I’ve had a few friends who are expecting their first baby ask for a little advice on how to prepare for the bundle of joy. So here are a few things that I figured out either with EK or with J or because a wise woman told me so.
1. When placing your nursery furniture, to important to make it look nice. It’s also important to make it convenient for you to use each of the pieces in the room. For instance, when you wake up to the cry of your newborn at 3:00am, walk in the nursery, and immediately smell something… terrible… you know that you’re gonna need to change a diaper, and probably clothes, blankets, and maybe sheets. You pick up your sweetie, move to the changing table, and roll up your sleeves. Within arm’s reach, you want to have that extra change of clothes, as well as diapers and wipes, of course. So when arranging your furniture, it’s good to have your dresser (or wherever clothes are kept) within easy reach of the changing table, so you don’t have to walk off and leave the baby!
2. Speaking of changing the sheets, all moms know that changing crib sheets is a giant pain in the booty. So how do you make yourself have to change them less often, even though your baby will have messy poops, incredibly sized pees, and spit ups that stink to high heaven? One word: layer. My wonderful mother-in-law introduced me to this idea, and it’s saved my sleepy or busy self more times than I can count. So what you do is have 4-6 sheets AND full mattress-sized waterproof pads, and layer them into the mattress. I like to take the mattress completely out of the crib to do this. That way, I just peel off the offending layer whenever there’s a mess, and toss it in the laundry, and there’s already a sheet on there, ready to go! Of course, 1/6 times, I’m screwed. But I’m saved the rest of the time!
3. When someone offers to make a meal calendar for you, take them up on it. When they ask for email addresses, give them every single one you know. If people don’t want to help/are too busy, they just won’t sign up. But everyone else? Let them feed you. Lots of them (like me a lot of times) will just ask what you want from your favorite take-out place. It’s a win-win. And sometimes, it’s a sweet friend, who comes bearing dinner, and does some dishes or some laundry while she’s there, because it’s somehow easier to do someone else’s than your own. ((If you need help with this one or don’t have someone to do it for you, email me and I’ll help you out.))
4. Related to #3, stock your freezer. If you’ve got a meal calendar set up with people doing dinners, stock the freezer with pancakes, waffles, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, sausage, bacon, etc. Another great idea is to pack individual baggies with everything for a smoothie in them. Put in your fruit, kale, spinach, oats, flax, or whatever you like in there, each in an individual Ziploc bag, and then all you have to do for breakfast (or lunch, or a snack) is put it in the blender with the liquid of your choice, and yogurt or peanut butter if that’s how you roll. For lunches and dinners, spaghetti sauce and chili are easy things to make and stock up on, as well.
5. Get the book Happiest Baby on the Block or at least skim it in Babies R Us one day. Cliff notes: When they are fussy, swaddle them, let them suck on something, swing or bounce them, hold them positioned on their side or stomach and make some loud white noise (loud “shh”, vacuum, hair dryer, etc). Y’all are thinking I’m crazy. Try it.
6. Start letting baby put himself to sleep even when he’s a couple of weeks old. When he’s fed and diapered and snuggled (and swaddled, in my opinion), lay him in the crib and leave the room. Learning to go to sleep on his own will make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.
7. Something I didn’t do until recently (mostly because I think they didn’t have it when EK was a newborn) is sign up for one of those Amazon or something diaper subscriptions, where they just send them to you. I’ve got it now that my kids aren’t growing out of diaper sizes too quickly (and they’re both in the same size), but here’s what I did. I took all those coupons for creating registries at Babies R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, and bought diapers – a couple of cases in every size. I waited till they were on sale (since before you have the baby there’s no rush, right?) and used the coupons. Babies R Us is great at mailing you stuff monthly, and almost every time there are coupons for diapers. I only bought one box of newborn size (they grow out of those the quickest in my experience) and two boxes of the rest (stopping at size 4) just in case. I felt totally prepared, and if I did run out of diapers, I at least had some in the size up they could wear so I was never completely and totally out.
8. Find a good stain remover. This is a total must, because your baby is going to be causing stains on everything. I really love Babyganics, and it really seems to work on everything from poop and spit-up to red wine and coffee (and those are the four most common stains at my house).
9. Use the heck out of those annoying and wonderful Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons you get all the time. Use them on carseats, strollers, toys, nursery furniture, pillows, swaddles, and anything else you can buy there instead of a baby store. Our BB&B recently got a major baby section upgrade, so I get tons of stuff there with those super coupons.
10. Don’t refuse the help. Yes, there’s a line between letting a thousand people traipse through your house every moment of the day and accepting the help of well-meaning friends and family for a few days, or a few days a week if they’re willing to keep it up for a little while. But if someone offers to snuggle the baby and let you nap, or let you shower, let them. If someone offers to do a load of laundry or pick up some groceries, let them. These things are so nice and helpful, and often it’s a chance for a friend or aunt or someone to meet your little bundle. A win-win for everyone!
All you almost-mamas, I hope this helps! Pass it along to anyone who might need some words of wisdom before their little babe gets here!
Do the veteran mamas have anything to add to the list?!
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14 thoughts on “10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms”
I wish I had spent more time around babies before I had my own. First time mamas need practice! Talk to your friends with babies about spending more than a short visit with them to see what it’s really like. Think of it like you’re preparing for a new career and you want to shadow a professional during a day on the job. I’ve learned so much from watching my friends in their roles as parents.
That’s a great point! I took it for granted that I had tons of friends/family who already had babies or young kids. Good point!
I’d even take that one step further and say not only spend time with other babies, but especially newborns, if you can. I thought I’d been around enough babies in my life, newborns are such a new experience. Every sound and movement I was worried something was wrong. Turns out a lot of the things that I would wonder about were completely normal newborn behavior.
Yeah, and it’s tough because every newborn is so different. Your second will totally do the opposite of your first haha
This is a great list! I completely agree with number 6! I started Bug out at about a week old putting herself to sleep and let me tell you it was the best thing I ever did! Bed time has never been a fight. We have never had to cry it out. When it’s bedtime she knows and I put her in her crib and she gets comfy and falls asleep. Yes, some nights she rolls around and plays a little bit but within 20 minutes she is always asleep.
I was always around babies, as I worked in the nursery and pediatrics. But my sister in law is pregnant and hasn’t been around babies and now she is trying to get practice with Bug (who is almost 10 months old). I kept telling her she needed practice way before now, but she wouldn’t listen. Now she understands what I was saying.
To add to the list: if you want to breast feed find resources before your baby is born!! And don’t make the decision to stop breast feeding at 2 AM of day 4…I wish I hadn’t. Find a lactation consultant now, before baby is born and call her any time you need help. See her if you need to. You will thank me later!
Love these tips!
As I read these, I am nodding my head “yes! exactly” my thoughts for sure. Loved this, totally useful. The biggest thing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you an even better one.
Great point. I know I wouldn’t have survived the first few months of motherhood otherwise!
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Great tips! I especially love the one about the sheets. Brilliant. Thank you!!
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Thanks! I’m glad they’re helpful!
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