10 Steps to prepare for baby, so you can catch some zzzz’s

Hi There! I would like to welcome guest blogger Nina from Sleeping Should be Easy. This is the second time Nina has contributed to Mommy’s Organics and I’m thrilled. She’s here today with some great tips on how to prepare for baby, so you can actually get some sleep.

The first two weeks after bringing my son home from the hospital has, by far, been the most difficult time in my life. From sleepless nights to round-the-clock feeding, I often felt like a zombie muttering incoherent sentences to my equally sleep-deprived husband. Add on the fact that moms often have to heal from the physical pains of labor and delivery, the initial days of bringing baby home are often some of the most trying. That’s why a little preparation before the arrival can often take some of the initial burden off of a newborn mom. While there’s little you can predict when it comes to your baby’s temperament, you can help make your life much easier by taking several steps prior to the little one’s arrival:

Food

  • Ask family and friends to bring food. We were fortunate to have loads of food our families brought over so that we wouldn’t have to cook during those first few weeks (Perhaps not coincidentally, we received four chicken soups—there must be something beneficial about chicken soup!).
  • Stock your freezer with food. Whether it’s frozen food or meals you cooked in advance, your freezer will help feed you much longer than cooking freshly-made food.
  • Order in. Even though I don’t eat out at restaurants often, I had no shame in ordering in my food from time to time.

Finances

  • Save regularly during your pregnancy months to cover any large costs. These can be for anything from big-ticket items like cribs and strollers to extremely large amounts like your insurance deductible. My husband and I didn’t want to be hit with ridiculous costs at random times of the year, so we opened a savings account specifically for baby costs and contributed regular amounts each month.
  • Figure out how much income you’ll have during maternity leave and adjust accordingly. Most of us have reduced pay during maternity leave, so if you’re accustomed to your regular income, consider how much to save to meet your needs. Alternatively, determine which parts of your budget you can reduce to make ends meet during those tighter weeks.
  • Shop for baby gear and materials based on coupons. I hardly bought items at full price because big-name stores often offered coupons. Time your purchases according to these savings. Obviously you may not always buy from a store that offers coupons as I did with our baby’s furniture, but I could often count on a coupon to save money for most items.

New gear and items

  • Practice using the stroller and car seat until you’re a pro at using them. I thought I had done my part when my husband assembled the stroller so that I could push it around, but I learned a bit too late that I didn’t know how to work it too well. Figure out how to fold and unfold the stroller, then try putting it in and out of your trunk. The same goes for the car seat—make sure you know how to attach and detach it from your car base comfortably.

Household and help

  • Invest in eco-friendly paper plates and disposable utensils. You won’t have the time nor inclination to wash too many dishes, so stock up on disposables for now. I normally don’t dole out this advice for just anything, but certain situations (such as sleep deprivation and not really wanting to wash another dish when your baby has been up all night crying) call for temporary exceptions.
  • Necessities. Keep paper towels to laundry quarters, toiletries to kitchen staples on reserve to avoid having to run to the bank or grocery for last minute trips.
  • Don’t be shy to ask for help. If you have friends or family nearby, ask if anyone would be willing to help you during the first few weeks and months. Be specific with the kind of help you’re willing to take, from staying with you for a few weeks to visiting for the day, from bringing you food to entertaining your older children. For instance, my mom slept over at our place for three weeks and took care of all our meals along with caring for the baby so that we could sleep or run needed errands.

Most importantly, Enjoy !

Those first few weeks and months are likely to be some of the toughest you’ll experience. You’ll wonder if it’ll ever get any easier or if you’ll be able to resume anything close to your normal life (hint: it does, and you will!). To help ease those initial challenges, prepare for your baby in the months leading up to his arrival—from saving money to stocking up on necessities. Your sleep-deprived future self will thank you for it!

What other tips can you offer new moms to help make the first few weeks and months a little bit easier?

Nina-Sleeping Should Be Easy

You may also like: Motherhood, Why didn’t someone tell me it would be like this?

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Comments

  1. Wonderful advice! I think the most important thing is to ask for help. If you don’t ask people think you have it all handled and most people WANT and are happy to help they just need to be asked.

    • That’s so true. I don’t about you, but sometimes I find it difficult to ask for help. I never want to feel as though I’m bothering someone.

    • Good point lupuswolflupus! Without asking, people will simply assume that you have things under control, or that you’d rather not be bothered. Being explicit with asking for specific help is a huge factor during those first few days.

  2. My mom stayed 1 week with us at the birth of each of our children, that help was invaluable and enabled us to get some sleep she also helped clean and entertain the other children.

  3. Great advice! I was too shy to ask for help but by kid #3 I got better at it. I asked a close friend to set up a meal schedule at mealbaby.com and to send the link to my friends (so the request came from her and not me). I felt comfortable asking her an she ended out sending to more people than I would have included.

    One more to add to the list: Learn to accept gratuitously when offered instead of declining. I have a very independent streak and so with my first child I was trying to prove to myself that I could do everything. There’s no need. Now if a friend offers to take my dog for a walk or take a sibling for a couple hours I try to recognize they would enjoy helping and just say “yes, thank you.”

    • You’re absolutely right, Sarah. Sometimes you have to just accept the help and say “thank you.” Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sarah, awesome advice. Thanks for mentioning mealbaby.com—what a great idea!

      And yes, I think new moms aren’t used to being so dependent on their “village” but this is the time to rely on them. Not only that, but they in turn feel good in having helped a new mom out. I was pretty good with accepting help, but if I were to do it over I would even solicit some too :)

  4. Food was a biggie for us! You are just way too tired to even thinking about slaving in front of the stove. My friends were kind enough to create a “cooking crew” for me. They created a calendar and scheduled to drop of meals with us. HEAVEN SENT!

    • Tori, I’m loving this idea of a calendar that friends can use to drop food off. Sara mentioned a website above too that lets them do that online; I wish I knew about this!

  5. These are great tips! Having people bring dinners is probably the single most helpful thing for me!

  6. My tip would be to rest as much as possible and soak in a warm bath last thing at night with a some salt added to the water. My midwife gave me this tip for relieving a sore back and tired muscles. Works a treat!

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  1. [...] why I’m excited to share a guest post I wrote for Mommy’s Organics where I offer practical tips on how to prepare for a baby. Mommy’s [...]

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