Preparing to welcome your baby home
Everything changes when there is a baby in the house. It might feel daunting, but there are things you can do to make the transition to parenthood easier.
Slowly, you will figure out what works for your family. You will discount advice that doesn’t work for you and praise the tips that do. Together, you will find your feet as a new family.
The following suggestions will help you prepare to welcome your baby home:
Decorate the nursery
Before your baby arrives, you should prepare the nursery. Though your baby won’t sleep in the nursery for a few months, you will still get plenty of use out of the nursery. For example, you can change diapers, store clothes and play with your newborn baby in their room long before they are ready to sleep in it.
Decorating the nursery is one of the most exciting jobs when it comes to preparing for your baby’s arrival. It will allow you to prepare the things you need for your baby’s arrival on a practical level. On an emotional level, it will prepare you for parenthood. Work with your partner to pick out essential items and organise your baby’s nursery. Then, as the nursery comes together, it will all start to feel real.
Wash your baby's clothes and beddings
Newborn babies have sensitive skin, so it’s best to wash their clothes and bedding in advance. Use a gentle washing detergent designed for baby clothes.
Washing, ironing and tidying away baby clothes is a ritual that parents-to-be have enjoyed for generations. There is something so lovely about this particular nesting job. Few sights are more exciting than a washing line filled with teeny tiny baby clothes drying in the sun.
Fill the freezer
With a newborn to look after, you won’t have the time (or energy) to cook meals from scratch. However, your body will benefit from the nutrients in homecooked food. Batch cooking and freezing meals are great ways to prepare for your baby’s birth.
Batch cooking is a great way to pass those early baby-free days of your maternity leave. Cook a selection of your favourite meals and freeze them in small portions that can be easily reheated later. It’s also an idea to stock up on cupboard essentials and snacks you can eat in the weeks after the birth.
You’re probably used to turning down help; most of us are. We instinctively say no even when our brains are screaming yes. But, with a new baby to look after, you will need all the help you can get. And don’t think you have to accept the help you don’t want, if somebody is offering to come and cuddle the baby but you’d rather they vacuumed the stairs, tell them that!
People want to be helpful and will be grateful for the opportunity to help you out. So ask friends and family to pick up groceries, fold laundry or wash the dishes when they pop round to meet the new baby. Be sure to keep a note of who offers you help so you can call upon them when you need them.
Prepare a breastfeeding station
If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll need a handy breastfeeding station set up for when you arrive home. Your baby will breastfeed a lot during the early weeks of life, and you’ll find it easier to cope with if you’re prepared.
The breastfeeding station can be a box or basket you can carry around the house, so you have everything you need when you settle down to feed your baby. It should include some snacks, a bottle of water, a book, the TV remote, your headphones and anything else you might want during a long feed. It’s also worth including any breastfeeding leaflets you’ve been given by your midwife, as you might find them helpful during the early feeds.
Keep the house tidy
It’s impossible to predict when labour will start, so you should aim to keep the house tidy when you’re full term. Try to minimise clutter and get into the habit of tidying things away instead of putting them down.
Accept help from friends and family members in the weeks before the birth. Together, you can organise a room and declutter to prepare your house for the new baby.
Set your expectations
The most important thing in any relationship is communication. You need to communicate your expectations to your partner, so they know what is expected of them during the postpartum period.
For example, if you want them to prepare your meals, keep the house tidy and keep visitors at bay, you need to tell them this. Speak to them about your expectations for the postpartum period. Are you hoping for a newborn bubble without visitors, or are you expecting friends and family to arrive shortly after the birth?
It’s best to have these conversations before the baby arrives so that you both know what to expect.
Make sure you get a photograph of you bringing your baby home for the first time. You could ask your partner to take a quick snap of you walking through the door or ask a friend to photograph you all on the doorstep. You might not look your best, but you won’t care about that in years to come. The photograph will always remind you of the excitement, nerves and overwhelming love you felt when you brought your baby home.
Think of the older sibling(s)
If you already have a child at home, you can involve them in the preparations. For example, the older sibling could prepare a welcome home banner for the new arrival. You could take them shopping to pick out a going home outfit for the new baby or have them pick out a special toy.
It’s also worth getting a present from the new baby to the older sibling. A little token to say thanks for sharing your mum and dad with me. Choose something that will occupy the older sibling for ten minutes so you can get settled with the new baby.
It’s also worth preparing babysitters for the early weeks. Newborn babies feed and sleep a lot, and the older sibling may tire of the slow-paced newborn bubble. Have energetic uncles, fun grandparents and close friends on hand to provide park trips, cinema outings and anything else that might give your older child a change of scenery.
Take it easy
You don’t need to overdo it as you wait for your baby. It’s ok to spend your days resting and mentally preparing for parenthood.
Try to do some light exercise each day; a gentle stroll around your local park or a dip in the pool will help you stay fit and active. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Switch your phone off to avoid the endless stream of messages asking if the baby is here yet.
Put yourself first during the final weeks of pregnancy. Soon, you shall be a mother.