As I was preparing for Xia’s birth, I scoured other blogs trying to find advice on things that might be good to know or have before baby was born, but I had a hard time finding anything helpful!
Since it seems that many of you, my friends, are expecting I thought I’d share my opinion with you on what I found to be useful after delivering baby and the days that followed.
Here is a list of things that I’m glad I had, I wish I had, or I ended up going out and buying after giving birth.
1. Take Care of Yourself
This is a piece of advice you’ve probably heard from lots of other mamas and papas out there, but if you can, take some time to care for yourself (and your relationship!) before the baby gets here.
Life isn’t over once your baby arrives – it’s just different! Do some things now that will be more difficult once the baby gets here.
Get your hair done. Get a manicure or pedicure, if that’s your thing. Go out to listen to some live music (after all, babies aren’t huge fans of large crowds of people or loud noise).
If you like to go out to eat or go to the movies, do it now. It can be a lot harder to do so once the baby gets here.
Need I mention sleep? You can’t really “stock up” on sleep, but take advantage of the extra time to sleep now. Sleep until noon if you want! Nap! Lay in bed reading! Whatever it is you want to do, take the time out of your hectic schedule to do it now.
You should also fit in some time with your friends and your partner. Socializing will become a lot less important once the baby gets here, and it’s especially important that you and your partner have a few date nights before the baby arrives!
Some people also love the idea of going on a babymoon, which will give you and your partner some alone time before the baby arrives.
2. Find a Pediatrician
Do your research and consult with a few pediatricians before the baby arrives. He’s going to need to visit his new doc within a few days of coming home. Make a list of questions to ask now so you don’t get overwhelmed.
3. Get Your Affairs in Order
This sounds a bit dark, but…do you have a will? If you and your partner don’t already have provisions in place, it’s important that you get them going now. You need to have plans if something happens to you and your partner – where will the baby go?
Plan ahead with your human resources department, too, for your insurance policy. You’ll need to find out what exactly is required to get your new baby on your plan. Some insurances won’t let you add the baby until it’s born, but others will – so do your research.
You’ll also want to have a chat with human resources about how long you and your partner will be out of work once the baby arrives.
4. Make Plans for the “Big Day”
If you can, preregister at your birthing center or hospital. You don’t want to have to worry about filling out paperwork while you’re in the midst of labor. Fill whatever you can out ahead of time or see if your doctor can do this for you.
You also need to make plans for your pets or your other children, if you have them. Who will take care of everything? Get this figured out ahead of time.
If family members or friends will need to be on stand-by to take care of pets and/or children, have instructions written down ahead of time for them.
f they are going to be meeting you at the hospital, make sure they know where to go, too – and make sure you’re familiar with the hospital policies (if you plan on giving birth in a hospital) for anybody who is going to visit you.
In many cases, you can take a tour of the hospital before your birth, too. This will give you a good idea of how the hospital is laid out and where your visitors can go to wait.
And have you thought at all about your birth plan? Obviously, this won’t be anything that is set in stone, but it’s a good idea to have an idea of how you want things to go.
You will also want to make plans for things like newborn photography (which happens about seven to ten days after birth) and baptisms.
5. Pay Your Bills
Whatever bills can be paid ahead of time, pay them now. And if they can’t get them on autopay!
6. Install Your Car Seat
Make sure the car seat is installed properly in your vehicle. Do it now so you don’t have to worry about it just as you’re getting ready to leave the hospital. Follow the guidelines and make sure it is rear-facing.
If you have no clue how to install a car seat, there are some helpful videos online. Many fire stations will also help you out with this.
While you’re working on the car, make sure you also fill the car’s gas tank! Keep it at least two-thirds full at all times in the weeks leading up to labor. You don’t want to have to stop for gas in the middle of a contraction, do you?
7. Put Together the Baby Gear
If your partner is feeling a bit lost as you’re navigating the ins and outs of late pregnancy, recruit him to help assemble your baby gear.
Bassinets, strollers, and cribs can be a real pill to put together, so consider starting now. Some gear requires batteries, so make sure you have all that on hand, too.
8. Make Those Big Baby Decisions
Will your baby be baptized? If you have a boy, will he be circumcised? Do you want to bank your baby’s cord blood? Make these choices now so you don’t have to worry about them later on.
9. Get the House in Tip Top Shape
If you have any house projects to finish up, make sure you don’t have any loose ends before the baby arrives. Dust the blinds. Reorganize the bathroom vanity.
A big item to clean? The fridge. You’re going to have visitors coming over, and they’re probably going to be bringing food. So make sure you have plenty of room in that fridge!
10. Set the House Up For Baby
This isn’t the same as the last point I mentioned – I promise! You also need to make sure your house is as perfect as possible before you get that baby home. Prep things now, and you’ll thank yourself later.
For starters, make sure you have changing stations set up all around the house. You should stock diapers, diaper cream, wipes, lotion, onesies, changing pads, all of that wherever you might be spending time in your house.
That way, you won’t have to worry about climbing the stairs or fumbling around in the dark to change the baby.
Do a deep clean of the “baby” areas, too. What do I mean by this? Make sure your carpets, baseboards, etc are clean. You don’t want your baby rolling around on a stinky carpet!
You should also stock nursing essentials where you plan to use them the most. Choose a comfortable spot, like your couch, the bed, or the baby’s nursery. You can use a boppy pillow to nurse in other locations, too, but make sure you have all of your gear exactly where you need it to be.
Something else you’ll want stashed all around the house? Your postpartum essentials. At the very least, you’re going to need things like perineal balm, numbing spray, peri bottles, flushable wipes, hemorrhoid cream…the list goes on. Put multiples of these in each bathroom!
If you got any cute baby clothes at your baby shower, you should take the time to wash and fold them now, too.
This can help reduce allergies when you put an outfit on your baby later on and find that it’s dirty or doesn’t react well with his skin.
Remember, baby skin is sensitive – so take the time to wash everything first (that includes clothing as well as blankets, sheets, covers, etc).
Make sure the house is safe for the baby, too. Get rid of any cabinets filled with toxic chemicals, as your baby will be crawling before you know it.
Store cleaning products out of reach and make sure medications are where baby can’t get to them. You can use magnetic locks on cupboards that the baby might be able to get to, too
Firearms also need to be stored securely out of reach. Remove ammunition and keep it separately from the gun, and store keys somewhere that is different from where you keep other household keys. Make sure you check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, too.
Other spots you’re going to want to clean? Germy areas like dish rags, kitchen sinks, stove knobs, faucet handles, sponges, refrigerator handles, and toothbrush holders.
11. Go Shopping
You probably already had a baby shower and got most of the gear you need for baby (I’m looking at you, closet full of adorable onesies!).
But the long list of things that you need doesn’t end with diaper cream, bassinets, and car seats – there is some other gear you’re going to want to stock up on before baby arrives.
At the very least, make sure you’re stocked up on all of the household essentials – like Advil, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. You don’t want to be worried about running out of these things while you’re taking care of baby!
12. Pain Relief & Herbs
- Sitz bath– was really nice to soak in
- Afterbirth Sitz bath Herbs– a soothing tea soak to use with the Sitz bath
- Blue Cohosh & Shepherds Purse– herbs the midwife gave me to slow postpartum bleeding. I only had to take 1 dropperfull of each. *Just a warning, this stuff tastes horrible! It’s like drinking straight Vodka! But it works.
- Tylenol– make sure you have some on hand, just in case. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are not recommended.
- Peri Cold Packs– I used Feme Pads, but would not recommend them as they only stay cold for about 5 min., then you have to switch it out again. I’d recommend getting something like these Standard Cold Packs, what they use in the hospital. They stay cold much longer!
- Stool Softener– Try eating a lot of prunes first, but if you haven’t had a bowel movement by the end of the second day (after giving birth), you’d be wise to begin taking a stool softener! It’s a good idea to eat a few prunes every day throughout the pregnancy too, to help keep you regular.
- Tucks Pads– These are wonderful for postpartum relief! The cooling sensation eases the pain while healing. Line your menstrual pad with them after using the bathroom, it really helps!
13. Other Postpartum
- Some new undies in a bigger size (granny panties, no thongs ladies!); stretchy cotton is good.
- Overnight menstrual pads with wings; lots of them.
14. Prepping to Breastfeed
- Lanolin– One of the things I had to have hubby to run out and get for me! (CVS has a generic brand that’s probably cheaper.)
- Nursing Pads
- Soothies– I’ve used these with all three of my babies. I could not have survived the first few weeks of breastfeeding without them!! ( I think Walgreens may carry these as well as many online retailers.)
15. Baby Gear
There’s a ton of stuff you’ll need, obviously, but here are two things that I’m especially glad I had in the first days…
Leachco Nap ‘N Pack– I loved having this beside me in the master bed for the first week! (Now me and baby sleep in the nursery, with her in her crib or on my chest, and hubby gets the master bedroom to himself so he can sleep!)
Papasan Seat– This is another thing I had to buy after baby was born. (I totally take back what I said in a previous post about not needing a bouncer!!
I had forgotten how much Titus loved this when he was a baby.) I’d sold his, but I found another one on craigslist and bought it for Xia. She loves it! It’s been a lifesaver.
16. Prep Some Food
If you don’t have a husband who cooks, or somebody who will be coming to stay with you and cook for you for at least the first week, then I would highly recommend freezing meals before baby arrives.
If I hadn’t prepared, my kids would have had pizza every night for two weeks (if I know my husband)!
Here are the meals that I froze and what we thought of them:
Crispy Chicken & Rice Casserole– a regular in our home; we love this recipe, and it freezes very well!
Stuffed Jumbo Pasta Shells– another favorite of ours which also freezes very nicely.
Easy Cheesy Corn Bake– this one was good, and the kids ate it, but it wasn’t one of those meals that they would ask for. I cut it into squares and froze them in a Ziploc bag, and thawed them out as a side dish.
Sweet & Sour Pork– definitely a keeper in our home! We loved this recipe.
Easy Peezy Pizza Dough– I loved that this could be made in the bread machine. Easy to make and freeze, and it was good too! I sprinkled garlic powder around the crust before baking, then rubbed butter on it once it was done. Very good!
Mandarin Orange Chicken– Yuck!! We all hated it. A total waste of good oranges!
Turkey Meatloaf– Didn’t come out very good. Meatloaf’s freeze well, but mine wasn’t very tasty.
Mashed Potatoes– I love the idea of making a huge batch of mashed potatoes, then freezing them in individual serving sizes using a cupcake tin.
The only problem is that sometimes when they are nuked in the microwave they turn out watery. Maybe if they thawed in the fridge first they’d be better.
Apple Bread– We LOVE this recipe. Just make sure that it’s cooked all the way through before freezing it!!
Banana Bread Muffins– As always the kids loved having these for breakfast and snacks.
Waffles– I made two huge batches and froze them for breakfasts.
2- Bean Chili– another staple in our home. This was the first time I’d frozen it; it did well. I poured it in a freezer bag once it had cooled off, and laid it flat on it’s side in the freezer to take up less room. Yummy!
Hamburger Casserole– this one we’ve made for years, but this was the first time I’d frozen it.
It did really well and was just as good to eat. (I don’t have the recipe on my blog yet, but I happened to find the exact same recipe on another site, so I’ll link to it.)
Of course, there are tons more freezer recipes that you can find online! I really enjoyed having meals pre-made, and am planning on continuing to cook and freeze meals ahead of time just to make my life easier!
Well, I hope this has been helpful to some of you! If you have any other questions or want any advice, please feel free to ask away! I’ll be glad to give my humble opinion.
And if you have anything to add to this list (something that might be overlooked by an expectant mother) please do share!
updated 05/01/2020 by Rebekah Pierce
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.