1. Stock up on essentials... like diapers! Newborns wet 6-8 (or more!) diapers per day. That's a lot of diapers and you don't want to be standing sleepy-eyed at the grocery store at 3 AM because you ran out. Plan to use 10 diapers a day and buy enough diapers to get you through the first sleep-deprived weeks. Seventh Generation, a company known for its eco-friendly cleaning products, also makes diapers that are cloth-like and soft. If your store doesn't carry them, you can order them on Amazon.com and have them delivered right to your door.
2. Pre-wash clothing and blankets. While you may not mind wearing clothes that are brand new with tags, it's a good idea to pre-wash baby's items in a free and clear laundry detergent. Baby's skin may be sensitive and a baby with a skin rash is generally an unhappy baby. Seventh Generation offers a free and clear detergent that is suitable for your clothes and baby's too.
3. Have the car seat ready. Install baby's car seat in the car and, if possible, have the police department or other safety official inspect it. You'd be very surprised to know that a lot of parents don't install them properly. If you are a first time parent, make sure that you read the instructions so that you will be buckling baby up properly.
4. Let your pets know their zones. Set up baby's crib well in advance of your due date and, if you have cats, teach them to avoid jumping in the crib. We re-trained a cat once to not nap in the baby's crib while I was still pregnant. We filled the crib with balloons so when he jumped in, he'd pop some with his claws and run away from the crib to find a better place to nap. It's only fair to break your pets gently into new rules for zones before baby arrives.
5. Rearrange the furniture. We knew we would need to make room for all of baby's items, so we rearranged furniture before the baby came. This meant juggling to get room for the bassinet in our bedroom and making room for a playpen in our living room. Pregnant women should not lift furniture, so leave the heavy lifting to others!
6. Check the smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm batteries. Generally, you do this every six months anyway, but with new baby preparations going on, it might slip your mind. When you become a parent, you become intensely aware of safety issues. In case of a fire, you can escape. A baby or small child can't. Make sure all of your alarms have fresh batteries and that there is an adequate number of alarms throughout your home. Don't forget the carbon monoxide detector.
7. Double check the temperature of the hot water heater. You may like your showers scalding hot, but having your hot water tank temperature set too high not only costs extra money via a higher utility bill, but it also places your child at risk for burns. Set your temp to a maximum of 120 degrees. You don't really need your water any hotter than that.
8. Consider getting a ceiling fan. Past research has shown that having a fan running in baby's room can decrease the incidence of SIDS. Researchers believe that having fresh airflow helps stop babies from rebreathing lower quality air.
9. Check your thermostat. Don't roast your baby by keeping your home too warm. Newborn babies love to be swaddled, but they don't love to sweat. We kept our children's room cooler than the main rooms of the home because they slept better. Some sites recommend an optimal room temp of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Music! They say that music calms the savage beast, and sometimes it calms a crying baby. One thing we always did to prepare the nursery for each of our children was to buy them their own CD player. We kept a stack of classical music (hubby insisted on Mozart because it is supposed to make your baby smarter) and played it for them as they drifted off to sleep. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring was the only thing that saved my sanity during the first few weeks after our daughter was born. That was the song that got her to settle down to sleep!
There's so much to do to prepare your home for a new arrival, but if you're organized and keep a list to check off the important tasks, you'll have your home ready for baby in no time. Many of these tips are things that you can do well in advance of your anticipated due date and some will save you money too.
About the SponsorSeventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment. Established in 1988, the Burlington, Vermont based company remains an independent, privately-held company distributing products to natural food stores, supermarkets, mass merchants, and online retailers across the United States and Canada.
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.