Welcome to my page new mama. This time has been exciting for me as I’m sure it has been for you as well. Even with all that might be happening, you have a new tiny family member on the way.
It is normal to be feeling different things like stress or anxiety. There are so many things to figure out and plan and life often has a lot going on and even being pregnant often doesn’t slow that down. I’ve been there and there is a lot to get done before the baby is out.
I’ve sat down and researched and talked to future moms or current moms to try to work out a plan to work with so I don’t feel like I’m missing something with the coming process.
With this list, I’ll be better prepared and you as well. Then we can both find ourselves in a situation where we can relax and enjoy the little one instead of stressing.
So let’s get to it!
- Organize your Support System
- Getting the Home Ready
- Stock Your Nursery
- Pack Your Hospital Bag
- Prepare for Postpartum
- Clean Your Spaces
- Prep for Guests
- Stock your Pantry/Fridge and Freezer
- THE ESSENTIALS
- Test-Out and Inspect Gear
- Install Your Car Seat
- Take a Baby Class
- Update Your Will
- Talk to your Boss and HR Department
- Pre-Register at your Hospital
- Organize for Caretakers For Children or Pets
- Hospital Visitors
- Birth Plan
- Last Minute Fun
- Organize a Vacation
- Maternity Photos
- Keep Your Gas Tank Ready
- Pre-Pay Bills
- You’re Set
Organize your Support System
It helps to find people to bounce ideas off of and give you support. You might like to get advice from your mother or trusted female relative or you might enjoy going to mom groups and finding some support there.
Having a feeling of community is important to help you offload your worries and stay mentally better. Husbands and boyfriends can also only offer so much, so it is good to have other people to help as well.
I recommend not posting any sensitive pictures you don’t want out there to public groups. Save that for a trusted ingroup in your own private chats. Build friendships and have nice conversations. I’m introverted and even I have managed alright since we live in the world of online groups.
It helps a ton to just talk with other women who are going through similar things and finding some new mom friends. They will listen and give you support or information and often be resources for all kinds of valuable advice you wouldn’t learn otherwise.
Getting the Home Ready
The first thing I tackled when learning I was pregnant was beginning to prepare how our nursery would look. A lot of time is spent worrying about how the nursery will look or what sort of theme it will have and all the décor concerns. All I can say is I’m glad I started on that early.
When shopping for cribs there were a couple key things I noticed. A lot of them seemed really flimsy and the more sturdy and better quality the crib, the higher the price tag. I got my crib off of Facebook marketplace for $48 and there is a whole story there. The total price came out to something more like $60 though the crib bought new was originally in the $200 range more or less.
The goal here is to have everything big purchased and ready so hopefully, everything major will be bought about a month and a half in advance of the due date. Babies sometimes come earlier than expected so it is good to have things as prepared ahead of time so there is less to worry about after it is out.
On my must have list:
- A Crib + Crib Mattress: This isn’t always needed right away, you can also opt to co with a bassinet or a co-sleeper option. I opted for a 3 in 1 crib where it should cover sleeping needs from infant until the child is around 4.
- Rocker: The big thing here is a comfortable dedicated mom space chair. You will spend a lot of time here while tending to the baby so it needs to be comfortable.
- Changing Area: For my changing table I converted a regular white Ikea dresser we already had and put a changing pad on top. We figured that it would be beneficial because after the baby phase it can go back to being a dresser an will grow with the baby when it comes time to furniture for a toddler room. We have a rolling storage organizer that goes along with it for easy access to diapering needs.
- Video Baby Monitor: The products meant specifically for things cost quite a bit. For our own system we are opting for a camera that works by sending to a cellphone feed since we already have the cams from an old security system install. The investment is worthwhile because you can see the baby or hear the baby at any time. Having visual helps reduce a lot of stress.
- Black-out Curtains: Our baby is place in a spot where it doesn’t have curtains. If it did we would buy black-out curtains. Keeping their space darker when they sleep seems to help them have more ideal sleep schedules and less irritation.
Stock Your Nursery
Once your nursery if ready you have to get all the other supplies:
- Diapers & Wipes: It is good to stockpile some diapers of various sizes and brands. Figure out what works for you. If you plan on doing cloth diapers, you will also want a variety of sizes and styles. You should have diapers for newborns and one size up.
- Onesies: Have at least a week’s worth in newborn size + the next size-up. Try to buy the kind that is easy to remove in the event of a diaper mishap.
- Footie PJs: It is nice to have a few of these. My brother was pretty much only kept in these when he was little
- Swaddle Blankets: Soft and stretchy are best. Often the hospital will give you some though those blankets often aren’t very good.
- Nursing Supplies: If breastfeeding, you need all your pumping and milk storage supplies as well as guards or creams.
- Tiny clothes: You might want an assortment of infant clothing. Just be sure to wash them with baby-safe soaps or detergents.
Pack Your Hospital Bag
You want to get that hospital bag ready and possibly stashed away in your car. Babies sometimes come early and you might forget your bag when you are too excited and rushing out the door. While you are focusing on the nursery it helps to use some of those preps to help with your hospital bag.
Prepare for Postpartum
You will want to figure out a postpartum kit with all the things you’ll need: pads, peri bottle, pain-numbing spray, etc. The hospital usually gives a starter kit for new moms, just be sure you have supplies to last you a few weeks.
Clean Your Spaces
Before baby comes is a good time to declutter and do any cleaning. People might toss out stuff that isn’t baby safe or put expensive things in storage that might get ruined by young children. Now is also a good time to do any carpet deep cleans and get rid of grime or dusty corner mess.
Prep for Guests
After new babies are born it isn’t uncommon for family and friends to either visit or stay for a few weeks to help. If you expect your mom, aunt or sister to come visit and help you will want to prep your guest room or guest space where they will be staying. You want basic things like clean bedding, towels, and any other basic thing you think your guest will need.
Stock your Pantry/Fridge and Freezer
It is good to have as much of your food needs for those weeks ready way ahead of time. You will want some meal plans and a good assortment of various foods to keep you set.
It helps to stock up a bunch of freezer meals and easy-to-cook meals. I’ve been getting a bunch of freezer meatloaf in the works as well as a wide range of dump meals. You will not want to have to worry about food for a while if you can avoid all that. One mom advised me to make double portions for meals so I can freeze half for after-baby use. I’m trying that as well.
Test-Out and Inspect Gear
Another nugget of advice from mom is to go ahead and acquire the big “gear” purchases. It can take a bit to get used to how to use a car seat or how to get the stroller use down. Many parents will buy them and leave them in their brand new box and only start to test them once the baby is out.
You want to make sure you have the basics down so you are ready and also test for any defective items. You do not want a defective car seat the day you are set to bring your baby home.
Some parents also get a lot of gently used stuff from family, swap groups, or Facebook marketplace. You want to test and inspect everything before the day arrives.
Install Your Car Seat
It is usually preferable to have your car seat set in your hospital delivery vehicle you plan to use. You will be unable to take the infant home from the hospital unless you have a properly installed car seat.
It helps to just have it ready and in the car properly. Manufacturer instructions will tell you to install it rear-facing in the back seat. Make sure the straps are already set where buckling should be easy. If in doubt, check a high authority resource to make sure your car seat is installed correctly.
Take a Baby Class
Since this is my first pregnancy and I haven’t held a baby since back when I used to babysit, I felt it would help to take some refresher classes on baby and infant care. It is also useful to pick up infant CPR as they are fragile and it is good to know. Other classes can help you prepare for labor or delivering and you learn about surviving contractions and how to push.
Many hospitals have these classes for free or your insurance might offer payment of such things. There are also a lot of free sources on Youtube if you want to work through some of the various courses. They range from delivery, to breastfeeding, to infant care and other such things.
My partner hasn’t cared for babies before so he is finding it useful to watch courses about diapers, washing, swaddling, and general advice from dads. This is a great time to build confidence for both you and your partner.
Update Your Will
Seems like a lot of people neglect this aspect of life, but it is important to update your will or any financial accounts you want going directly to your children in case of some unexpected event.
My partner thinks I’m being morbid every time I bring this up. His perspective is, “We aren’t going to be dying”. The thing is nobody plans to die, but the consequences of not having stuff in place leave children vulnerable, or unintended weird things happen.
Talk to your Boss and HR Department
When you break out of the first trimester it is good to talk to your HR Department to plan for how maternity leave will go, figure out if you will get paid or unpaid leave, and for how long. You also will want to figure out how easy it will be to add the new baby to your health insurance plan if you are insured through work.
This is also a good time for your partner to do the same as new dads need to plan for paternity leave as well as review their worker rights, state rights, and any other relevant entity to help them.
Pre-Register at your Hospital
Some hospitals let you get your paperwork worked out before you go into labor. If you have this option, it helps so you don’t have to worry about paperwork while you are worrying about contractions and delivering.
Organize for Caretakers For Children or Pets
If you have other children to worry about or your pets, it helps to get things organized for the person you plan to have watch them while you are at the hospital. They will need all essential numbers or care instructions. They might also need scheduling information like when to pick children up in the event they have any activities planned.
Covid or not it is important to figure out how you will handle visitors ahead of time. You might have a pushy mom or mother-in-law insisting on being in the room when you give birth. You want to make sure everyone understands your wishes going into this so you can help mitigate drama ahead of time.
This follows from the previous section, you can think up a birth plan with your doctor or for your doctor when you get admitted. You can instruct them on how you would like your delivery to go if you want an epidural, who you want present, or any other details you think are relevant. The plan might change though if there is an emergency. You might want a natural birth and end up with an emergency C-section.
Last Minute Fun
When the baby is out there won’t be a lot of time for fun at first. You will be busy with around the clock feeding and changing so a lot of usual adult freedoms will go missing for a while. It is advised to use this time to get some last-minute pampering in before the baby arrives.
Organize a Vacation
Now is an excellent time to get any last-minute vacations out of the way. It is good to spend some time as a couple and enjoy the sight and date nights. Travel will be unlikely for a while after the baby is out.
Most women like to arrange some maternity photos. You will enjoy seeing your family photos and kids often like this sort of family history too.
Keep Your Gas Tank Ready
In the last weeks, it helps to keep your tank full or half full so you won’t have to worry about such things during the delivery window.
Most of your bills are probably set to auto-pay. In case you have any manal pay bills, go ahead and have them pre-paid for the next month or two so you don’t have to worry as much about forgetting them during the newborn time.
This covers most of the bigger things. There are lesser concerns or things to figure out like naming and baby photos, though you can figure that out when it is convenient to do so. Enjoy the newborn phase and remember they grow fast!