If you’re pregnant or planning on having a baby, you might be thinking about how you can prepare yourself to make life a little easier for yourself once your baby arrives. Life with a newborn can be very challenging. Not only are you recovering from your birth and pregnancy, you are also learning how to take care of your new baby, and also doing all of this with very little sleep.
As a mum of two, I’ve gone through the newborn haze twice. I’ve also read all about experiences of different people around the world, and spoken to all of my friends who have had babies. From all of this, I’ve gathered this list of ten things that you can do before your baby arrives to help make your life easier after the newborn arrives.
Here are my top ten suggestions:
1) Make a nappy caddy
Here at Baby and Mumma Gifts, we love nappy caddies! I made a nappy caddy with each of my babies towards the end of my pregnancies, and it really helped me feel organised, and helped me to have everything together and ready when the baby came. If you’re not familiar with a nappy caddy, it’s a basket that you fill with everything you need for baby, such as nappies, cream, change mats, clothing etc. You can then have the basket with you wherever you go in the house and can tend to all baby’s needs without needing to move. You can keep it by your bed at night, and avoid having to get out of bed when feeding baby at night. During the day, you can have everything together on the couch, outside, in your room, wherever you might be with baby, and you don’t have to get up to collect items from anywhere else around the house.
2) Make a list of people who can help you when things become hard
During the early postpartum stages, you might experience the “baby blues”, or experience other emotions that can make things really challenging for you. Some new mums also experience postnatal depression or anxiety. If this happens, it’s important to have lots of support around you. This is why I recommend making a list of people who can help with their phone numbers and websites handy for you when you might need them. PANDA is a great organisation that can be on the top of your list. Your Dr can or nurse can also help. It is also a great idea to put a list of numbers of people around you, such as friends and family, who can come around and support you or take care of the baby for you when you feel overwhelmed.
3) Have a freezer full of food
This is one tip you will see written all over the internet, and for good reason! When you come home from giving birth to your baby, the last thing you want to do is to cook. You might also have heard of the “witching hour”, which is when babies have a particularly fussy period of the day when they cry more than usual, want to be held more than usual, and want to feed more. This is often right at the time when you would usually be cooking dinner. For all these reasons, having a freezer full of food ready to pull out and heat up is a wonderful help for the newborn period.
4) Pack your nappy bag in advance
I can’t be sure if other people do this too, or if it was just me, but the first time I had to go out of the house with my first baby, I had no idea what to pack in my nappy bag. I knew I would need nappies and wipes, but not sure what else. I packed a few things, and walked to the door, then remembered something I had forgotten, and had to go back and pack it. This happened at least three times, and at one point it felt like I would never get out the door! From then onwards, I had my nappy bag packed in advance. Before my second baby was born, I had packed my nappy bag ready to go at the same time as I packed my hospital bag.
5) Buy a baby carrier
A baby carrier is one of the most helpful things you can own when you have a newborn. A baby carrier allows you get up and out of the house, and get things done that you need to get done, all with hands free. A baby carrier is handy when you want to go for a walk, do the shopping, or when you have a fussy baby who wants to be held.
Personally, I loved my baby wrap carrier, (you can buy one here), but I recommend looking at a few different styles and trying them out before deciding which one is best for you.
6) Pack your hospital bag early
A big question you might ask yourself is “when should I pack my hospital bag?”. I recommend packing it early and getting it out of the way. Everyone is going to have a different idea, but I think packing your hospital bag around 28 – 30 weeks is a great idea. During my pregnancies, I packed my bags around this time and it helped me feel in control and prepared. I also know people who had to go to hospital early for things like pre-term labour scares and pregnancy complications. Having your bag already packed is one way to take a little bit of stress off, and be prepared for anything.
7) Make a postpartum care kit for yourself
After your baby is born, your body is also recovering. Having a prepared kit of products for yourself and your own recovery is a great way to ensure your own needs are being met. Some of the supplies you need will include pads, nursing pads, and nursing balm. Some other things you might find helpful include: perineum spray, breast discs, and disposable or mesh underwear. I recommend putting all these items together into a kit and avoiding the need for going out to buy anything during the early postpartum period.
Check out our postpartum essentials section here.
8) Stock up on baby and postpartum supplies
This one is fairly self-explanatory. You are going to need lots of nappies, wipes, clean baby clothing, burp cloths, cream and more. Buy plenty in advance so you’re not having to go out and buy any right after giving birth. Newborns need up to 12 nappies a day, so make sure you buy plenty. This is helpful so you have everything there ready to go, but also to avoid having to go to the shops right after having your baby.
9) Hire a cleaner or a postpartum doula
If you are able to, afford it, I totally recommend getting yourself a cleaner, or even a postpartum doula after having your baby. Having someone to come and take care of some of the house work for you takes such a load off you new parents, and allows you to focus on your baby and your own recovery. I hired a cleaner after having my second baby, and I have had one ever since, and I still think this is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. If this isn’t something you are able to afford, chat to your close friends and family to see if they can come and help you with housework right after your baby is born and help take the pressure off. You could also ask for cleaning vouchers in lieu of baby shower gifts.
10) Plan social activities for yourself
Think about yourself and what you need to keep yourself happy, and healthy. Plan how you are going to be able to do this with a baby. For example, you might like to join a new mothers group, a mum and baby exercise group, or another parents group. You might also like to spend time catching up with friends who also have babies or children. Plan some of these activities in advance, even if you don’t end up following through with them, it can be very helpful to have plans in place in advance so you can look forward to them.
This list was my top ten favourite tips for preparing for life with a newborn and making life easier for yourself after your baby is born. Do you have any other tips? We’d love to hear from you!