Getting your home ready for a new baby is one of the most exciting, and stressful thing you will do as an expectant parent. Everyone has an idea of what they want in the “perfect” nursery, and somehow in our society we’ve begun to associate creating the perfect environment for baby with being the perfect parents for baby.
Let’s let go of the stress, people!
What your baby wants and needs is you….and some other basics like diapers and food. If you want to go all out on the perfect nursery that looks like it came right out of the pages of the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue, go for it! But don’t forget that you’re doing it for you, not for the baby.
All that being said, there are a few things you can do to get your house ready to make sure you and your baby are safe and comfortable.
1. Read up on infant sleep safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers detailed instructions here on the best way reduce the risk of SIDS. For example, you want to make sure your crib mattress is firm, and that there is nothing in the crib (blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads) that could pose a suffocation risk. I used Halo sleep sacks to keep both of my babies warm at night, and I was sad when they outgrew them. Not only do they keep little toes warm at night, but they also make it significantly tougher for older babies and toddler to climb out of the crib!
2. Set up diaper changing stations all over the house. There’s nothing fun about a diaper blowout, and trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to be running through 4 rooms and up a flight of stairs, holding a wiggly and stinky baby, all the while praying that you’re not leaving a poop trail in your wake. A towel, a few diapers, and some wipes hidden in the corner of the rooms you frequent will look like the holy grail to you in those situations. Trust me.
3. Don’t go crazy baby proofing everything just yet. Your new baby will be an adorable little potato for a few months, who can’t roll, crawl, or walk towards danger. Baby proof a little bit at a time, buying cabinet locks and corner protectors with your weekly groceries, so that by the time your little bundle of joy starts moving on their own, you’ll be ready.
4. BUY USED! I’m a big fan of buying baby products on the facebook yardsale sites and saving money that way. Babies are only in each stage for such a short while that lots are products are sold “like new” for a fraction of the cost. Baby gyms, exersaucers, infant toys, etc, are all items that we all feel like we need, but only ever actually get used a few times. (This doesn’t apply to car seats, however, which should always be bought new!)
5. Mostly importantly : Find your village. Who can you call at 11 am on a random Thursday when your baby is making a funny noise and you’re not sure if she is laughing or has gas? Who can you commiserate with about the fact that your husband stays in the bathroom for 45 minutes at a time when you haven’t showered in a week? Who can talk you down when you’re convinced that you’re screwing this whole thing up? They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in my experience, finding your village is the number one most important thing you can do to prepare yourself and your home for your new baby.