End of pregnancy often brings with several bouts of "nesting," the common urge to clean all the things, do all the things, organize all the things. Instead of spending time reorganizing your medicine cabinet, make your nesting moments more productive and practical by arranging your house to be newborn and postpartum friendly. Before we talk tips, let's take a quick look at what you'll be doing in the first few days and weeks.
Life with a Newborn - What's Happening?
- Feeding baby
- Changing baby
- Holding baby
- Routine baby care
- Bathroom breaks, including postpartum perineal and vaginal care
- Sleep, broken
- Showering (maybe?)
- Physical recovery after birth (vaginal or cesarean)
- Seeing a (hopefully) limited number of visitors
Make Your House Newborn Friendly
Stations - Perhaps you've heard about setting up "stations" around the house before. But we're going to say it again, because they're just so darn useful! Stations are mini supply kits set up for convenience in different areas around your house. Depending on the layout and size of your house, you may want to create two or three stations. You could make different types of stations -- a nursing station, a diaper changing station, an older kid play station -- but that sounds inefficient and time-consuming. Instead, make a mega (mini) station of all the items you might need in a given area, like diapers, wipes, diaper cream, tissues, a bottle of water, nursing pads, protein-packed snacks, a phone charger, quiet play toys for older children, and a good book. You may also want to create a postpartum care station in your bathroom for convenience -- fill a basket with your peri bottle, pads, wipes, soothing balm or spray, and a few pairs of underwear.
Ready your supplies - This is a little different than creating stations. Think of the things you'll be using and needing most often when baby is here. That includes frequent newborn outfits (sleepers and gowns are easiest), baby blankets, burp cloths, easy-to-eat-with-one-hand foods, underwear you don't mind throwing out, and good reading material. While you have the time (and are relatively more rested), prep now by pre-washing baby clothes and items, stocking up on nutritious pantry snacks and easy go-to foods, buying a pack of cheap underwear, and collecting new magazines or a new book.
Organize in advance - Spend some time pre-newborn to organize in advance as many household tasks as possible so you can spend as little time as possible when you're in the new baby days haze. Think about your bill paying system -- what can you do to make it more streamlined? Free apps like Prism help you automate bill pay and send reminders when you have one due. Think about house cleaning (no, really!) -- what will make keeping your house clean easier postpartum? Whether you hire some short-term help to do light (or deep) cleaning, or invoke the "what can I do to help" pleas from friends, do whatever you can to make sure that house cleaning when you're home with a new baby is not something you have think about.
Places to put the baby - There will be times with your new baby where you'll feel that there are never enough places to set down the baby. This is simply a byproduct of the fact that you'll be (mostly) constantly holding your baby and you will need to do some basic things with both hands, like ya know, going to the bathroom, eating a real meal, blowing your nose, or maybe you just want a break! Create multiple safe places to lay baby down around the house, like an infant rocker, swing, bassinet, play mat, or blanket. Make sure the spot isn't on a high surface, is free of fluffy blankets and stuffed animals, and is safe from curious pets.
Are you getting your house ready for a new baby? What would you add to this list?