Preparing for baby is an exciting process! Although the prospect of a little one is eagerly anticipated, it can get overwhelming at times. These checklists will help you prepare in advance, avoid the last minute rush and glide into parenthood with ease and calm.
The following checklists are now available on the Home CEO website:
1) Nursery Checklist - This form lists all the items that need to be collected and setup prior to baby's arrival. PDF downloads are available on the website on the downloads section, but here are some pics of the checklist.
2) Baby Readiness Checklist - This is a "to do" list of the basic items to plan you'll need to complete during your nine months of pregnancy.
3) Hospital Bag Checklist- Have everything you need for your "D Day".
Baby Alexis "Lexi" Pearson was born on October 8, 2012 and having a completely and totally setup nursery and having all gear and bottles, etc ready before she arrived made the homecoming experience calm and low key. As my third trimester neared a close, I was thankful to have started all the baby preparation early in the second trimester when I was still relatively mobile and at my highest energy level during pregnancy. Trust your instincts! Do not wait until the third trimester to get started. If you are a new parent, you will be surprised at the amount of time and attention to detail is required to set up the nursery in a thoughful and efficient manner.
When setting up the nursery, consider the utility of your room design. Each "zone" in the room needs to be prepared for the activities that will occur there. For example, the changing station should have all changing supplies within arms reach. Ok, that's obvious. But you may also want to make the area for storing extra diapers, changing pad covers, etc close to the changing station as well.
In the feeding / rocking station, books should be placed nearby so that you can grab one to read your little one while they cuddle with you after a feed. You will also want to have a small table next to you to lay a drink, bottle or pacifier. You might also want to have a small tray there with some grooming supplies (brush, nail file, etc) to have within hands reach to get in a quick grooming while your little one is dozing off in your arms. What about a phone charger? Might be a good idea to have a charger setup on that table as well. Or an iPod speaker for some soft music. If you are pumping, you may also want to have your pump there. As you can see that table near the rocker has a lot of purposes! You might therefore want to consider a table that has storage space underneath the table surface.
Another consideration for the "utility" of your nursery design is wall acoutrements. For example, if floor space is limited, a variety of wall hooks and wall organizers should be installed. Additionally, you will have other areas in your house other than your nursery that may need to be, what I call, "restacked". For example, to make a bottle prep station in the kitchen you may need to have other items re-housed to make ample room. Also the baby tub needs a "home" when it is not in use. In my case, I store it in the laundry room, so I installed some additional wall shelves in there to move other items to make room. I also added shelves in our front hall closet to get things off the floor there to make room to store the stroller when not in use. Our front closet is now a "garage" for our big stroller.
Other things you will want to consider is how you can make your first weeks after birth as easy as possible. For example, consider cooking and freeezing 10-15 (or more!) casseroles in advance so that mealtimes are a cinch for at least the first few weeks. Also, if you can hire cleaning help or enlist the older children to step up on their chores for the initial time period, that will help too. If they need to be trained on additional chores appropriate to their age, do that now while you are still pregnant. Another important step, often forgotten, are the agreements and expectations set in advance with your spouse or other household helpers. Decide on a plan for baby coverage that will ensure you will get much needed breaks on a regular basis. It will be important to stay in balance in order to be fully "present" with your newborn.
Finally, set expectations in advance with the older children. Let them know that you will be busy with the new baby and to expect that. Let them know that their needs will still be met, but the scheduling of when those needs are met may change (for example, if they need rides to places it will have to be done when the baby is not feeding, etc). Ask them for ways they can be more independent in age appropriate ways (if they are old enough to fix their breakfast, do additional household chores, etc). Additionally, it is important to schedule fun one on one time with the older children during pregnancy and also after the baby is born too. This is important to help them feel equally as important, even if time is more scarce. It's simply a fact that if the transition is too abrupt for the bigger kids, they can come to resent you or the little one. While some of that can't be avoided because transition can uncomfortable no matter what, you can lessen it by setting expectations and being aware of their feelings.
[caption id="attachment_642" align="alignleft" width="480"] Little Lexi Pearson at about two weeks of age, cuddling after the mid morning feed.[/caption]