Tips To Prepare Your Home For A Newborn
Whether you just bought a house or are a longtime homeowner, it can still be a daunting task to prepare your home for a newborn. That is especially true if you are expecting the birth of your first child. Obviously, you will want to make preparations long before you go into labor.
Obviously you will rely on friends and family for advice, but in the event they are not available or you are seeking out answers for yourself, this checklist will help. There really is no substitute to being ready, so do not procrastinate, and be sure to follow the tips below to prepare your home for a newborn!
Your Baby Will Need A Place To Sleep
Now that is obvious but there is more to it then that so you need to weigh your options before deciding on a course of action. For instance, some may choose a co-sleep option and will not buy any type of bed for a newborn. Many others will buy a crib, Moses basket, and/or bassinet. It is entirely up to you.
Another thing you should plan ahead is a bedroom for your baby. Initially you may choose to share a bedroom with your newborn to monitor them or for convenience of feedings. How quickly or slowly they get their own space is a personal decision but you should plan ahead for the eventuality of not sharing a bedroom with your baby.
The first year of your baby’s life will be packed with diaper changing, and you will need a clean and convenient working station for this activity. Your options are limited here but the style and location are not, especially if you or a loved one are handy. You could buy/make a changing table or settle with a changing pad which can be placed anywhere there is a flat surface.
Do not fret if you do not have enough time or money to initially setup a space. You will soon find you can change your baby’s diaper basically anywhere. On top of a bed, low cabinet, table, or even the floor will do the trick. Just make sure you sanitize common areas after changing your baby.
Provide Clothing For A Newborn
A pretty basic need. But, have you seen the prices for new baby clothes? Yikes! Let family buy the initial clothes if that is an option since newborns grow so quickly and you will not get as much use out of the clothes as you think you might. Instead, focus on 6 months+ if possible.
There is nothing wrong with getting hand-me-downs or buying used. In fact, you can save a lot of money that you will need elsewhere if you forego buying new and instead buy clothes at yard sales, thrift stores, or use old baby clothes from your relatives and close friends.
Ensure you have plenty of room to store, by size, the items you acquire. While a dresser is the obvious choice, you can also get decent closet and under-the-bed storage options if you shop around.
Purchase Bottles and/or A Breast Pump
Babies eat, sleep, and poop. Period. Having a plan for feedings is fairly easy as you will breast feed, bottle feed, or use a combination of the two. Of course these are personal choices so do what you feel is best for your particular situation. In some cases, for women who have difficulties breastfeeding, the choice to bottle feed will be made for you.
If you decide to breastfeed, buying a pump is an option you will want to consider. One of the benefits of a breast pump is it will allow you to plan ahead for future meals. This is beneficial as your significant other can periodically do the 2:00am feeding and allow you to catch up on a few hours of sleep. 😉
Prepare Your Car For The Baby
Your newborn needs to be strapped in a child restraint system in order to take them home from the hospital. In fact, anytime they ride in the vehicle ensure they are safely strapped in. Not sure what you need? Check out this handy car seat recommendations for children resource.
This is another purchase that may be more practical to buy used or acquire from a family or friend, especially if the car seat is in good condition and/or relatively new. Like all things given, if you keep it in good shape, consider paying it forward to someone else when your baby moves up to a larger sized car seat. Think safety first whatever you decide!
De-Clutter The House
Chances are you will be nesting before the baby arrives so use the opportunity to de-clutter, clean, and get organized if your energy level allows. If you are in the midst of a rental or home ownership move, it could be beneficially to leave the job to a bond cleaning expert or other professional service to free up some much needed time. Whatever the case, the cleaner and more organized your home is before the baby arrives, the better. You will initially be too tired to deal with those chores once the baby is born so tackle the tasks while you can.
The easiest way to dispose of all unneeded items is to organize a yard sale or donate to charity. If there is stuff which is more valuable and you do not have enough space for it, consider renting storage space so you can still enjoy the items in the future.
Install A Screen Door
In case you decided to set up a nursery for your newborn, it is worth considering changing the standard door with a wooden screen door. It is unorthodox, but they are incredibly practical and can help protect your baby’s room from pets and curious guests, and you will be able to hear any sounds and see through the screen without disturbing your newborn.
If you are creative, they are very easy to paint and decorate to match the rest of the nursery. Another good addition is a decorative window shade or colorful blinds which will help shut out light so your baby can sleep. It is a practical way to be protective while maintaining functionality at the same time.
Get A Rocking Chair
This worked for both of my children and for countless others I know. The rocking motion is soothing, is convenient for feedings, and ideal for when you want to help your baby get back to sleep. They are relatively inexpensive and can be an excellent addition to any room without clashing with the existing décor. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles and will be a blessing during those long nights when you just cannot seem to get any rest.
Make Your Home Baby Friendly
You should start making your house baby friendly months before he/she arrives. Convenience is a key as you will need easy and quick access to a variety of baby essentials during your child’s first year. Baby proofing is a continual effort and should be re-done in all stages of your baby’s development.
Of course, once your kid starts crawling, you will need to re-evaluate your home safety needs and make necessary modifications. Once your little one learns to walk, you will need to update your proofing system. Start working on making your home as baby friendly as possible, as quickly as is practical, and you will save yourself plenty of time as they begin to grow.
Purchase High-Quality Literature
Whether you are expecting your firstborn or have some previous experience raising children, having a handy baby care book is always a good option. While past experiences (if you have them) and even family, friends, and the Internet can be good resources, it is smart to better educate yourself on each of the development stages your baby will go through.
Being prepared for the myriad of issues and concerns that will crop up will help keep you level headed and aid in your decision-making process to learn, solve, and prevent future situations from getting out of control. Having high quality literature close by provides peace of mind and confidence when you most need the help.
Capture The Most Important Moments
Technology has come a long way in the past 25 years. Now it is easier than ever to capture every moment and preserve those treasured memories in a variety of ways and formats. Take advantage of the opportunities you have and when they are older the images/videos will not only be nostalgic but will be a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and share those precious memories with others (especially your kids).
Get Some Baby Gear
Think of buying a swing, which can be useful when your baby grows up a bit. It is really nice to have a bouncer, baby carrier or a play mat as well. Another useful item that is a must on many parents lists is a baby monitor, which will come in handy if your baby is in another room.
All of this items are relatively inexpensive and would make great baby shower gifts which will save you the cost of purchasing them yourself. As your child grows and develops their own unique personality, you can change the baby swag to fit their particular needs.
There are plenty of ways to prepare your home for a newborn, and those mentioned above should help out considerably during the newborn phase. As your baby grows, you will see what he/she prefers and can adjust your style accordingly.
While it is satisfying and important to buy “stuff” to help get you started and to maintain a balanced home-front, there is no substitute for love and attention. Happy days as you prepare your home for a newborn baby!
Additional Newborn Tips and Advice
Tips for your first 30 days via parents.com
Baby Health Guide on WebMD
First-Time Parents Guide at kidshealth.org