Preparing for your first – or a subsequent – baby can be overwhelming. Even if you’re relatively minimalistic or are trying to fit it all in your studio apartment, there’s still a lot to think about, and a lot to choose from. But where to start? I’ve linked some of the products we chose for our baby(ies) in the article below if you’re interested.
Well, let’s assume you give birth at the hospital or a birthing centre. You’ll need a way to get the baby home and a way to transport him or her. Depending on your living situation, that could mean different things. For us, we needed a car seat, a stroller that works with the car seat, and a baby carrier, wrap or sling. Your needs may be different depending on your family and living situation. If you don’t own a car you may not need a car seat, for instance.
Then once you get the baby home, you’ll need somewhere for them to sleep. For us this looked like a bassinet beside the bed for the first few months and then a crib after that. Some folks with larger master bedrooms move the crib right into the bedroom and skip the bassinet. Some families with less living space (think: Toronto and Vancouver) choose to go with a mini crib. If you plan to co-sleep, you’ll need to know how to do that safely and if there are any products you would like that will help (like an in-the-bed co-sleeper or something of that nature). We swaddled our first baby in a variety of products including Aden and Anais muslin swaddles, Summer infant Swaddlemes and the Woombie, all worth their weight in gold if it helps gain some much-needed shuteye.
Soon enough they’ll wake up (new flash – they’ll wake up screaming) and need to eat. We had what we needed for this as it was attached to my body but if you choose to formula feed, you’ll obviously need formula and bottles. You can choose whether you’d like a warmer and a sterilizer – some families choose them, some don’t. If you plan to breastfeed, you’re mostly good to go but it helps to have some nipple cream or ointment and a nursing pillow. You may want to consider bottles and a breast pump as well – often these products go together as the bottles work with the pump. A nursing cover is optional depending on your preference.
If you have two floors in your home, you’ll want a safe place to put the baby on each floor, like a playard or another bassinet or similar product. You might want to think about your bathing strategy (sink vs support in the tub vs bathe with the baby vs small baby tub) and how you’re going to get all their stuff around with you (like a diaper bag, for instance). Besides that, and some clothes, you can choose what else you’d like to have on hand. As they grow and your life with them evolves, you’ll realize additional things you need like teethers, pacifiers, toys, baby-friendly dishes, sippy cups, a highchair etc. I, myself, have driven everyone around me insane while trying to add decor to the baby’s room because it’s important to me that I enjoy being in there.
And last, but certainly not least, it’s important – especially if this is your first baby – to prepare your body. I know you’re tired and you’re busy and you’re sore but try and ensure you stay even somewhat active – my pregnancy activities of choice have been yoga and water workouts. I hated yoga as it’s not my style but I’m glad I forced myself to go. Water workouts are the bomb dot com while pregnant if you have one in your area. Plus you’ll get to hear all the locker room conversations from the 70/80 somethings who frequent these classes. It’s worth it just for that some days. Find the time to do something. Take your vitamins, make sure your iron levels are good, get an exercise ball, and ask your healthcare provider what you can physically be doing to prepare for labour.
Of course no matter what you do to prepare, you’ll find you’ve over-prepared in some areas and under-prepared in others (why did I buy 30 short sleeved onesies and only 2 sleepers?), so you’ll figure it out as you go!