9 Things to Do to Get Your Home Ready Before Baby Comes
Whether you're 90 days or 9 months pregnant, you probably have a lot on your mind. Carrying and preparing for baby's impending arrival is a lot. But don't fret, yet. We've got you covered. Here are the most important things to do around the house before baby comes home.
Prepare For Your Future Needs
While it may seem strange to anticipate your future needs—especially now, when you are truly living for and in the moment—a little foresight can got a long way. Prep, cook, and freeze extra meals. Stock up on household essentials, like laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and other cleaning products. Fill your prescriptions, keeping meds as up-to-date as possible. And, even if you don't plan to use it, buy a few baby bottles and a container of formula. Future you may be thankful you did.
Get a Jump on Baby Proofing
Having a baby at home who can crawl into the kitchen and open cabinets full of toxic chemicals might seem like a lifetime away, but any parent will tell you it's not. Babies become mobile practically overnight, and it's easier to prepare now than when you're sleep-deprived later. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cleaning products (including laundry and dishwasher pods) and medication should always be stored out of sight and out of reach in securely locked cabinets. Use magnetic locks on cabinets that are not out of reach, says Darla DeMorrow, owner of HeartWork Organizing and author of Organizing Your Home with SORT and SUCCEED: "They work well on nearly every type, are easy to install, and don't pinch your fingers."
- RELATED: How to Organize Your Home for Baby
If you have firearms in your home, remove ammunition and lock it away in a place separate from the gun. Store those keys in a different area from where you keep your household keys. Finally, check or install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Prep for Visitors, If You Want To
The early days of parenthood are a blur, of sleep deprivation and visitors. If you plan to have overnight guests, you may want to prepare for their visit now. Stock up on toothpaste, toothbrushes, and toilet paper. Change the sheets, and put an extra fan in the room for white noise. You should also have extra towels and soap.
That said, it's important to note that you should not—under any circumstance—feel obliged to have, house, or hosts guests. This always holds true but really applies now, when you are a new parent. There is nothing wrong with saying "no" to visitors after birth.
Target Red Zones
The germiest areas in your home aren't light switches and doorknobs, as you might suspect, but kitchen sinks, dish rags, stove knobs, sponges, faucet handles, countertops, refrigerator handles, cutting boards, and toothbrush holders, reveals research from the National Sanitation Foundation International. To bring your baby home to spic-and-span digs, have your partner give everything a once-over while you're recovering in the hospital. Going forward, stash sanitizing wipes near hot spots so you can wipe them down on a regular basis, suggests Jennifer Theons, who owns a Merry Maid franchise in Lakewood, New Jersey.
Make Room In Your Fridge
While your baby may be on an all-liquid diet, you will need room in your fridge, be it for excess breastmilk, baby formula, or just those delicious casseroles that your friends and family will bring over. So when your fridge is nearly empty (ideally before you go food shopping), give it a good cleaning. Work from top to bottom, and take everything out, tossing expired or unidentifiable food.
Sterilize Bottles and Breast Pump Parts
You've got the breast pump, nipples, pacis, and bottles, but now what. I mean, they probably look clean—especially if they are all shiny and new—but are they? Not really, at least not yet.
"Before the[ir] first use, sterilize nipples and bottles in boiling water for 5 minutes," explains an article from Nemours Children's Health System. "After that, you don't have to sterilize your baby's bottles and supplies each time you feed your baby. Do wash bottles and nipples in hot, soapy water (or in the dishwasher) after every use."
You can also get a store-bought sterilizer. These generally go in the microwave and/or sit on your countertop, but they are not necessary.
Make a "Care" Basket
From diapers and wipes to water bottles and parent snacks, there are many things you'll want within an arms reached. (Trust me. As a mother of two—one who has been trapped under a sleeping newborn on dozens of occasions—the latter is particularly important.) Make a "care" basket full of essentials, for you and your wee one, and keep it near your bed, couch, or both. And don't forget a spare onesie and shirt for you! From spit up to blow outs, outfits constantly need changing.
Do the Laundry
While doing the laundry may seem like a given, you'll want to wash all of baby's things before they come home. This includes onesies, sleepers, and sheets. Remove packaging and any tags or labels that might irritate sensitive skin, and use a detergent that's free and clear of dyes and perfumes, or one marketed especially for infants.
Install the Car Seat
Technically this isn't an in-home tip or trick but it is important. Installing baby's car seat prior to their arrival is a huge step, one which should not be overlooked. You should also test out the buckles and straps now, so you know how to secure baby in it later. And keep the instructions handy. You will be exhausted after birth and fighting with the car seat will be the last thing you want to do.