When I was asked to write an article about "How to Get Organized Before Baby Comes", little did I know that my husband and I were about to become grandparents again by our son and DIL. We are excited to welcome Audrey Isabel Huseman into our lives sometime in Oct/Nov of this year!
I thought that this post might help my daughter in law to start thinking of some things she may not have thought about, and hopefully either you, or someone you know can benefit from these little tidbits I've culled from fellow organizers, websites I've researched, and my own advice.
1. First things first - Make an appointment with your Newborn Photographer of choice. This specialty area books up quickly and you don't want to miss this small window of opportunity. My favorite photographer is Shawna Clark. She's in Fairfield and does amazing work. Also, this is a good time to think about how you're going to announce the birth of your little bundle of joy. Even in this day of everything electronic, it's nice to mail something to someone via the good old Postal Service. At Pingg.com you can create your own stylish birth announcement and either send them via email, or you can have them printed and sent to you so you can send some out to family or friends that want to have one to put on the refrigerator for awhile. There's also this site, Tiny Prints as another option. You can pre-address the envelopes and then finish off the announcements when you get all the final details; date of birth, weight, length, etc.
2. Now for the nitty gritty of getting organized before baby comes. One of the things I wished I had done was to prep meals before hand. With my first, I had no idea how exhausted I would be, and most of all, I didn't realize I would not have time to shop, prep and cook meals for my husband and I after the onslaught of casseroles and chili was gone from well meaning family and friends. So if you're worried about that step, do some extra meals to freeze as you're prepping for your meals right now. Also automate your grocery list as best you can. If you're tech savvy, there's lots of apps to use for grocery lists that you can share with others. Grocery iQ is one that is free and can be shared by others. If you're not tech savvy, just make sure you have a magnetic note pad on the frig that you can write your list on, then someone can just take it to the store. My friend and fellow organizer Maureen, also said to keep local restaurant delivery menus nearby as well.
4. Another of my organizing friends, Margaret, said her best advice to new mother's is this: Don't get too much. Having a bunch of onesies doesn't mean you'll never have to do laundry. It just means that you have a lot more onesies to store. You will most likely be doing laundry at least once a week, so don't worry about having a month's worth of onesies. Besides, we all know baby will grow out of most of them pretty quickly.
Speaking of growing, here's a good tip. Have a box either in the baby's closet, or somewhere convenient so as baby grows out of outfits and you've washed them, you have a convenient place to store them until it's time to put away for a sibling or to a friend or charity. Label the box by size and season; 3-6 months, Summer, 9-12 months, Winter.
5. Keep supplies where you are most likely going to need them. Do you have a two story home? You'll want to have a supply of diaper changing materials upstairs and downstairs. Are you going to be breastfeeding? Then you want to make sure you have breast pads, burp cloths etc., near a comfy chair with gentle lighting for those 2 a.m. feedings. You don't want to have too harsh of lighting as it may wake baby and you up too much and make it hard to get back to sleep! Keep your diaper bag stocked and ready to go at a moments notice. This will make getting out of the house (when you can), much less time consuming.
Here's a link My SweetNest to a super cute blog that talks about nesting and getting organized. She has really good ideas on getting that baby closet and changing table organized.
6. Another helpful tip would be to help others to help you! What????? If it's hard for you to ask for help, or you don't know what to say when someone asks what you need help with, (and you will need help), plan ahead and make a list of things you might need help with or chores you can delegate to others. My friend Connie said, "Believe that people want to be helpful - they really do!" I think that is true as well. Even if it's just a small thing, watching the baby while they nap so you can take a shower, shave your legs, or take a short walk to get some fresh air. When you're in the thick of things with a newborn at home, those small things really become big things and you'll be grateful for any stolen moments you can find.
7. Connie also suggested that you give your baby the tools they need to sleep away from home. I found this to be true for me as well when my children were little. If your child is used to going to sleep to a sound machine, or a certain blanket/stuffed animal, have those items with you when you are away from home visiting friends or family. It will make it much easier on you and them.
8. Think ahead of how you're going to maintain your current household systems; bill paying, laundry, shopping. You can pay bills in small increments of time (unless you have everything set up for auto pay, which I strongly suggest), keep a running shopping list on the frig of what you are running low on. Someone can just grab the list and do some shopping for you. Also check out Amazon's Pantry grocery delivery system. You can order and have things delivered directly to your door. This will save you many hours that you can spend with baby.
9. Be thoughtful in the things you ask for from friends and family for gifts. It's very enticing to have all of the latest, greatest gadgets and gizmos, but in the end, really think whether those gadgets will help or hinder you. Do you have room to store all of that? Do you REALLY need a wipe warmer? If you're limited on storage space, I beg you to not get anymore than you really have room for.
10. And last, but certainly not least, this time in your life is an absolutely great time to make sure that you have all of your "affairs" in order. This means a living trust, custody arrangements for your child(ren) should anything happen to you and/or your spouse. Make sure your Advanced Care Directive is filed with your personal physician, and that other family members know where your important documents are located. Not a very warm and fuzzy tip, but a step every new parent should think of. Bad things happen to good people, and I'm sure you don't want to burden your family with having to make these decisions for you.
Enjoy that new bundle of joy! If you do everything you can to be organized before baby comes, you can spend more time, talking, singing, and reading to them than worrying about whether you need to buy more diapers. Remember, 80% of your child's brain growth happens by age 3! First 5 California
Do you have a special tip that you used when you were getting ready for your baby? I'd love to hear it! Leave a comment below please!