Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll probably go through ebbs and flows of energy. You’ll get some extra energy and with it will come the urge to “nest”. You can take advantage of these times by prepping your home for your new baby! Of course, you’ll want to wash baby’s clothes, get the nursery ready and probably feel the need to clean your house like crazy.
But what else?
There are a few ways you can set up different areas in your house to give yourself some help once you’re home with a new baby, along with a few others things to prep/research before baby gets here.
1| Set Up Diapering Stations
While you probably have the changing table in the baby’s nursery, many families spend enough time at opposite ends (or different floors) of their home, so it can be helpful to have other diapering stations set up. If your home has more than one story, you might want one on each floor. For us, we don’t spend much time in the basement, so we have one upstairs, in the baby’s room. Then we also have one on our main floor, in our living room, where we spend most of our time. The diapering station has diapers, wipes, a portable changing pad and diaper rash cream. No running up and down the stairs throughout the day just to change a diaper. While mama’s body is recovering, it’s best to avoid stairs, especially after a C Section!
2| Research Formula Options
Deciding whether to breastfeed or formula-feed can be a difficult decision and it’s a very personal one. It’s a topic many people feel strongly about and because everyone has such strong opinions, it can be difficult to make the choice that’s best for you, instead of just doing what others are telling you is best.
Even if you plan to breastfeed, I strongly encourage everyone to research a formula option and have a can at home, should you decide to supplement. For me, the first time I gave Blaire formula, it was late at night and she hadn’t stopped crying for hours (because she was hungry and not getting enough breastmilk). She was three days old and it was our first night home from the hospital. And thank God, we had formula on hand so Jason didn’t need to make a late-night store run. She chugged that 2oz of formula and then slept. It was such a relief and I will always be so grateful we had formula there when we needed it.
For baby number three, we decided to stock up on Gerber® Good Start® GentlePro. It is Gerber’s infant formula closest to breastmilk, specifically modeled after the complete nutrition and gentleness of breast milk. It is the first and only formula with both prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health in your baby. It contains comfort proteins, which are partially broken-down proteins that are easy for tiny tummies to digest. It also contains expert-recommended DHA to support brain and eye development. An added bonus? Their new packaging is recyclable. (Most formula containers are not.) You can find their new packaging (with the same great formula inside) on the shelf at Target now. Best part? You can save on Gerber Formula now at Target using this Target Circle offer.
One thing to keep in mind when researching the best formula for your baby is that all infant formulas in the US, both national brands and store brands, must meet the same U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards and federal nutrient requirements. But, this doesn’t mean all baby formulas are the same. There are so many options when it comes to formula and it seems like each has something “special” about it.
We have always strived to find a formula that is close to breastmilk, since I initially use it to supplement while breastfeeding. It’s important we use something that is gentle on their stomach and doesn’t give them digestion problems when having breastmilk at one feeding and formula at the next.
Breastfeeding is not all sunshine and rainbows and for some people, their journey is shorter than others. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay! Every mom is different and every mom knows what is best for herself and her baby.
3| Set Up Feeding Stations
Depending on whether you’re breastfeeding, pumping, or formula-feeding, your feeding station will look different. For me, I’ve always done a combination of all three, so my stations are kind of a catch-all of misc. things I could need at any time.
• Breastfeeding Station
Breastfeeding is going to feel like it’s your full-time job for the next month or so. I imagined I’d just spend all of my time in the baby’s nursery, in the glider… then I realized just how much time I would actually spend feeding a newborn. So after a few days, I set up shop on our couch. For your breastfeeding station, you’ll want to gather up the items you want to have available within an arm’s reach while you’re feeding. Keep in mind a newborn can easily nurse for 20-30 minutes at each feeding. For me this includes: Snacks (oatmeal is said to help bump up your milk supply), water (staying hydrated is crucial to producing milk), a phone charger, your TV remotes, a nursing pillow and possibly a suction pump if you want to be able to catch your leaking milk during your initial let down.
• Pumping Station
When pumping, you’ll need to have your pump, pump parts (different for each pump) and something to pump your milk into (bags or bottles). Other things I kept handy were a hands-free pumping bra, snacks, water, a phone charger and the TV remotes. Mama needs to stay entertained while she’s sitting there pumping, right?
• Formula Station
What worked best for us was to stock the one in our bedroom before bed each night and then stock the one in our kitchen each morning. We always gave our babies their bottles at room temperature. So we would measure out the appropriate amount of water into each bottle. Then we’d have a formula dispenser with each portion of formula measured out right next to the bottles. This was always the easiest for us because everything is there and pre-measured, meaning we just have to dump the formula into the water and shake it up.
4| Get Familiar with Baby’s Car Seat
Our hospital does check to make sure baby is buckled into the seat correctly and will look at the base to make sure it’s installed correctly. While it’s nice to have someone give a final check before you head home, installing the base a few weeks before baby’s due date and then having it checked by a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is the best way to know everything is installed correctly and to ask any questions you may have about your specific seat. In our area, local fire stations have CPSTs on duty and you can show up without an appointment. Find a local CPST in your area.
5| Stock Up on Household Necessities
Having a newborn can go one of two ways — you might be looking for any reason to get out of the house or you might dread everything that comes with taking a newborn out and about. In case you’re the second, try to stock up on the things you know you’ll need around the house before baby’s arrival. I obviously use any excuse I can to get to Target, so I made sure to stock up on laundry detergent, dish soap and a good stain remover for the newborn blowouts that I know are coming my way.
Remember, every newborn is different and it’s definitely a stage that crawls so slowly while you’re in the thick of it, yet it seems like you blinked and it’s gone. It’s the time to give yourself (and your partner) grace and to be patient with yourself. Everything is new to you and your baby, so take the time to slow down and enjoy each other.
I hope these five things help you to feel more prepared for your baby’s arrival and help with the craziness of the newborn stage.
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