The first few weeks following the birth of your newborn will be a joyous and overwhelming period.
Not just for you but your baby as well, as they will be spending this period adapting to the outside world. You will need to juggle a lot. From bonding with your baby to attending to all the guests who will come bearing congratulatory messages.
To ensure that you handle all this without compromise, you must start preparing early. Because when it comes to being a new parent, preparation goes beyond choosing a name for the baby.
Preparing for your newborn ensures that you avoid last minute rush, get everything in order, and make your transition to parenthood a bliss. Without preparation, you might be too busy sacrificing every second you’d have spent cuddling with your new bundle of joy.
So how do you prepare for those first few weeks with your newborn?
This guide outlines ten steps you need to take to get ready.
Stock Up on All Essential Items
The first few weeks can be chaotic, and stocking up helps you make it less unbearable.
You want to spend the first few weeks taking care of your baby and not making countless trips to Target or Walmart because you need more toilet paper or detergent. You save yourself this time by bulk-buying every household item you will need.
Some essentials you should stock up on before the baby arrives include:
- Paper towels and napkins – because you will spend a lot of time wiping up spills and baby spit-ups.
- Laundry detergents – You will need to change your newborn’s clothes (and yours because they will spit on you) multiple times per day, which means a lot of time spent by the washing machine.
- Hand sanitizers and wipes – These will help you ensure that people (and yourself) don’t touch your baby with germs on their hands.
- Prescriptions – If you or your partner is on any medications, get at least three months’ worth of prescriptions in advance. Also, stock up on essential over-the-counter medicine like Ibuprofen.
- Different types of bags – trash bags for used diapers, freezer bags for fruits, etc.
- Toiletries– stock up on toothpaste, shampoo, razors, face wash, deodorant, and moisturizers
- Groceries – non-perishable groceries like coffee, cooking oil, pasta, and your household staples
Baby Proof Your House
One of the new parents’ most significant mistakes is thinking it’s too early to baby-proof a house. After all, it takes months before the baby starts crawling or thinking of inserting anything into an outlet. Or hitting their head on the edge of a table during playtime. And all that’s true, but baby-proofing your home is more than that.
For instance, the important early steps you must take include the things you usually overlook. Like fixing your broken carbon monoxide and smoke detectors or replacing old alarms. Other early steps you need to take to baby-proof your home include:
- Installing nanny cameras and baby monitors in the nursery
- Removing anything that your child might reach from the floor, in the nursery, or feeding area
- Cover sharp edges and take sharp objects out of the baby’s reach
- Install non-slip backing under rugs and loose carpets, so you, the baby, or anyone doesn’t slip on them
- Keep pet foods away from your kid’s food
- Install safety gates and barriers
- Anchor heavy objects to the wall
- Keep trash cans far from your kid’s reach
- Fix all loose-fitting furniture in your house
Prepare All Baby Gear
As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, you want to ensure that you have everything they need ready. You can’t exhaust the list of things you need to buy. Therefore, you need to start by prioritizing and stocking up on the essentials first.
The approach to take is to group baby gears into categories. It will help ensure you get all the vital gear.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Grooming and first aid kit: Consider buying a grooming kit containing baby bath accessories, grooming products like baby nail clippers, and a first aid kit with bandages and a digital thermometer.
- Bedding and sleeping gear: Get your baby crib, mattress, and different types of sheets ready. You should also buy waterproof mattress covers.
- Baby furniture: This includes changing tables, baby rockers, dressers, baby swings, feeding tables, and strollers.
- Clothing: You should have your baby’s clothing needs ready before their birth. Stock Up on onesies, baby socks, sleep racks, and baby hats for different seasons.
- Diapers: Apart from packs of diapers, ensure that you also buy a diaper bag, disposable wipes, diaper rash cream, and cloth diapers.
- Feeding gear: Some items you’ll need include feeding bottles, burp cloths, nursing pads, breastfeeding pillows, breast pumps, and bottle nipples.
Arrange For Help
As much as you’d love to spend all the time with your child, there will be moments when you have to leave them behind and attend to other duties. When that happens, you want to ensure that you have a trustable person looking after your kid. You want to plan for that ahead of time.
There are multiple routes you can take depending on your needs. If you’ll be away for a couple of hours every day or every other day, maybe going to the gym or work, you might want to consider a part-time nanny or babysitter.
And if you are looking for someone to simply help you through the first few weeks and someone you can trust, consider family members. For example, grandma or grandpa could be very ready to help. You can also use this option if you or your partner has to return to work soon.
Book Appointments With a Pediatrician
Once your child arrives and all the parental instinct kicks in, their health will become your most significant concern. And as any loving parent, you want to ensure that you will let the best specialists attend to your child. But this doesn’t happen overnight; it needs early preparation.
You must spend your last trimester looking for the best pediatricians to attend to your child. You can start by getting recommendations from friends and family and reading reviews online. Next, you should narrow down to one that accepts your insurance plan. The final step will be interviewing each one on their list until you get one you are impressed with.
It doesn’t stop there. If you already know your birth date, you should book appointments for clinic visits and immunizations. Your pediatricians will usually help you with this. Making early appointments will ensure your kids get timely checkups, and you avoid the inconvenience of missing your doctor when you need them.
Prepare Your Meal Plans
The first few days will be easy. Friends and neighbors will bring you food, and family will stay over to cook for you, but that’s always short-lived. Soon, they’ll all leave, leaving you to fend for yourself.
The following weeks aren’t going to be a walk in the park. Between the whirlwind of cuddles and diaper changes, you will struggle to figure out what to make for breakfast or dinner. But by prepping your meals and planning, you can alleviate some of that stress.
Meal prepping will help you save time and ensure that you and your partner are fed around the clock. You are also likely to eat a healthier diet, reduce dependency on take-outs, and reduce waste.
When prepping your meal, you should ensure that you pick food with a long shelf life. Food that can stay in your freezer for two months. Additionally, consider getting food that’s easy to cook and that you can prepare when your baby is taking a nap. Finally, remember to stock up on some healthy snacks and energy bites.
Get Your Car Seat Installed
This is one of the most important steps you can not overlook when preparing for your newborn. And then realize their mistake at the last minute.
If you are planning on giving birth at the hospital, keep in mind that you won’t be allowed to leave until after hospital staff has inspected your car seat.
Doing this early ensures you shop for the best car seat for your car and have it installed properly. Studies show that 9 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly. Often, this results from parents not taking enough time to research and pick the best car seat for their child.
You should also avoid installing the seat by yourself and instead have an expert do it. Depending on your car, they’ll help you identify the best place to position the seat, whether you should go with front facing or not, among other safety factors.
The best daycare centers usually have waiting lists. If you are planning to use them following your child’s birth, it’s better to start researching, comparing different providers, and, importantly, booking a spot for your baby.
How do you do this?
First, start by asking for recommendations from your loved ones. Next, do online research. Read reviews and get to understand what makes different daycares stand out. The next step is making an unannounced visit to various daycares to get a feel of how they handle their business.
Finally, interview the daycare provider by asking the right questions. Some things you might want to know include how they discipline kids, their philosophy, and their policy. Also, ask if they can offer tailored services that you want for your child.
Update Your Insurance Plans
Before you give birth, ensure that you have all your insurance papers planned out. Talk to your policy providers and then start the process of adding your child to your cover. This will help you avoid the hustle of having to deal with all the paperwork after the baby’s arrival.
This is also the perfect time to ensure that you can get the best pediatricians using your cover and that they’re not miles away from you. If your current plan won’t serve you better after your baby’s arrival, start shopping for a new one and add them to your cover immediately after they’re born.
Some other vital insurance to consider is education and life insurance for your child.
Get All other Paperwork in Order
Some other documents you should prepare are a birth certificate, social security card, immunization card, and a will.
The birth certificate process will usually be handled by hospital administrators. However, you should also get a social security number at the hospital when providing your kid’s birth certificate details. This will simplify the process. If you wait to start later, you might have to wait weeks as the Social Security Administration verifies your document and your kid’s identity.
You should also make plans for immunization. Ensure you leave the hospital after the birth with an immunization card that outlines all the vaccines your kids will need and when they’ll need them.
Finally, update your will. If you want your child to be your heir, you need to put that in writing, or they might have no claim to your estate in case of your demise. And remember, you can do this before their birth.
Preparation Guarantees Peace of Mind
When expecting a baby, you can never be fully prepared. Every little effort you make ensures you won’t have to hustle or juggle too much when your baby finally arrives. Every little thing you put in place today guarantees you a few more minutes of mummy time with your newborn tomorrow.
While you prepare for all the good things, you should also prepare to ensure you are ready for the experience. You can do this by reading parenting books, consuming parenting content, or even taking classes on changing diapers. This will keep you physically ready for the tasks of motherhood.
Finally, you should plan for the not-so-good moments. The sleepless nights, fatigue, new forms of stress, and emotions of having a baby. Ensure to arrange for loved ones who can help you escape once in a while to have your time.