Prepping for Baby: 10 Ways to Make Your Homecoming Easier
Like every parent with their first kid, I truly felt like I was winging it with my first son. They hand you this tiny, swaddled miracle and expect you to come home with it and keep it alive. I felt highly under-qualified for such an undertaking. After becoming a mother twice now, I can tell you one thing with certainty: I am still winging it. However, after having a little bit of experience under my belt when baby number two came around, I learned from my previous self on how to make things a little easier for my homecoming.
1. Keep supplies in a bedside table drawer.
This is especially helpful if you are planning on having the baby sleep in a bassinet in your room. When you are up feeding in the middle of the night, it's so nice to grab a diaper and wipes without leaving your bed and quickly change baby's diaper.
I cleared out a drawer in my beside table and kept the following supplies in there:
- butt cream & vaseline
- gripe water
- nipple butter
- baby lotion
- burp cloth
- nasal suction bulb
2. Designate a kitchen cabinet/shelf for baby items.
I decided to clear out my lazy susan in my kitchen to keep baby items all together in one place. I used larger tupperware containers to house nipples and bottle parts. I also kept my milk storage bags and containers in there. It just so happens that my toddler's sippy cups and snack containers were in the corner cabinet above my lazy susan, so I bought two of these rotating turntables to help organize them, so they didn't get lost in the back of the cabinet.
3. Create a makeshift changing table in your main living area.
You will change the majority of diapers in your main living space, especially if you have a two-story house. Baby poops A LOT – and unless you want to trek upstairs to the baby's room what seems like twice an hour, you'll want to have a space handy for a quick diaper change. In our old house, the coffee table became our changing table. In our new house, our hope chest where we keep blankets also doubled as our changing table. On your surface, keep a small diaper caddy with diapers, wipes and butt cream along with a changing pad. We have a cushioned rubber changing pad that we love. Here is a similar one on Amazon. Worth every penny! It is so easy to wipe down and you don't have to add extra laundry to your pile with cloth changing pad covers. Another important note: if you had a C-section, make your changing table as tall as you can, so you can stand and change the baby's diaper. It's very hard to bend over or sit down and change diapers while recovering from a C-section.
In addition to the changing station, we kept a small fabric storage cube in a cabinet in our living room with burp cloths and extra onesies. In a smaller basket, I kept nipple care items, pacifiers, NoseFrida, and nail trimmers.
I also kept the cloth laundry hamper from my baby's room downstairs to put all the dirty baby clothes in so it's easy to keep them separate from my main laundry.
4. Prepare and freeze food ahead of time.
Towards the end of your second trimester, while you're still feeling halfway decent and are not rapidly expanding week-to-week, I recommend making extra food whenever you make dinner and freezing it. Here are a few simple foods I prepped and froze before having the baby:
- Burritos: if you are making tacos, make extra and then roll the filling into burritos and freeze them. These make super easy lunches.
- Egg Bites: I made these egg muffins and froze them in twos in snack-sized ziploc bags. So easy to pop them in the microwave for a quick (and healthy) breakfast! Here's the recipe I used this time.
- Soups: Soup is so easy to reheat in the crockpot once it's been made ahead of time. Some ideas are: chicken noodle soup, traditional chili, white chicken chili, beef vegetable soup.
- Applesauce: Great snack for my toddler! My mother-in-law made me a bunch of applesauce and froze it in small portions to thaw for an easy snack for my toddler.
- Gravy for biscuits and gravy: Just thaw the night before and then throw some Pilsbury biscuits in the oven.
- Meatballs: These Sriracha Honey Glazed Meatballs are SO incredibly good and even my toddler loves them!
- Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: Really great for late-night breastfeeding munchies!
5. Organize/label baby clothes drawers.
I found it helpful to organize baby clothes by size (newborn at the top, then progressively bigger as the drawers go down). I also got drawer inserts and separated the clothes by type (long-sleeved onesies, short-sleeved onesies, swaddles, pants, etc.) I used a label maker to put labels on the inside lip of the drawers. This helps me quickly scan for and find what I'm looking for but there is an added bonus – it helps others, such as your mother-in-law, friends, husband, etc. put laundry away in the correct place when they offer to help you.
6. Stock your bathrooms.
Keep postpartum supplies in every bathroom. Adult diapers, super pads with wings, flushable wipes, peri bottle and hemorrhoid cream.
7. Invest in newborn gowns.
I love our newborn gown from Gigi & Poppi made of lightweight bamboo. It's not too hot for baby, and it's super soft. There is a knot tie at the bottom for quick and easy access for diaper changes. I also love the fold-over mitten cuffs to prevent baby from scratching his little face.
8. Make that Costco run.
I find our Costco membership to be so helpful for big, bulk items. Here was my Costco list before baby came:
- toilet paper
- paper towels
- hand sanitizer
- bulk ground beef/chicken to freeze
- laundry detergent
- paper plates/bowls - MUST-HAVES so you can do less dishes!
9. Purchase a grocery or meal delivery service.
Worth every penny, we bought Kroger BOOST membership for $59 annually which gives me access to free grocery delivery! Usually $10 per delivery, this membership will pay for itself in 6 deliveries, which is well worth it for a full year of groceries delivered to my door. And for the nights when it's 7:00PM and I run out of diapers.
With our first son, my husband purchased Freshly meal delivery service for the first couple of months we were back at home so we (I) didn't have to worry about cooking. It was so nice to not have to think about one more thing every day, and let me ease back into cooking.
10. Banish the pets.
We have two black labs who I love dearly, but since our first son, we have kept a baby gate at the base of the stairs, both to keep the baby from climbing the stairs and to keep the dogs from going upstairs. We also don't allow them in the finished basement where the kids play. And we keep an invisible fence puck in our living room on our main rug where our toddler/baby plays to keep the dog hair at bay. Only worrying about keeping the main floor clean the majority of the time and worrying about vacuuming the rest of the house when I have time has been a major help to my sanity. We also purchased a Roomba to help with this problem, and we can put it on a schedule to vacuum during nap time!