In the run-up to your baby’s estimated due date, there is a huge mix of emotions. Everything from overwhelming joy to extream worry and then some. Worrying that you don’t have everything in order comes really high up on the list. After all, you have had months to prepare and in the end, no one ever really feels truly ready (even if they say they do).
Babies are small for a very short time. Before you know it they will be running around and getting into all sorts of trouble. However, from a baby’s point of view, everything colorful or shiny is a toy just waiting to be played with – regardless of how toxic it will be to your baby. If you tackle this little task way before the baby arrives you’ll avoid nasty accidents and trying to find time to do it all with the little one running around. Using things like magnetic locks on cabinets is a great starting point. Think about arranging locks on your drawers, toilet bowl, and medicine cabinet too. Lastly, in the ‘toxic’ section, batteries can pose a huge risk to children. Make sure that you have the in a high up place, in a locked box. If a battery is swallowed they are life-threatening.
You will be inundated by well-meaning visitors. And, while you have just had a baby there will still be a part of you that wants your house to be in tip-top condition. A few days into parenthood, with babygrows and baby wipes strewn around the living room, leaking breasts and some decent eyebags you aren’t going to be able to deal with everything. Usually in the run up to the birth women get the urge to nest. If you didn’t then don’t worry. In advance of the endless visits and the sleepless, get yourself the ‘do it later’ box. Ideally a box with a lid, that isn’t clear plastic. When people give you the heads up they are on the way, if you look around and see a bit of a mess, put anything non-essential in the ‘do it later’ box. Booking a cleaner is also a great idea for around two weeks after birth. If you’ve had a c-section or traumatic birth, you will be even more thankful that you did this. (Totally ignore anything behind a closed door, like your messy closet).
Before your bundle makes an appearance, stock up on the basics:
- Sanitary Products
- Diapers and wipes
- Toilet Paper
- Handsoap/shower gel and shampoo
Having these stocked up will mean if you run out on a day that is going less than smoothly, all you need to do is reach in the cupboard. In the same vein, consider batch cooking in advance too.
Do some prep work. It is easy as a new parent to worry about everything. What is that mark? Is that a scratch? What does baby acne look like? What color should the poop be? Grab a couple of baby books, spend some time on the internet. Put your mind at ease before the stress even starts.
Sort your fridge out. Mentioned above was some batch cooking, and that is a great idea – making sure you eat is essential. Giving the baby milk some designated space in the fridge is also something you should consider. If you get bored in the weeks before arrival you might like to scrub down the inside of the fridge anyway. Start from the top and work down on this one, and be sure to get right into the corners and remove all shelves and draws. You will be storing your baby’s liquid diet. If you have chosen to exclusively breastfeed then this tip isn’t going to have much relevance to you. However, if you are pumping and storing or formula feeding you might like to have a space that is easy to reach in the middle of the night.
While on the subject of feeding, sterilize everything as early in the process as you can. If you are bottle feeding, you are going to end up surrounded by bottles, teats, pacifiers, as well as teething toys and spoons later on. Invest your cash in a decent sized sterilizer. Build this into your morning and nighttime routines to make sure you’re never caught off-guard.
Be prepared for a lot of laundry. You might already have a hamper that works for you and your partner, and maybe even for your other children. Buy one for the baby clothing. Between the explosive poops and leaky nappies, they might be little but they seem to go through a lot of clothing. It is much easier to wash it all in one go whenever possible. Be prepared to see plenty of stains too. Rather than just having to get rid of the clothing, invest in some gentle soaking agents. Oh, and you might want to have a bucket ready for just that job.
The daily clean might seem a bit impossible in the first few weeks, but after you get into a great routine (whatever that means for you and your family), you will be able to fit those chores in again. They just might not be in the way that you first thought. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of the daily dirt. You might want a baby carrier for some of these.
- Dishes. Unless you have a dishwasher, you’re going to have to try and get to these. Pop your baby in a baby carrier, and have a sing-song, or rock them to sleep and get stuck in.
- For clutter hanging around, use the same box method from above. One box, walk around and grab all of the clutter, then spend some time sorting through it later on. You’re going to want to either do this with the baby strapped into the carrier or asleep. Since in the early weeks, it’s unlike you and your baby want to be too far apart then go for the carrier.
- If you have older children, then you have some super helpers. Dilute some mild soap in a spray bottle and give them a cloth to help you clean down the sides, the doors of the cupboards, tables and other things their height. Cleaning should really be a family affair anyway.
- When you need to hoover, which is probably daily in high traffic areas, pop the babe in the carrier or if you have a cot, or Moses basket handy, sometimes the sound of the hoover can lull them to sleep – handy!
There are some areas in the house that naturally get grimy quicker than others. Those should be on the top of you hit list each week. You might think it’s places like light switches, doorknobs, and toilet. Places that see a lot of different hands, but nope! It’s kitchen countertops, you cleaning rags and cloths, stove knobs, sinks, and fridge handles. Something all parents are conscious of is germs. Before the babe arrives give all of these areas a deep clean. But once the baby arrives you might find it a little bit difficult to stay on top of. So by each of these areas, have some sanitizing wipes. Every time you walk by any of these things, grab a wipe and clean them down.
You will no doubt either have purchased or been given more baby socks, mittens and shoes than you can possibly deal with. You will inevitably lose at least 50% of these pairs in the first couple of weeks. While they are cute, they are small and have a habit of doing a Houdini. While there is no quick fix, you might like to try and keep things organized but purchasing a few netted laundry bags. The netted laundry bags help avoid these small items being eaten by the washing machine. You might also like to get three small boxes and label them. The act of labeling them will get you into the habit of returning each item into its correct home. Another great tip is using a designated drawer and a divider with lots of individual areas.
As we all know babies grow at a rapid rate, and that one cute teddybear t-shirt isn’t likely to fit for very long. Have an empty box ready to collect all of the clothing that doesn’t fit as soon as they have grown out of it. Make use of places like Freecycle, or local selling sites and get rid of them in batches. Keep anything that has significance, like first booties, the outfit they came home from the hospital with – but treat the rest as clutter you no longer need.
While the first few weeks with a new baby can be overwhelming, whether this is your first or fifth baby, getting organized in advance will make it much smoother. And who knows, you might even have time for a hot coffee and a full meal.