Ok, so I have covered my hospital bag essentials and newborn essential purchases. Now I’m chatting about how I’m preparing at home for the arrival of a newborn. Honestly given the current situation things are probably a little bit different to the last two times I’ve been preparing. I definitely envisaged a lot more sleeping and resting. But onwards and upwards we go.
I think the most important thing any of us can do right now though is to look out for yourself and try and take some time to prepare yourself and your body for a newborn. Especially if you are a first time mum. Don’t let coronavirus take over your pregnancy or birth. Soak up everything that is happening and enjoy the time with bump before baby makes an appearance.
I’m not doing this for my planned section but its important, so I want to discuss it. It’s worth going through your birth plan in advance, especially if it is your first birth. We did this with Harper as it was telling us to do it in all the baby books. I remember we sat on the bed one evening and went through all the questions, and pretty much my answer to everything was “whatever the doctor says”. Lol. The only thing I really cared about was doing skin-to-skin in theatre and feeding as soon as possible. I guess thats the medic in me. Things worth considering include pain relief options, skin to skin, delayed cord clamping etc.
It’s also worth considering that while it’s good to have a birthing plan, with the current situation it may not be possible to hit all the parts with obviously issues surrounding your partner being present etc. But plan for it, and be open to change would be the best advice I can give. And please remember, that everyone who is there, is looking out for you and baby. Their job is to get you and baby through this experience as safely as possible.
I think its definitely worth considering food preparation before a newborn comes.. For both parents and toddlers.
I’m going to batch cook meals for the girls - so probably fish pie & spaghetti bolognese, they are the favourites. I also have lots of easy to cook meals ready to go in freezer and the cupboard
Before Harper and Indie I definitely had batched cooked stuff for us as well, but this time I’ve stocked the freezer with easy to cook meals for the BBQ. All the stuff we love.
I also know all the local restaurants that will deliver to us! Sometimes cooking is just too much effort and the kids can be super easy to deal with.
If you intend on breast-feeding, I feel I should warn you now. Babies seem to have a sixth sense about when food goes down on the table, so be warned. Dinners / lunches and snacks that you can eat one handed are a treat! For us, Harper was a really hungry baby, and she was always on the boob, Indie not so much, but I got a dab hand at eating one handed, and Ross was very good at cutting my dinners for me!
I think preparing siblings for the arrival of a newborn is so important. Indie and Harper are well used to the fact that a new baby is coming, they are at a good age, but over the past few days we have been chatting about mummy going to hospital for a few days. We have also been chatting about not screaming when the baby is sleeping (Indie has taken a penchant to running around screaming like a crocodile while Harper runs away crying!)
We have also bought some presents from the new baby for the girls and I bought new colouring books / sticker books and other little things from Mr Price that I can pull out if needed in times of crisis.
If you are going to be breastfeeding and worried about having another baby at home, I know lots of people have special boxes for their other children that they pull out at this time and thats a great idea. I’ve never done it, as on my last maternity leave Harper went off to childminder every day. But nothing is the same this time! I would have no worries about using Netflix or Disney + either to soothe toddlers when the newborn is around. This is a crazy time and as new mums we have to just do our best. Don’t ever forget that.
The other thing is spend some quality time with older siblings now as everything is going to change once the newborn comes. Last time Harper was a bit too young, but I definitely think she is going to feel it this time. So I’m going to have to make time for them when the baby comes for sure. We are really trying to enjoy these last few days as a family of four.
So given I’m in a rental, I haven’t been able to do any big jobs around the house! I haven’t even gotten a nursery ready - though given its my third maybe I’m a bit over that. I suppose the other side of it is that the newborn doesn’t exactly need a nursery for the first six months as they will be in with mum and dad! I have however been doing a lot of cleaning and sorting. I think it’s important to do jobs now that you don’t want to be annoying you over the next couple of weeks. This won’t apply to everyone, but I get easily frustrated with some things - so I need to have everything ready in advance.
For me this means I have sorted through all our baby clothes and divided them up into age ranges (every 6 month). Today I cleaned out the spare room and just found a home for everything that didn’t have one. The attic is next on my list to tackle and then I have to find a home for all of babies clothes.
I’m going to do a big clean of the house before I go into hospital as well. Clean all the bed clothes, wash and mop all the floors, so that it won’t need to be done for the first few weeks after baby arrives in case we are living in complete chaos.
I’ve gotten all my comfy clothes out and ready to go. I’ve purchased some extra PJs from Dunnes as well, and made sure they are breastfeeding friendly, especially for those first few weeks. One thing I’m going enjoy about being in lockdown, is at least we wont have very many visitors, so I can hang around in pyjamas as much as possible. Remember there are upsides to everything!
With regards clothing, if you are breastfeeding, remember my little tip that a stretchy vest (that you can pull down off boob) under loose tops will make everything breastfeeding friendly. I have lots of these in the house these days.
I’m not sure under what heading to put this, but I think its a really good idea to sit down in advance with your partner and discuss how you would like things to work going forward. Things like who’s going to do what jobs etc. Now bear in mind, this wont be easy for first time mums as its all up in the air, and you wont really know what’s coming for you. But for example, I plan on breastfeeding so I’m up a lot with baby feeding. I find it a great help then if Ross will get up and change babies nappy for example, or if he can deal with the burping if needs be.
In our house lots of our household chores are divided up, and so we do the same thing with baby chores. Ross is in charge of bins, nappy bins especially. I expect he will be in charge of feeding the toddlers too. It’s so important that you feel supported so work out what you would like help with and have a plan around it. It might not work out, and the plan might need to be super flexible but at least if you have given it some thought it might help.
So in my newborn essentials list I talked about all my newborn essentials. For me, I really like to have a changing table set up, both upstairs and downstairs. It’s just so much effort going up and down those stairs, especially if you are having frequent nappy changes.
What I will keep on my changing table…
Lots of nappies
Muslin cloths - lots of these guys too
Changes of clothes for baby - babygros & vests
Nappy creams - so same upstairs & downstairs, sudocrem, zinc + castor oil from boots
Breast pads - don’t forget these if breastfeeding!
If you have a big house I would consider having a box with a similar set up in each room. In our old house we had the downstairs changing table in the back bedroom (beside kitchen) so in our sitting room I had a little box with just a couple of the above items which means I didn’t need to move if I was on the couch with baby. Remember, especially if you are a first time mum without any toddlers, you can sit back and enjoy the fourth trimester. Feed baby, let them sleep on you on the couch, watch TV. God I wish I could do that again. So having everything there beside you is dead handy. If you don’t have the upstairs changing table in your bedroom you could do the same beside your bed. You could also consider having snacks & bottles of water in these boxes, but thats not something I ever did!
Get baby’s clothes ready. God I hate washing now so much, but nothing brings me so much joy as washing babies clothes before they are born. I wash everything before it goes onto babies skin. I’m personally not fussy about what washing powder you use ( a couple of people asked this - we just use a regular powder detergent but the suggestions is always non-bio) but I do make sure everything is washed, that includes bedding / sheets / blankets etc. I think it’s nice then to organise it in whatever way suits you. For me it’s simple; babygros in one drawer and vests in the other! I will hang up things like cardigans & fancy outfits.
Get extra help
If I was writing this in normal (non COVID19) times I would be seriously suggesting you consider getting in extra help.. whatever form that might take. Grandparents being the big one, so that you can get some rest. Friends to drop over dinners, hold baby while you have a shower etc. But all of that is kind of up in the air at the minute. A big one for us was a cleaner, I miss my cleaner so much. Now I realise not everyone can afford one, but they can be a godsend in those early days.
For now, and what’s going on, relish in the fact that you probably wont have any visitors so you don’t really need to worry too much about anything.
The other final tip, is sleep when baby sleeps. Don’t worry about the laundry, or the cooking. All that can wait. I honestly can’t stress the importance of getting sleep. It wont be as easy as that with the current situation, but as much as you can look after yourself. You are no good to baby if you haven’t had any rest.
Tips from you guys…
Prep foods that can be eaten one handed
Go to sleep until baby arrives… I wish!!
Frozen lunches (would never have thought of this!)
Financially prepare - fill oil tank, put extra money off bills, so when on maternity leave you have less outgoings
Try to learn hypnobirthing / gentle birthing
Lots of suggestions for having food delivered from places like Clean Cut Meals or Little Pea meals, or even just Tesco online.
Take time for yourself, this one is so true. Once you become a mum you can’t do anything by yourself pretty much ever again. I remember I didn’t even want to pee alone in case something would happen!
Contact details for lactation consultant, breastfeeding groups in your area - great idea, especially given current situation and the fact that a lot of services are going to be missing from hospital.
Organise clothes by size, newborn, 0-3, 3-6 months.
DON’T STRESS - ALL THAT BABY NEEDS IS YOU - love this one.
Getting children more independent and need less help - so able to dress themselves, go to toilet, put on shoes etc - some great ideas there too - and honestly we have been trying to do this a little bit ourselves.
Use raspberry leaf tea, practice breathing and lots of reading about newborns
Try to avoid the news for a better mindset before baby arrives, as everything is so negative at the minute
Ah the pre-covid one “ I got a pedicure for myself, waxing for my bits and one last date night dinner with hubby” what I would give to get a pedicure right now!!!
Having my little girls play with baby dolls and minding their heads - we actually have been playing lots with dolls lately - didn’t think of the minding their heads part!
Get someone to do a food shop for you when you get out of hospital (great idea!)
Pick up bits each week or month as there is so much to buy - great idea and something I definitely do!
Car seat installed in the car - ESSENTIAL.
Some suggesting having bottles / formula in the house just in case breast-feeding doesn’t go to plan - I also have some formula in the house just in case. You don’t want to be despondent in the middle of the night and worried that baby isn’t taking anything in.
Online breast-feeding courses - great idea.
Make time for yourself
Well I hope you found that useful. I’m not sure I can think of any more pre-baby topics so stay tuned for more blog posts on breastfeedng, those early days with a newborn, recovering from a c-section. Be sure to let me know (here in the comments) or over on instagram what else you would like to hear from me.
Thanks again as always for reading.
Love, Laura x