1. Organize your home before the baby arrives. You won’t believe how much clutter a newborn can bring to a house! It all begins with that first baby. Get a head start by carefully planning and organizing ahead of time. Here are some ideas:
- Put a basket in every main room for toys. It’s a cinch to pick up all the toys and toss them into the basket at the end of the day, and your child can learn to do this independently at a very young age.
- A well organized changing table: we use my parents old vanity.
- Designate a place in the kitchen for bibs, baby bottles, baby dishes & utensils, etc. or they will take over your counters and drawers.
- Organize baby clothes in boxes by gender, season & size in a storage area. You’ll be going through baby clothes every two or three months.
- Make sure laundry is cleaned, folded, and put away.
- Put batteries in toys and baby equipment is put together. With a newbie in the house you will not have a time or the energy to that care of these things. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself and enjoy your new baby!
2. Use a Backpack diaper bag. Forget the standard diaper bag. We parents need use of both our hands as much as possible. An ideal one would have two halves: one for the diaper bag, one for your purse items. Keep your purse and diaper bag items simple and organized (use Ziploc baggies if you need to), and you’ll be set! A couple rules of thumb: always have one more diaper than you think you need; always have one change of clothes until the child is beyond potty-training; have a plastic bag to put soiled clothes in; and make sure you have a back-up binky or burp cloth or whatever your baby gets attached to, if applicable.
3. Freeze meals ahead of time. This is a great tip for those that do not have family members living close by and you can’t always depend on people coming over with several meals. All you have to do is freeze half of your dinner every night about a month or two before the baby arrives. Doing this will save you time, money, and energy in the long run. By the time the baby arrives, you will have about 3 weeks of dinners prepared!
4. When friends and family members offer to help…take it! Whether it’s to pick up items at the store, watch the baby so you can catch up on much needed rest, or assist with household chores.
5. Find a way to get your sleep. Don’t feel bad about turning people away. When we had our daughter my husband and I limited our visitors to one a day, turned off our phones, and put a note on our front door. Since our friends and family were anxious to see the new baby, this was the only way we could get some quiet and alone time. Just remember you need to take care of yourself!
RELAX AND ENJOY! This stage will be over before you know it, and babies are so precious. Enjoy this time fully. I hope these tips encourage and enable you to be a successful, joyful parent. They should also give you an idea of what’s ahead. Good luck and happy parenting to you!