Get Ready to Bring Your New Baby Home

When you’re expecting, you see lots of lists: lists of what to eat, what to pack in your hospital bag, baby names, things to buy — the list of lists could go on and on. But what do you really need to do to get ready to bring your new baby home?

Here are the five real essentials!

Organize the nursery

You might know exactly what your nursery will look like or you might be waiting till you meet your baby before you decide. A lot of things about that room can wait for a while — your baby may sleep in a cradle in your bedroom for a few months. Once you’re home, you can finish furnishing, decorating, and babyproofing.

There are some things that need to be in the room and organized before your new son or daughter comes home, though. You should have a crib so that your baby can go to his or her own room as soon as it’s time. When that is will be up to you, your baby, and possible your pediatrician, but you don’t want to have the bother of crib shopping in a hurry. Pillows and stuffed toys are fine for decorating, but be sure to remove them when you put your baby to bed.

You’ll need a changing station — a safe place to change your baby with a diaper pail or Diaper Genie  nearby. The top of a dresser is handy, so you can store clothes and diapers near your changing space. A railing is a good idea if you go this route. In theory, you will never step away from your child while they’re on the changing surface, but most parents will tell you that it happens. You won’t know in advance that your baby is ready to turn over.

The third essential is a comfortable place for you to sit. Go traditional with a rocking chair or pick a comfortable armchair, but make sure it’s a seat that you can enjoy spending a lot of time in.

Get some meals in the freezer

When the desire to nest hits, use that energy to prep some meals for your freezer. This is also a good time to double your regular recipes for stews, casseroles, or chili. Serve half and put the rest into the freezer, clearly labeled, for the first days or weeks after you bring your baby home.

This is a great idea for a baby shower, too! If you’re organizing a shower for a friend, distribute oven-safe freezer containers (foil pans can be a great choice) among friends with the invitations and ask them to bring their favorite make-ahead dish to fill the mom-to-be’s freezer.

Either way, a list of what’s in the freezer will make sure that everything gets eaten, rather than being forgotten in the freezer.

Pack a bag

Some moms take a full suitcase to the hospital while others go in whatever they’re standing up in when it’s time to go. If you don’t have everything you need, the hospital staff will see to that toothbrush or blanket, so don’t fret over this too much.

Still, you might want to take a book to read, something to fix your hair with, and clothes for you and the baby to wear home. A maternity dress is likely to be the most comfortable option for you.

Install the car seat

You won’t be able to drive your child home without an approved car seat properly installed in your car. You’ll need a rear-facing infant seat to begin with, though many car seats nowadays are convertible. While hand-me-downs are great for most baby gear, your car seat has to be an approved model, and that usually means you’ll need a new one.

In Northwest Arkansas, the police department will check your car seat and make sure that you have it installed correctly.

Hire a cleaning service

Get your home a thorough deep cleaning before you get home from the hospital. This is partly to make sure that your home is fresh and clean for your new baby’s health, but mostly for you. An untidy or dirty home is stressful and unpleasant, and that’s the last thing you need when you get home with your new bundle of joy.

On the other hand, the end of your pregnancy is not a great time to be cleaning your house. You don’t have the energy, you may feel awkward when you try to bend down or reach up, and you really shouldn’t be inhaling chemicals. This is the perfect time to hire professional cleaners.

Make sure they choose nontoxic cleaning solutions.

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