How to Prepare for Baby Checklist
Wondering what to prepare for baby? There are some crucial things to do before baby arrives that will make your life with a newborn SO much easier.
In my final weeks of figuring out how to prepare for baby #2, I am remembering some things that I did or WISH I had done last go-round.
There’s the initial freak out of “Oh my gosh, I only have 3 weeks left, I’ve got to get stuff done!” You frantically finish the nursery and clean the bathrooms. Then suddenly comes “Oook, he was due 3 days ago…I’m ready…what do I do now?” Know the feeling?
Well, whatever stage you are in as you prepare for baby to arrive, I’ve got some tips for you. Getting organized now will make settling into your life with a newborn much less stressful. Thank yourself later. If you’re looking for things to do on maternity leave before baby, go ahead and knock these out while you’re waiting for labor to start.
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Preparing for Baby Checklist:
1. Prepare a Postpartum Basket
Don’t just prepare for baby, prepare for MAMA! This is a must, girl. Get a little basket and put it next to the toilet. Fill it with all the things you’ll need for your postpartum care. You don’t want to have to waddle over to the cabinet and fumble with opening pads or toilet paper when you’re recovering from childbirth.
Here are some tips on what to include:
Pads – This kind is perfect. Yes, they’re huge, but compared to what they give you at these hospital these will feel great. You may want to stock up on a thinner kind as well, to use when things lighten up. I like this kind.
Tucks – These wipes are so helpful for postpartum healing. There’s a lot going on down there and you’ll be glad to have these on hand. I think every mama I know uses these awesome things.
Pain Relieving Spray – I read this tip before my first baby. So great! Any extra relief you can get down there is a must! This will help! And it’s made with natural ingredients so you don’t have to worry too much about what you’re spraying down there…
Colace – You’ll most likely use this at the hospital and they’ll recommend you continue. I recommend that too. You want to stay as regular as possible…TRUST me.
Extra panties – You never know when things may get heavier or when a surprise could get messy. Keep a change of panties in your basket, so you can freshen up with plenty of privacy.
Tip: Buy a pack of too-large granny panties for postpartum. Like these. Once you graduate out of the hospital net undies, you’ll be glad to have something loose and comfortable that you can just throw away if they get ruined during the joyful postpartum aftermath.
Good toilet paper – You want a good quality, thick ply variety for patting. If ever you deserve the good stuff, it’s now. Keep an extra roll in your postpartum basket, just in case it runs out.
Cleansing bottle – Aka: Peri Bottle. This is essential to rinse and care for your postpartum needs. Keep it in the bathroom and refill with warm water. It will speed up the healing process and the warmth is sweet relief after every not-so-sweet visit to the toilet.
For some more of my tips on your body after baby, check out my post exclusively about Postpartum Recovery Tips.
2. Prepare a Breastfeeding Station
Breastfeeding is awesome. But it can take a little time to adjust to, especially with your first. Setting up a little station next to each of your nursing areas will take some of the stress out of things. I recommend having a little breastfeeding basket or tray set up next to anywhere you plan to breastfeed regularly, especially at night. For me, this was my bedside and next to the chair in the nursery.
Include some practical items and some comforts. Here are some ideas to get you going:
Nursing Pillow – Go ahead and keep your nursing pillow near your Breastfeeding Station. It will be nice for it to have a home, not just land random places. Here’s my review of this amazing pillow. It’s even better than a Boppy and can be used in pregnancy and for Baby’s tummy time pillow too! I lovvve this thing. Add it to your Amazon baby registry here if you haven’t already.
Breast Pump and Accessories
Breastpads – This kind is great.
Chocolate – Because chocolate.
Water – I highly recommend getting a great quality water bottle that will work well for your new mom needs. I love this one. It keeps water cold, isn’t made of plastic, and has a large handle perfect for grabbing it with one finger while juggling Baby and five other things. Keep water with you everywhere, Mama. You’ve gotta put in even more than you’re putting out.
High Protein Snacks – In case you haven’t heard…breastfeeding makes you ravenous! Especially at first. Have some food ready to refuel when you need a pick-me-up.
Wipes and Burp cloths – For dribbles and messes.
Hand Sanitizer – This kind is a great alcohol and dye-free option. Keep in mind, the first thing your hands will touch after washing is usually Baby.
Also, if you’re looking for other ways to prepare yourself for breastfeeding, I recommend this great breastfeeding handbook by the wise mamas, Trina and Alli, over at Mom Smart Not Hard. It’s an inexpensive way to really feel confident as you go into this new and sometimes challenging adventure. This is a great resource.
3. Prepare for Bottle Feedings
Prepare for baby feedings! If you plan on pumping at all, I recommend going ahead and setting up a system for freezing your breastmilk. The better your freezer is organized, the more milk you can store…the more milk you store, the more times Daddy can do the night feeding and Mama can SLEEP! Trust me, there will be no higher priority after a few days of mommy sleep-deprivation.
Here are some awesome ways you can store breastmilk:
I also recommend having your bottles, nipples, breast pump accessories, etc. all open and sanitized. Set up a little storage system for this too. Make room in a cabinet or have a station on the counter. We usually use our grass drying rack and a little basket under the cabinet with the bibs and other feeding supplies.
Those things aren’t going to do you any good still packaged and in the gift bag from your baby shower. When the time comes to use them, you’ll love that it’s all ready to go. If you have spare time now, check it off your list and reap the benefits in a couple weeks.
4. Prep Freezer Meals
You won’t regret this one. When your hubby goes back to work and the Meal Train subsides, you’ll be sooo thankful that you prepped some easy meals. I love using zipper bags and freezing the meals flat, so we can store a ton and then just thaw and dump in a pot.
About 3-4 weeks before baby arrives, we start doubling 1 or 2 of our meals each week. It’s fully cooked and ready to go. We just write the name of the meal and the date in permanent marker and stick it in the freezer. Simple enough and sooo worth the little bit of extra effort. This is a great way to prepare for baby in the last stretch.
I’d stash as much as you have room for, but we are aiming for at least 1 week’s worth of meals this time. More if we can.
A little tip:
Don’t start making these meals too early when preparing for baby. Many of meals are only good to freeze for a month or two.
If you want to be reallllly prepared, you could even make a little menu for yourself. Include the name of the frozen dish then write in any sides you’d like to go with it. That way, you can easily know what to order from the grocery store (do this!) and your meals won’t accidentally consist of taco meat, but no toppings or tortillas. Can you tell I’m speaking from experience?
Also, get some paper plates! Trust me, you are not going to be feeling dish duty even if you happen to find the time after baby comes. We used paper plates for the first week with our first. This time, I bought the big boy package. We’ll use them until we feel somewhat human again, however long that takes. No shame.
5. Catch up on Laundry
If you’re reallllly out of things to do before baby arrives and you’re still not ready to pop, throw some clothes in the washer, go take a nap, then put them in the dryer. Fold them while you binge watch Netflix because I KNOW you’re not feeling like doing a whole lot else this close to your due date.
Even if you’re just tackling that pile of dirty blankets that has been sitting by the washer for 3 months, it’ll be nice to knock it out. The less clutter you have after once baby comes, the better.
Plan for season changes! I’m due right around the shift from Fall to Winter. I didn’t want to be stuck freezing or trying to dig out our coats while breastfeeding and chasing a toddler.
Go ahead and wash all of the clothes you expect to need over the next month or two. Have them ready to go and put away anything you won’t need (remember, clutter is an enemy when you’re in the newborn fog.)
A couple more super simple things to do:
6. Download a Baby Feeding Tracker App:
You’ll probably be told by Baby’s pediatrician to log all of his feedings for the first month or so. You also need to track diapers and other details. When you’re sleep deprived, these things get hazy quick. Here’s the app we use.
7. Download a Sound Machine App:
Not for baby…for YOU. Mama, if there’s any way you can squeeze in extra sleep during the day, you’ll want to do it. Some background noise will drown out the noisy neighbors, cars going by, or your toddler in the next room with Grandma. We love this one.
Ok, here’s an extra tip, because I can’t resist sharing this with you.
Don’t just prepare for Baby…prepare for HAVING Baby.
Consider taking a quality Prenatal Class. Feeling informed about what’s going to happen when you go into labor takes SO much fear out of what’s about to go down.
I highly recommend this amazing class by my girl, Hilary, at Pulling Curls. She’s a real life Labor and Delivery Nurse and she explains the must-know info in a really cool way. Hilary’s class is interesting, helpful, and sooo much more convenient than spending an entire Saturday at a hospital class.
She answers questions like,
“What do I do when my water breaks?,”
“When exactly do I go to the hospital?,”
and “What if I POOP while pushing?!”
Taking a class will give you confidence going into childbirth. You got this, girl!
(Feel free to use my discount code OY10 for 10% off when you enroll in her class here.)
Prepare for Baby
Ready to fully prepare for baby? Ok, now go get to prepping! And napping. Lots and lots of pre-baby napping.
And if you want to stock up on all of the last minute baby items that you probably won’t get at your baby shower, check out my post, Practical Baby Items: What you Need for Baby.
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