Today I’m sharing my New Mom’s Guide: Smart Ways on How to Prepare for Baby! Before having my son, I found myself constantly searching online for all of the things I needed to do and how to prepare for the baby. I’d then feel overwhelmed and nervous that I would forget something and be unprepared after reading lists that gave me 35 things (35 THINGS! WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!) I needed to be doing that instant or all hell would break loose. I’m here to tell ya – don’t stress mama. Most of those things are extra and unnecessary. Below I’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should do to prepare before baby comes and then 5 things you don’t need to be doing or wasting our energy on. Let us know in the comments below if you have anything you’d add to either list!
5 things you DON’T need to waste time or energy on before baby
- Writing up a birth plan. While I strongly believe you should research and have an ideal birth plan, as well as talk about different scenarios prior to giving birth with your partner and doctor – I wasted time actually writing it down, printing it, and bringing it to my doctor. I’m pretty sure she put it in my file and never looked at it again, and it wasn’t shared with the hospital so it was a complete waste of time. Have a rough outline of what you want, communicate that to everyone who is going to be in the room, and call it a day.
- Buying too many diapers and wipes of the same brand before having my baby. Every single one of my girlfriends who’s had a baby has a different diaper and wipe preference. What you’re going to like and what works for your baby is probably going to be different from whoever told you what the “best” brand is. We made the mistake of stocking up on one diaper brand before the baby came and ended up switching to a new one entirely after a few too many leaks and blowouts. After switching, we didn’t have any issues and we’ve never changed brands since! We donated and gifted the other brand, but don’t feel like you have to stockpile one thing before you know what you like.
- Nursery perfection. It’s fun to decorate and have the nursery ready when the baby comes, but just know if something is back ordered or you haven’t had time to get every single thing you want before the baby comes, that is okay. There’s a high chance the baby is going to sleep in your room for a while in the beginning, so you have more time than you think.
- Don’t put too many non-essential things on your registry, especially in the beginning. I had a girlfriend who put a ton of adorable clothes on her registry – along with the more necessary items. She ended up with a ton of clothes and hardly any of the items she would actually need and that really added up from a financial standpoint. Try sticking to essential items or things that would really help you out if you were gifted them – i.e. sound machine, humidifier, changing pad, bottles, crib mattress, diaper genie, play yard, pack and play, first aid/safety kit, diaper cream, bath accessories, swaddles…you get the picture. Here is a list of all the postpartum items you will need and a list of essential items for your registry.
- Newborn shoes – you don’t need them 🙂 If you find a cute pair you want for pictures, go for it. But you really won’t need any shoes until they start walking.
5 Things YOU SHOULD Spend Time and Energy on Before Baby
- Understand what to expect postpartum (physically and emotionally). This is my #1 and I wish I could shout it from the rooftops. Read up and ask your friends who’ve had kids about what to expect postpartum / the “4th Trimester”! My girlfriend had a baby 6 months before me and the first thing she said to me was “I wish I would’ve prepared more for postpartum instead of labor…” and it completely went over my head. Get an understanding of how often baby will need to eat, your hormone changes, sleep expectations (for yourself and partner based on how often babies need to eat *around the clock*), emotional expectations, physical recovery from childbirth, etc. I did a lot of preparing for the fun parts of motherhood as well as L&D, but had no clue what I was getting into for the first 100 days or so (and really that entire first year). I think if you have an understanding going into it, it may not be such a shock if it’s your first time around.
- Have a feeding plan and then have a backup plan to that. If your goal is to breastfeed – read up on it, learn best practices, get all the “stuff” that will help you in your journey, and go for it. I would also highly recommend having a contingency plan, should breastfeeding not be in the cards, so that if and when that time comes where you need to make a decision, it’s not so stressful. Maybe you want to try and exclusively pump or maybe you want to go straight to formula. No plan is wrong – fed is best. Help your future self out and just have a couple plans so that if one doesn’t work out, you can move straight on to the next without emotionally dragging yourself for it.
- Organization. This is going to depend on each person. I personally am not overly concerned about having everything in the perfect place but for some people, being super organized gives them comfort. You may go into “nesting” mode – where you are on a mission right before you give birth to get your entire house in order, or you may not. Whatever is going to help you feel like a sane person when you’re running on 2 hours of sleep is what you should prepare for. For me, that meant organizing a cabinet space in our kitchen for bottles and feeding supplies, making sure we had all the essential items from our registry, throwing out and donating things we weren’t using anymore, I prepped an address list for birth announcements (I would’ve never gotten them out had I not done this prior), and I did a deep clean of the house. Do what you can and whatever you don’t get to, that is okay.
- If you have a job outside the home and plan to continue that post-baby – make sure that you understand your company’s maternity leave policy, as well as what work looks like when you return (any possible changes in hours to accommodate child care drop off/pick up, flexibility for doctor’s appointments, pumping/storing milk at work) – there are a lot of things to consider. Make sure that you feel comfortable and armed with all the info you need going in and out of maternity leave.
- Take time for just yourself (and your partner if you have one). Even though it’s totally possible once the baby arrives to do this – there are more logistics involved. It might be awhile before you feel comfortable leaving the baby, and it might be hard to find childcare for a date night (especially during COVID) – so just take some time to bask in the glory of childless independence while you can. If you already have kids, try and find some time to spend 1:1 with them.
Hope you found this list helpful and not overwhelming 🙂 Again – if you have any thoughts or additions, we’d love to hear them below!
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