Every time I was pregnant and nearing the birth of one of my children, I got the same question repeatedly: “So, are you ready for the baby yet?” With each subsequent pregnancy, there was less and less to be done for me to answer yes – which was partly due to the fact that we had all the stuff from our first pregnancy(ies), and partly due to the fact that we realized that you don’t need too much to prepare for a baby.
Theoretically, if you have clothing, diapers, and a dresser drawer, your baby can come and you’ll be fine – that’s what I’ve been told anyway. I’ve never taken minimalism to that extreme, but those who say this have a point. Babies need very little, and we give them a lot!
So what do you need to do to prepare your house read for your newborn baby?
Place For Baby To Sleep
This means different things for different people. There are those who strictly co-sleep and don’t buy any type of bed for the baby, and there are those who have a crib, Moses basket, bassinet, and pack-n-play. There are parents who have their baby share a room with them and parents who prefer the baby has their own room right off the bat. Whatever it is you choose for your baby, they will definitely need to sleep somewhere, so make sure you have that figured out ahead of time.
All babies need diapers, so all babies will need a place to have their diaper changed. Some people buy changing tables and some people place a changing pad on top of the baby’s dresser. Decide which will work best for you, and try to have that ready before baby’s arrival. If you don’t have it prepared, no worries. Diapers can easily be changed on a bed or the floor. It’s just easier if you have a specific place set aside for diaper changes.
Clothing And Clothing Storage
Unless you live in a tropical climate (and even then), your baby will need clothes. As you purchase clothing, keep in mind that babies grow very quickly in the first year and won’t be wearing many of those adorable outfits more than once or twice. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on clothing. Buy them from yard sales, thrift stores, or let your relatives purchase them new for you. You’ll also need a dresser and/or closet for the baby’s clothing, or space in your own dresser/closet for their clothes.
Breast Pump (Or Formula) And Bottles
If you plan on formula feeding your baby, then formula and bottles are absolute essentials. Your baby needs them to eat. If you are planning on breastfeeding, you are really all the baby will really need. However, many women have challenges with supply or engorgement and since most insurance companies now cover breast pumps, you really should get one. It comes in handy if you need to pump hind milk after a feeding, if you want to sleep a little bit and let your husband take care of the feedings, or if you want to go out without your baby.
This isn’t part of your house, but the hospital won’t let you leave without one and even if you birth at home, you can’t take your baby anywhere until you have one. It’s best to buy these new, or to buy a used one that is no more than five years old and has never been in an accident from someone you trust.
Those are the only essentials that you really need to prepare your house for the baby birth or adoption. However, there are lots of other things that you might want to prepare before the baby comes. They aren’t essentials, but they do make life easier.
A Clean House
It’s really nice to have a clean house before the baby comes. If you’re somewhere in your second trimester and you just don’t have the energy to take care of that, don’t worry because most women have a nesting instinct kick in in the days and weeks before delivery. I most certainly do. If you nest (and most women will), you will be surprised the level of clean you will reach in your home. Savor it. Once the baby comes, it will never be that clean again.
None of these are necessarily essentials, but things like a swing, bouncer, play mat, baby carrier, and baby monitor are really nice to have. These are big ticket, expensive items, so if you are tight on money, try to purchase them used, borrow them, or put them on your baby registry so others can give them as gifts.
You may find that you have purchased all these large, space-hogging items and your baby can’t stand them. We were given a swing and my first two children hated it. They almost never stayed in the seat for more than a few minutes before screaming. It bought me enough time to go to the bathroom, but that was usually it. With my first babies it was not only a waste of money, but a waste of space. Thankfully, my third loved it for awhile, spending all of her daytime sleeping hours in there for the first three months of her life.
I also have very little use for a stroller. It’s a huge, bulky thing to have around most of the time, and I prefer to wear my babies. However, once in awhile for things like walks through the neighborhood and trips to the mall, a stroller is really handy, so we purchased one second hand at a yard sale for $40. Best investment ever. I wouldn’t suggest spending any more than that, though.
The last thing I can think of that was really handy when my babies were born, was having prepared freezer meals ahead of time. The members of our church showered us with meals a few times a week until my kids were a couple weeks old, but when we weren’t getting a meal from friends or family, it was nice to pull a home cooked meal out of the freezer and pop it in the crock pot without having to chop a single vegetable.
I know having a baby can seem so daunting, especially as the date gets closer and closer, but relax. They really don’t need much more than loving parents to take care of them. Do what you can to prepare and if the things on your list don’t happen before the delivery or adoption date, know that you and the baby will be absolutely fine anyway.