Preparing for your baby involves a bit of space assessment, shopping, and reorganizing. Doing this while you are still pregnant (and about 3 weeks before your due date) ensures that your space will be ready, and that you won’t have to shop while you could be enjoying and getting to know your baby. If you aren’t shopping before because of religious or other customs, make a plan for the spaces and share it with someone who can start to set up for you.


THE FIRST PLACE TO SLEEP
Sleeping near your newborn baby makes sense to most families-- you can do this by setting up a co-sleeper/mini co-sleeper or bassinet or creating a safe place in your bed for your baby to sleep. Co-sleepers sit next to the bed, and have one side that comes down so your baby will be in his own space next to you. This can be very convenient for nursing in the middle of the night, especially when you learn to nurse lying down.

Make room next to your bed for a bottle of water, a box of tissues and an extra cloth diaper. (Cloth diapers are good to have around for burp clothes, to wipe up spit up, and more.)

During the day your baby may nap on you, on the sofa, and in the stroller if you have a bassinet top, especially. The easiest thing about newborns is that they can’t roll yet. My daughter spent many hours napping on the sofa when the house was calm. (If you have pets you may want to designate a more specific napping place.)

*you can even* purchase an organic co-sleeper mattress--I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love it.

Most babies will switch to a crib at some point. Cribs can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks to order-- so even though you may not need it yet, it may be a more relaxing process to shop for it before you give birth. That way it will be there when you and your baby need it.

A DIAPER CHANGING AREA
Think of this as another place to connect with your child-- a slow diaper change can be an activity in itself. If you live in a bi-level space, you want to have a space on each level-- a contoured changing pad or something like a snuggle nest are simple ways to create that space. It's good to have a drawer that can easily open or a storage basket to hold supplies.

For night-time changes, until you learn to do them in the dark, a tiny push on light (the kind sold at hardware/houseware stores) is helpful and can be dimmed by partially covering it with a cloth diaper.

for your changing area you will need
a very basic diaper area cream (many people like Calendula) or an A&D ointment
(unscented) wipes
newborn diapers

*you can even* use dry wipes (plain wipes you can buy at surgical supply stores and wet with water yourself) or small inexpensive washcloths for the first 2-4 weeks. Commercial wipes are not the best for newborns—try to wait a few weeks to use them.

A PLACE FOR CLOTHING
you need to do the laundry first
You need to wash one simple snap-in-the-front outfit to bring to the birth (if you’re not going to be at home). You can do the rest of the baby laundry before you give birth, or have it ready for someone to do before you get home. Choose a detergent that is phosphorus free or plant based with little or no scent.

organize clothes & accessories
Organize clothes with labels on the shelf or drawer to make it easy for anyone who might be dressing the baby or helping with the laundry-- your partner will thank you if he or she doesn’t have to guess what and where a “onesie” is the very first time you ask. You can make labels on the backs of file cards put up with tape -- side-snap t-shirts/t-shirts, onesies, footies, gowns, pants, socks, receiving blankets, and cloth diapers-- labeling helps eliminate tension and makes it easy for other people to help put things away.

Over the next week, this thread will stay open for all questions and more ideas around making your home ready for your baby.

You can visit my website www.askyourfriendkira.com for more information.
My next forum will be "Now that my baby is here, what do I do? Babying: It’s not parenting yet!"

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Co-sleeping - real co-sleeping - doesn't have to be dangerous. Even if sidecar-type cribs are recommended, and even if the parents have bought one with every intention of using it, many moms find that their babies sleep best right beside them. This has been my experience as well as some of my friends'. I don't think parents should necessarily be discouraged from bed-sharing with their infants; rather, they should be instructed on how to do it safely.
I am in no way against co-sleeper cribs, but the reality is that many families co-sleep safely. It is only the tragedies that make it seem like all types of bed sharing are dangerous.
Mandy,

You make some good points-- the same thing happened to us with our co-sleeper with our first child-- the co-sleeper sat next to the bed (and provided a convenient place for my water bottle, diapers, and a few burp cloths.

As I said in my post, "Sleeping near your newborn baby makes sense to most families-- you can do this by setting up a co-sleeper/mini co-sleeper or bassinet or creating a safe place in your bed for your baby to sleep."

For more on safe co-sleeping, Dr. Sears has good information
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/T102200.asp
Thanks for the Dr. Sears link - he is one of the best!

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