to save and finance your expanding family.
Your first option is budgeting. When planning to start a family, it’s a good idea to take a look at your income and start setting aside money in a separate savings account to fund your needs when the time comes. Of course, planning years in advance isn’t always an option for some. In this case, you could consider a personal loan as a way of financing solely or in addition to your savings account. This can be a great option for families who need the extra cash to get started and allows you to build up your credit score when paying the money back on time.
For low income families the government provides assistance through programs such as WIC and SNAP, as well as other organizations like the Salvation Army. These are all great resources for when money is tight. Keep in mind, these programs can have pretty stiff thresholds but are there for those in need.
Having a new baby is a lot of work, but starting a family is one of the miracles of life. So take it slow and keep things simple. In the beginning you won’t need much, but following these few easy steps will ensure your house is ready and so are you. Remember, you don’t need all the high end accessories to have a happy, healthy baby.