You're Pregnant, Now What?
Congratulations on your pregnancy! There are few things more satisfying than being a parent, so get ready for your life to change (for the better). Regardless of whether it's your firstborn or not, it’s important to take the proper steps beforehand to ensure you, and your baby, have everything you need to kickstart this new life together. Now, don’t panic. Although this can feel overwhelming, rest assured—it is possible and it will be done!
To get you started on this journey, here is a short list of some things you can do while you are growing your baby.
Research Car Baby Equipment
There are many things that you can't purchase until your baby arrives but there are a few items that are not dependent on the size, sex or disposition of your child. It's way easier to make purchasing decisions without a cranky baby in hand. Items including cribs, car seats and strollers require research and testing before purchasing because trust me, you will want to physically see how easy it is to fold that expensive stroller with one hand before you drop the dough.
After you’ve given birth and have been released from the hospital, it’s time to bring your baby home for the first time. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure you have a car seat readily available for installation. If you haven’t already done your research, now is the time to start reading up on all the different car seat options. Believe it or not, there are tons of seats to choose from—all of which have unique features but serve the same purpose: protecting and cradling your baby. To learn how to install a rear-facing infant car seat, check out this link on installing!
Start & Finish Home Improvement Projects
Trying to get any home improvement projects done with a newborn is near impossible, which is why it’s smart that you get this type of work done before they arrive. This is especially true for those of you who still need to put together a nursery. Whether you choose to give them their own room or expand your master bedroom to fit a nursery nook, there is a lot to consider before their arrival. Needless to say, you’ll want to begin preparing your home for your new baby sooner rather than later.
To do this, start by determining what exactly you want for your new baby and how the flow of your house will work after they arrive. This will help you determine what you need and the cost of it. Does a person need a separate office to work in or does the baby get a nursery? What happens when someone visits or the doorbell rings? Walking through the flow of daily events will help you figure out the best placement for your baby's space.
Keep in mind that home improvement projects always come at a price. While there are many different ways to go about this process so that it’s affordable, if you own a home you’re in luck. An equity loan can be a beneficial way to get the money you need to renovate all at once, as they provide it to you in a lump sum. As an added bonus, you can deduct the interest of the equity loan since you’ll be putting the money towards home improvement. With the housing market the way it is now, adding value to your home is smart because when your little tyke is ready to go off to college you can take out another home equity loan to pay for their college.
Please be smart enough (I wasn't) to start a College Savings Plan for them when they are born. The smartest advice I can give you is put $ into a savings plan, even if it's only a couple of dollars a day.
If you don't own a home, you probably can't do much to change the size and shape of your living space but you sure as heck can make sure the baby's sleeping area is located in an ideal spot for your living situation, paint the room with some fresh color (use low voc) and put in a privacy screen if you need to.
Babyproof Your Home
Getting your home improvement projects completed before the birth of your baby isn’t the only house-related prep you can focus on. It’s also essential that you dedicate some time to babyproof your home. This means going room by room to make sure everything is safe for your baby to be around so no accidents occur.
When they are newborns it's making sure that they can't roll off the bed and that there are no plush pillows, blankets or straps that they can get wrapped into. Make sure you never leave them alone in high places.
In about 6 months when they begin moving around you might invest in non-skid pads for your rug or stove knob covers to prevent your child from turning anything on unintentionally.
For your living room, this could mean purchasing childproof outlet coverings or sticking on corner cards for furniture and other sharp edges. Make sure there are no cords dangling from your window shades (I don't think they make shades with cords anymore but if you have an old school one, watch those cords.)
Contrary to popular belief, babyproofing your home isn’t only limited to scanning each of the rooms in your household to prevent any unforeseeable hazards from occurring, it also means stocking up on your baby essentials. Baby bottles, food, carriers, diapers, the list goes on and on. Before your baby arrives, stock up on your baby basics, and review this list of useful baby products that might be missing from your list.
Organize Your Baby’s Wardrobe (the most important part)
Once you’ve finished setting up the nursery for your newborn, it’s time to get organized—starting with your baby’s wardrobe. Arranging your newborn's clothes will make it easier for you as you change them day in and day out, and allow you to know right off the bat what you’re working with. In order to organize their wardrobe correctly, however, you must first have an understanding of the different types of baby clothing. Between baby rompers, onesies, jumpsuits, sleepers, coveralls, and more—there's a lot to learn about when it comes to the attire.
When you have a comprehensive list of all the baby clothes you’ve gathered, you’re ready to start organizing. First and foremost, be sure that the clothing you arrange is fitting for the early stages of a baby. Generally speaking, infant clothing fits newborns of up to eight pounds, so as long as your child falls somewhere in that range, they’ll likely fit into their newborn clothes for roughly three to five weeks. From there, you’ll have to transition their wardrobe to adhere to their ongoing growth, so try not to overdo it when you’re first getting things together. Instead, focus on building a wardrobe with a few baby clothing basics including but not limited to: onesies, soft pants (with footies ideally), socks, sleepers, sweaters, and other layering items, a sleep sack, and an all-purpose swaddle.
Tip: Be sure to freshly launder your newborn’s clothing with gentle ingredients as their skin is extra sensitive during this stage of life. Stay away from heavy fragrance detergent and softener when possible.