Bringing home a newborn baby is a major upheaval for any household, life for every family member changes as soon as the little one has arrived. You’ll have nearly 9 months (give or take) to prepare everybody and everything as much as possible before the due date, so consider the information and ideas in this article; they may help everyone settle into their new situation more smoothly.
For such tiny humans, babies require a lot of stuff. If you already have kids, you know what’s coming; a beautiful, crying, needy bundle of joy that you won’t be able to take your eyes off. Make a list of items you already have; maybe you’ve kept your first born’s crib in the attic, things you’re happy to get secondhand, and all the fresh new gear you’ll need to buy. Try to write as much of this list as early-on as possible, that way budgeting and spreading the cost of everything should be easier.
If you are planning to re-purpose items you bought for your children previously, ensure they are in good shape. Get the crib or stroller down from the attic, clean it up and make sure it’s working as it should. If items aren’t working quite right, see if they’re easily fixed, or if they’re completely past using, you are best to budget there and then for a new one; rather than paying for it at a time that might not be very financially convenient.
Assuming you have a nursery set-up already; many items can be put in there. Aside from making it a visually calming space for baby and parents to be in, make sure it’s as functional as possible. The nursery may well be the room your new family member sleeps, feeds, is dressed, plays and has their diaper changed; so smart storage solutions and furniture placement are key issues to consider. For example, if there’s space underneath the changing table, make use of it; it’s a great place to put some drawers or shelves. Look out for unused spaces and nooks; it’s always worth seeing if there’s room for more storage; and the more surfaces, the better. For some inspiration on how to make the most of the space within a nursery; take a look here.
If you already have a kid or a couple of them, and they are going to have to share their bedroom with the baby, it’s worth putting some real time and effort into making it a positive situation. It’s always good to get the kids involved in these types of projects; and they will, in turn, become excited about baby’s arrival; but more about that in a little while. Talk to your kid about what colors they think the baby might like; you could suggest they’ll like the same style and colors as them. Most importantly is to create a clear divide; so that the older child still feels they have their own space to play, read and sleep. As previously stated, these spaces should be functional and full of storage, however, don’t forget to have fun with them as they’re only kids for a short while. Check out these flexible design ideas for your kid’s bedroom.
Getting Everyone Excited
It’s usually quite difficult for kids to adjust and adapt to their new sibling. Sometimes jealousy and resentment can happen due to the baby getting most of the time and attention. No child can prepare for what’s about to happen; however, you can encourage positive associations with the baby before they come home. When your child feels happy and excited about the situation beforehand, there is less likely to be any tension or upset when the baby enters the household. Give them a gift and say it’s from the baby and get them involved in all the preparation ahead.
Kids enjoy feeling a sense of responsibility and will appreciate the feeling that you’re putting trust in them to help look after the baby. Make a big deal about them being an older brother or sister, and this will ignite some pride in their role. You could find a custom T Shirt, ask them to pick a special “big sibling” gift or a book that they could read to them. Assigning tasks and plenty of positive reinforcement will get everybody on board for when there’s a new baby on board.
Retaining your own space (and sanity)
For the first few weeks or months of their life, your new baby may well be sleeping in your bedroom; this does not mean your bedroom has to become a sea of baby stuff! It’s important for parents to have a familiar and comfortable space to go and relax in (even if you can only grab 5 minutes). If you retain the identity of your room, it will help you both wind down, and you won’t lose yourself under a heap of diapers and baby grows.
Try to ensure there are environments within your home that don’t change. These rooms, nooks, and corners will be of great comfort when the 24/7 job of looking after a newborn becomes overwhelming (which, let’s face it, it will). You can prepare by keeping these places free from baby gear and getting them as comfortable as possible. It’s going to be important for you and your partner to spend time in these “grown-up” areas; both alone and as a couple.
This section is a mixture of getting your dog as prepared for a tiny infant as possible, and getting your house ready for both to coexist (you never know, they might end up as best buddies, but that will take time). It’s essential to limit the shock to your beloved dog by getting them used to new routines before the baby arrives. Think about the spaces you won’t want your pet to go when the baby is at home, and start to implement those rules well in advance; this will illuminate any negative associations your pooch would have with the baby otherwise. Start to introduce them to all the baby gear (well, not everything; but the big, clunky stuff) and reassure them that it’s all okay and everyone is happy and safe. The last thing you want is a dog that’s terrified of a stroller when all you need to do is take the dog for a walk while you push the stroller!
Ensure your dog or cat have their own area to relax in and feel safe (much like your “grown-up” space talked about earlier). Extra toys and treats in their crate, basket or pen, will make being sent to those areas an enjoyable experience and they may well end up taking themselves there when things get too hectic around the house. For tips on crate training your dog, see here.
All Hands On Deck
It’s time to clean and wash like never before; because the first months after the baby gets home, the duster won’t get a mention. Get bigger cleaning and organizing jobs done well in advance; you may well be inspired sort out the attic as you’re bringing out that crib mentioned previously, by all means, do it, as you’ll feel positive after a clearout. Give unwanted items to charity, or put together a yard sale; which is another constructive way to get the kids involved. Making your house as fresh and clutter free as possible before the baby is born will give the household a productive boost (because after the baby gets home, the clutter will creep back; it always does).
Nearer the due date is a favorable time to ensure as much dust and debris is cleaned as possible, clothes are washed, hung, or folded away and, if you own a freezer, get cooking. Put your chef’s hat on and find some nutritious and filling recipes that you can make in bulk. You’ll be able to put these into meal portions and then freeze them; you’re partner and kids will be eternally grateful for the endless supply of home-cooked dinners that only need to be heated up. Have a look at some awesome tools to help dads save time in the kitchen here.
Stockpiling And Last Minute Checks
If you think you have enough diapers, wipes and baby powder; think again (and go to the store and triple what you’ve already bought). You will always be running out of something in those first months when your bundle gets home, so it’s worth stockpiling any of the storage space you have left with anything baby related that’s either disposable or consumable. It’s a gratifying feeling when you know you’ve got enough of everything; because if the little one needs formula at 2 am, it may well be you who has to go out and source some.
The nursery is freshly decorated, the chores are completed, the kids are excited, the dog’s in his crate, and there’s food in the freezer. You’re pretty much ready to go, well, as ready as you can be. Wait; have you checked the car? Is the gas tank full? Make sure your keys are where you can find them too; okay, now you’re ready to go.