When I was pregnant with my only child, I read books like, "What To Expect When You're Expecting", and I used a weekly pregnancy app to understand what was going on with my body and my baby. I took all the steps recommended on checklists to prepare for going to the hospital and having what we needed. What I'm not sure I was truly prepared for was what to expect after you bring your baby home!
If you're breastfeeding, get a quality breast pump, preferably hospital grade. Bottling your milk will both help with milk production in between feedings, and help others help you by taking on feeding sessions while you rest. Win Win!
Do you plan on introducing your new baby to his/her crib immediately? Consider keeping baby close at night by using a co-sleeper that attaches to the bed, or a bassinet. This will be a great help when getting up numerous times a night to feed him/her.
You probably got or will get lots of clothes for your new baby! Try to keep from removing the tags before baby comes. He/she will grow fast, and you will not be able to use everything for long. If the tag is still on it, you can exchange it for a bigger size.
If you have a separate room for your baby, ensure it is as dark and quiet as possible. You'll want your baby to be able to sleep soundly during the day and when noisy outside. Blackout curtains and a white noise machine is a must!
Consider all safety hazards in your house. Put bumpers on sharp edged furniture. Block unused power outlets. Lock cabinets (although it will take some time until the crawling begins). Put dangerous materials up high. Look low to locate other possible hazards. In addition to safety, think comfort; create a soft, quiet zone in the house to spend quality time with and rock your baby. Invest in a glider or swing for baby to rest alone as well.
Your meal plan
You may currently cook and eat in most nights. This will be harder to do when you bring your new baby home. Plan your meals ahead and buy or prepare frozen foods for quick meals. Ask for restaurant gift certificates from friends and family who ask to help you somehow. It's important to keep yourself fed in addition to your baby, especially if you are breastfeeding. Don't forget to eat!
Write down everything you do on a daily basis. Will you be able to handle the same workload every day with a newborn baby? Doubt it. Consider putting together a new schedule, delegating some essential tasks to Daddy or other family members. Schedule some time for yourself EVERY day. Sounds silly, but you will forget if you don't! Take the time to do whatever you want to do that day. Even if it's just taking a walk around the block. Make sure your family knows about this time slot and helps you to make it happen!
Discuss your plans with your spouse/partner. It's important to go through every bit of this process together. I hope this list helps you in your journey! Congratulations and enjoy every moment with your baby! The weeks, months, and years fly by!
Professional Organizer and Senior Move Manager