Getting Organized Before Baby

Newborn

I’m due with my forth and final baby in 2 days. And I realized that there’s absolutely a process that goes with getting ready for a baby. One that has gotten easier with each one! Today I’m sharing some lists and tips for getting organized before baby comes. These apply to my life, but maybe other expectent mamas can take some of these ideas and use them in their own.

Amazon Prime

I’m not getting money for this, I just I love Amazon Prime and know a lot of other young moms that do. For one annual fee, you can get pretty much anything you’d ever need delivered to your door in 2 days. That’s an amazing time saver and their prices are competetive, too. I also have my diapers shipped via their Subscribe and Save program and think they’re about as cheap as any other place to buy them (and then I don’t have to lug diapers home from the store.)

Baby Stuff

What is it you really need? You don’t have to go overboard with baby items! “Stuff” is helpful to care for the baby, but parents fall into the mindset that, “If I don’t have everything, I won’t be able to care for this kid.” Not true.

Minimum stuff the baby needs:

  1. A place to sleep: (crib or bassinet or pack and play–> I wouldn’t get all of those! I’ve never had a bassinet, and one of my kids slept in a pack and play for nearly the first two years of his life). Fancy rooms with all the accoutrements are fun, but not necessary.
  2. Nutrition: 
    1. If breastfeeding–> You’ll need milk storage bags, breast pads (to catch the leaking, especially the first 3 months), a pump (probably), Lansinoh breast cream.
    2. Both breast/bottle feeding–> bottles/nipples/bottle brush, bottle drying rack, burp clothes to catch all that spit up! I carry the Enfamil “to-go” sleeves of formula to keep in the diaper bag for emergency situations where I need to feed in a hurry or someone else needs to feed for me.
    3. Some sort of feeding seat will be necessary in a few months when they start eating solid foods, but I have avoided separate highchairs due to cost, taking up space and an unappealing aesthetic (to me).
  3. Clothes: Mostly onsies for the first few months of life. I like a few cute outfits for pics and special events, but frilly  outfits are more annoying than anything. Have you ever tried to put jeans on a newborn? I also like to NOT spend a lot of money on baby clothes (especially for newborns) because many, many outfits have been ruined by massive blow-outs and sometimes in my sleep-deprived state I’d rather pitch them than try to deal with the explosion. Ahead of time:
    • Sort any hand-me-downs from other siblings or donations from friends and family
    • Wash (I don’t use Dreft, just any Free and Clear detergent)
    •  Make list of needed items
    • Hang in order by size
  4. Diapering stuff: Diapers (cloth or disposable) and wipes. I use disposable and would advise not to buy too many size Newborn because babies that are 8lbs or more fit into Size 1. You don’t want diapers that run small.
  5. A car seat

Below is a PDF of my registry thoughts:

RegistryIdeas

Communication

  • Write an email draft about the baby’s birth, include the addresses of all the friends and family you want to know about your news and then stick it in your “drafts” folder
  • Thank you cards- Have plenty of cards and stamps on hand so you can quick jot a thank-you note as gifts come

Family Schedule

Figure out ways you can par down on your responabilities for awhile. For me, the 2-3 months after a baby is NOT the time to take on new volunteering options or activities. You have to know yourself and I know that I’ll be better if I keep it simple for awhile. I asked to not be put on the Kid’s Ministry schedule at church, decided not to sign my daughter up for dance, didn’t join the Parent Association at school etc. We are keeping a few essential activities going and then when the transition feels like it’s happening, I’ll reassess our commitment levels.

Health

  • Make sure all the other kids and members of the family are caught up on dentist, eye and doctor appointments.
  • Everyone in the family should get flu vaccines if baby is due during flu season (I know this topic is controversial, but I’m pro-vaccine for the most part).
  • Medications filled, over-the-counter meds stocked up.
  • If you’ll have a young baby in the winter months, make sure you have a cold mist humidfier (not warm) and saline spray to help manage illnesses. I also like the NoseFrieda nasal aspiration system for babies.

Help

If all we had to do was take care of the baby, life after baby is still a big transition, but it’s all the other stuff that makes it especially challenging at times. (Other kids, meals, cleaning, life obligations).

  • If people offer to help ahead of time, write down their names.
  • This is very budget dependent, but if you know your biggest stressor, think about getting some help to deal with it for awhile. For the first time ever, I’m hiring someone help to clean my house. Twice a month for six months. Yes, it costs money, but with 4 kids 5 and under, I think my sanity will be worth it.
  • Schedule a babysitter for 3 hours a week to get some time away.
  • Make meals ahead of time and/or keep easy to prepare meals on hand (a.k.a. the freezer meals from Trader Joe’s)-wish we had one around here!
  • Offer to do the bulk of the carpooling in the month before you deliver and have another parent take over when you deliver for a month.

Home Life Logistics

Do whatever life/home chores you can before the baby, so you don’t have to do it afterward for awhile.

  • Clean out other kids’ closets, get ready for the next season
  • Food: Make sure you’re stocked up as much as possible. I like to have quick grab options for when I’m starving from brestfeeding–> Kefir, Luna bars, Kind bars, nuts, hard boiled eggs, plenty to drink. Easy to make meals.
  • Oil change in the cars
  • Deep cleaning
  • Early shopping for birthdays, Christmas etc

Hospital

What to pack:

  • High fiber snacks (dried fruits, fiber bars etc)
  • Clothes (a maternity, a few forgiving non-maternity)
  • Slippers or flip-flops
  • Camera
  • Nice toiletries (they have terrible options at the hospital)

Think about visitors- Consider if your mentality is: “the more, the merrier” or “private is better.” You could share that ahead of time with people or when  you share your news. Example: “We’re taking visitors from 2-4 on Saturday afternoon.” Or “We’re looking forward to privacy while we’re in the hospital but we can’t wait to introduce you to our little guy!” and then just personally invite those you’d like to see you. I’m going to deliver where I work, so I think that it’s particularly important for me to figure out what I want to do!

Mama Care

After baby comes, mama care takes a back seat for a little bit. (A few weeks, but not years—don’t fall for that mentality because it doesn’t have to be that way…!) So you want to get things as ship-shape as possible before baby comes.

Things to consider:

  • Eyebrows waxed
  • Hair- Cut, color…whatever it is that you do with your hair.
  • Nails- I love a pedicure a few days before I’m due.
  • Post-baby food plan: Ok, so you’ve let your eating go a bit when you were pregnant. That’s ok. Give yourself a few (2-4? weeks) of graceful eating and then pick a time to reign it back in. I lost a bunch of weight immediately after baby #3 and then because I had been doing a lot of rationalizing of a really poor diet “because I’m breast feeding” I started putting it back on. I did a one month semi-cleanse of low sugar, sensible cards and no processed food. Bam, 13 pounds gone and almost back at my pre-preg weight after that cleanse.
  • Post-baby workout plan-No one feels sexy in the few weeks after the baby comes. That extra skin and stomach pouch from which the baby has departed is sort of maddening, so I like to think about my post-baby shape up plan (in addition to realizing I have to be patient and some of it just takes time).
    • Ideas of things to do about it pre-baby:
      • Find a trainer you trust and make an appointment with him/her a few weeks after you deliver to help get back in shape.
      • Ask friends for an at-home work-out DVD they like and buy/borrow it.
      • Buy new running shoes so you’re ready to hit the road. (I’ve got mine all ready to go!)
      • Join a gym before you deliver so that isn’t a mental barrier to stopping you after the baby comes.

Work

  • Transition out email- I send an email outlining where all my project are at and alternate contacts, as well as what I plan to tackle when I get back so everyone has a good sense of my plans.
  • Out of Office notification on (if you use it)
  • FMLA paperwork
  • Make a tentative transition back  plan with your boss
  • Keep up on work emails while you’re out (if you want…to me it’s way easier to skim emails and delete some then avoid it all together and have hundreds when I get back)

That’s all I got off the top of my head. Any fun tips for me as I head into the final days before delivery? 🙂

Blessings,

Heidi