Preparing for a Newborn at Home
When we first brought Little Fox home from the hospital, we had literally just moved. It was the first night sleeping in that house for all of us. (Actually, we took her home to Baba’s house for the first week so that all our stuff could get moved). All my nesting, organizing… everything I did in my last trimester seemed wasted as we started from scratch. I was not prepared for what life with a newborn would actually be like. I mean, babies are supposed to sleep 18 hours out of the day… why would I be tired? Well, I learned.
This time we won’t be moving at the same time as preparing for a newborn. I can nest the home our newborn will be coming to. And all the things I accidentally had that I needed last time? Well this time I can plan to have those things on hand. So let me share with you the greatest things we had for taking care of baby (and Mom) when we got home from the hospital. And what we ended up buying once baby got home because we didn’t have.
Also please note this article will contain Amazon affiliate links. They are there for you convenience, but should you choose to buy a product within 24 hours of clicking the link, we will get a small commission at no extra charge to yourself. Amazon.ca links will be throughout the article, and Amazon.com links will be compiled at the bottom.
Getting Through the Night Checklist
A bassinet is a perfect thing for newborns and their tired moms. We used a bassinet for Little Fox for about the first two months. It is way easier to pick your baby up and put her down into a bassinet than a crib. And when that happens five times a night, your arms will thank you for choosing a bassinet. (Another option is a co-sleeper which you can put on the bed with you – or actual bedsharing but be sure to consult with an expert on proper bed-sharing safety. I need blankets to sleep so unfortunately it isn’t an option for me!) I recommend you look for a used bassinet at a local children’s store or on a buy and sell site. Since they aren’t used for long you can find ones in good condition without paying full price!
Have a few changes of crib sheets/whatever type of sheet goes on baby’s sleeping surface. We layered two crib sheets with a puppy pad under the first. This meant a middle of the night diaper explosion just meant removing the top layer and we were good to go!
Besides a bassinet, we recommend a pack and play instead of a crib. We got this one (with a different pattern), and our 18-month-old still uses it. It is great for several reasons: high top layer for easy pick up in early months, portable (baby sleeps in same bed even when traveling), and it is easy to move around in the room. We are never buying a crib; our pack and play is just too convenient!
Finally we got some swaddlers! These receiving blankets really help keep a newborn happy and prevent them from waking up because of the startle reflex. Bamboo ones are my favourite because they are so soft!
I didn’t want to get a changing table. We got one as a gift though, and now I am so grateful! So, while it is unnecessary, I still recommend getting one now. Try and get one that is a convertible piece of furniture. That way you’ll be able to use it after the diaper days. Again, ours was a gift so I couldn’t find anything like it on Amazon. But basically, there is a spot for a diaper pail in ours, one shelf and three drawers for clothes.
Changing table or not – you need to get puppy pads! These things are amazing! They may have been made for training puppies, but they are great for changing babies. We keep one on our change table and two in the diaper bag. Wherever we change Little Fox we set out the puppy pad. This is especially useful when going somewhere that doesn’t have a space to change babies. If you have to change your baby on the floor, you’ll want to put something under her! And when your baby goes during a change, or the diaper was -that- messy, just slide a new pad underneath and pull the dirty one away. It also keeps the change pad clean.
Puppy pads were a great tip from my Mother in Law.
As for a diaper pail, I recommend some kind of garbage can that has a step-to-open lid. Amazon tells me this is called a foot pedal. You definitely want a lid to contain the smell, but you may not always have hands to open it. I want to purchase a new one before our second baby comes because I am not happy with our current diaper pail. (Because it is no hands free). After shopping around, I want to get this one:
After all this talk on diaper pails, I have to mention one of my first articles for TheByzantineLife.com. Be sure to read about How To Save Space In Your Diaper Pail before your newborn arrives! Or after, since it is never too late to make your life easier.
Getting Thing Done with a Baby
When the baby was still inside you, it was easy to carry her for 24 hours a day. Outside the womb? Not so much. One way to help you carry your baby for more time once she is born is by getting a wear-the-baby. (That is what we call ours). A baby carrier is perfect for carrying your baby while still having arms free to clean, eat, or help out your toddler. We got this one from Amazon and I loved it, which is why we will be using it again for Little Badger.
Sometimes you just can’t hold your baby. Like while you are cooking, showering, or going up a ladder. There are only two good solutions I have found for this: a bouncy seat/bouncer and a swing. They don’t have the bouncer we got on Amazon right now but I’ll link to two comparable ones.
For Nursing Newborns
I nursed Little Fox for 17 months. I was willing to nurse her for longer, but she just wasn’t interested anymore. With how badly nursing went during our week stay at the hospital, it seems like a miracle that we made it as long as we did. Here is some of the things that helped us make it in our nursing journey.
We bought the My Brest Friend nursing pillow after watching a video on breastfeeding before Little Fox was born. his pillow is so amazing. It provides back support, clips on for stability, and is large enough to aid a sleepy 16-month-old. Although I want to try natural nursing for baby number 2 (something I’ve recently read about) I know I am still going to be using this pillow!
My husband’s aunt was a neo-natal intensive care unit nurse. She gave us lots of great baby advise in those early newborn days. And she is the one who helped me to nurse Little Fox when everything I’d learned wasn’t working. (And a week in the hospital with three different lactation consultants didn’t help either). She took one look at me trying to nurse Little Fox and said, “You need a nipple shield.” Then she ran off to the nearest pharmacy and got us two. A few months into nursing Little Fox weaned herself off the nipple shield. She used to cry if I offered to feed her without it on. And then suddenly she grabbed it and threw it out of her way. The nipple shield saved our nursing relationship and I’m adding the shield to our hospital bag this time!
Also make sure to grab some nipple cream and vitamin D drops if you’re nursing. (Formula has vitamin D added). Your best bet is your local pharmacy for these items, although you could get a subscription on Amazon.
If You are Formula Feeding
So, obviously I didn’t formula feed, but I have heard enough mothers talk about this item that I couldn’t not tell you about it. I know breastfeeding is not always possible, and I didn’t really enjoy it. (What kept me at it was the fact that it was the best for Little Fox, convenient, and inexpensive). Therefore, I won’t judge if you’re choosing not to, and I know in some cases it isn’t even an option. If you are in either of those situations, you’ll want to check out this Formula Pro maker, which makes the bottles for you instead of you manually doing it all the time. It also prevents air bubbles from getting in the formula.
This is the most comparable to what we got. It is slightly fancier with the diaper attachment, but otherwise looks the same.
And this is the exact cover we have!
One thing I really apreciated having on hand when we had a newborn was dry shampoo. Inevitably, Little Fox would not sleep Saturday nights (impressive how they know the day of the week that young!). Then my hair would be a mess Sunday morning, but I needed extra sleep more than a shower. Being able to quickly use some dry shampoo on occassions like those made me feel more put together for church despite a rough night with the baby. I’m not big into hair products so I don’t have a preference for dry shampoo. Most brands have them so you’ll probably want one from your favourite company.
The other side to nesting is organizing the home! What are you doing to make your space beautiful and get ready for a baby? Let me know in the comments! Working on my home organization venture and preparing for Online Organization Consultations is my main nesting outlet at the moment. Our local pregnancy options centre is getting ready to move buildings, so I am also working on plans to help them be organized and design their space for success too!