There are a lot of things to consider as the birth of your baby nears and putting the things together might seem a bit overwhelming. The best thing you could do is to make a list of “essentials”. Once you have these ready, you will feel more prepared for the big day.
In the last weeks of pregnancy, you might feel a burst of energy and an urge to spring clean your home, or even to redecorate it from top to bottom! Don’t be surprised, it’s just the “nesting feeling”, or the nature’s way of getting you ready to nurture a child. However, don’t forget you don’t want to be going up and down ladders or shifting furniture! Therefore, delegate the heavy-duty and physical tasks to someone else. While it is very easy to get carried away buying a whole load of baby things, in terms of cleaning your home it’s never too much.
When to start preparing for baby’s arrival?
The news of a new baby are wonderful news for every couple. Either a first time mom or a mom again, the idea of expecting a little one might be overwhelming in the beginning.
Therefore, in the first trimester you should focus on self- care and save your energy for what’s about to come. Resting and creating good habits during this period will help you through the rest of the pregnancy. If you don’t have a fitness routine already, you should consider incorporating some daily walking and stretching. Diet tweaks are often necessary, such as limiting caffeine and eliminating alcohol. The most important thing is to start and as you go you will see that those good habits will serve you well when your body becomes “bigger”.
Also a great advice is to sit with the knowledge that you are going to be a mom soon and you are now responsible for both yourself and the little one. It is a great time for reading on pregnancy with your partner, so you both know what to expect in the coming months. Seeing a doctor who could confirm the pregnancy and also choosing an OB-GYN will give you greater piece of mind. It is important to feel comfortable and in good hands!
After the 14th week, when the second trimester starts, most women will start preparing for the “new arrival”. You should already feel significantly better, as the pregnancy symptoms ease off or vanish completely. Also your baby bump is more noticeable, which will give you a great feeling of joy.
As a first time mom, it’s easy to get lost in the multitude of information regarding “baby’s essentials”. There are many articles, blogs, lists, forums from where you might gain valuable knowledge. However, follow your instincts and listen to your body. Sit down and make your own lists, based on your needs and budget.
What you should also decide on the second trimester, is where you want to have your baby, who will deliver the baby and who you want present with you during birth. You should take a tour of the birthing facility and discuss alternative options, such as birthing pools or having your baby at home. Do you want to go all natural or do you plan to use pain management medications? What your wishes are should a C-section become medically necessary? These are questions you need to think about and have a plan in place.
In terms of household duties in the first few weeks after baby’s arrival, talk with your partner and other family members to see who may step up to help out regarding schedules and tasks. Don’t forget to let your job know you are expecting, so arrangements can be made at work, if applicable.
On the third trimester, you may start feeling what’s often called the “nesting instinct” as you get the nursery ready, clean and organize your home, and stock up on baby items you need. This time of pregnancy can sometimes feel like the longest leg of this incredible journey. What can you do to pass the time? You could take classes, like Lamaze classes, childbirth classes, breastfeeding classes and even classes like infant CPR to help feel more prepared. Don’t forget to have your “hospital bag” ready with at least 3-4 weeks prior your delivery date. Even with the most well laid plans, babies tend to come on their own timetable.
Most important thing you can do during this time of pregnancy, is to listen to your body. It’s doing a miraculous work as it prepares itself for labor and birth and if you listen carefully will tell you exactly what you and your baby need.
Remember there is no such thing as “perfect moment” for when to start preparing for baby’s arrival. Trust your instincts because your body always knows what to do when given half a chance.
Things to do to get ready for the new baby
- Take some time – beside the excitement and joy of finding out you are pregnant, you might experience some mixed feelings. It is a life changing moment, so taking some time to process the idea of being a mother, it is perfectly normal. Also, reading on pregnancy or talking with other moms, might help you have a better understanding of the changes and emotions you are going through.
- Chat with your partner – it’s important to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page before your baby arrives. This should be a journey you make together so it’s important to talk about it and to know you can rely on each other. Don’t assume that your partner understands what their role should be during labour and birth, or about how you’ll divide chores between you in your new life as a family.
- Write a birth plan – some people love lists and written plans, some people don’t. No matter in which category you find yourself, in this case, a checklist will definitely make your life easier. Putting your needs and concerns on paper, will make you feel more comfortable and safer. Plus, it’s a good idea to have same notes ready for your midwife so she knows what kind of birth you would like. You should write down what type of pain relief you want, whether you would like delayed cord clamping and how important it is for you to have skin to skin straight after birth.
Your birth plan needs to be flexible in case your preferences or circumstances change on the day. However, it is still a useful guide for you, your partner and the team caring for you.
- Spend more time with the other baby/babies – if you already have one or more children, make sure you give them a bit more attention than usual. You could plan some picnic days or a small trip, just to remind them how much they’re loved. Many parents worry about the other children feeling displaced by a new baby. Therefore, taking the time for some bonding before the new born arrival, will reassured them.
- Prepare your furry friends for new baby’s arrival – bringing a new baby home is not just a significant change for you and your partner. Your pets will be affected, too! But there are things you can do to make sure your pets and your baby live together happily. This includes teaching your animals about the baby’s areas, correcting misbehaviours you think might be a problem, and implementing new schedules and routines, if necessary. A stair gate is a good way to make rooms out of bounds to dogs. Or you can invest in a cat net to stop your cat climbing into your baby’s cot or pram.
- Arrange for extra help – the first few weeks with a new-born, might be overwhelming. If you are lucky enough to have friends or family who could help, talk to them before the birth.
If you consider using paid help, such as a cleaner or a babysitter for your other children, it’s best to organise this in advance.
- Shop for household essentials – stock up on household must-haves before the birth to avoid trips to the shop afterwards. While you can always ask your partner or a friend to do some shopping for you, it’s easier for everyone to have a small stock.
- Clean your home – you won’t have much time to do housework when your baby arrives. If you’re lucky, your nesting instinct may have kicked in now. Take advantage of it! Get your home dusted, vacuumed and organised. Remember your safety it’s more important so don’t be afraid to ask for help or avail of professional cleaning services.
- Cook lots of food – it might be difficult to fit in cooking and preparing food for your family in the first few weeks after bringing your baby home. Don’t worry, there plenty of tasty freezable recipes that you can prepare prior baby’s arrival.
- Wash and iron your baby’s clothes and bedding – new born baby’s skin is very delicate. Washing and ironing their clothing items and bed sheets will help remove any dust or substances that might be harmful for them.
- Prepare your “hospital bag”– your labor might start anytime, so it’s best to pack the essentials 3 or 4 weeks prior the delivery date. There are plenty of hospital list available online and you could always ask for advice from other mothers. Either your friends or online community.
- Check your car – the last thing you want on the big day is to have a car trouble. Get it checked in advanced and make sure there’s always plenty of fuel in the tank.
Baby proofing your home
Most injuries to children under the age of 5 happen at home. Nearly 9 out of 10 injuries can be prevented by thinking and acting safely.
The best time for baby proofing your home is long before you bring the newborn home. There will be several months before the baby starts crawling and grabbing things, however there are still few proofing task to be consider prior that. You are not only checking for potential hazards for your little one, but also for anything that might harm you while you have him/her in your arms.
We have put together a list of general points you should check around the house, in order to make your home as safe as possible for your family:
- make sure your smoke alarms are working and that are tested regularly;
- install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home and check the batteries of any detectors you already have;
- purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it;
- a well-stocked first aid kit, stored out of children’s sight and reach. It should contain a list of emergency numbers;
- all chimneys are regularly swept and kept clear, as well as any fuel burning appliances are serviced once a year;
- electrical sockets are in good condition and not overloaded, as well as any electrical equipment to be in good condition and unplugged when not in use;
- all windows are secured with window restrictors that don’t require tools for opening;
- blind cords and curtain cords that cannot be removed have a tie-down or tension device fitted to prevent strangulation;
- furniture and other objects that your child could use for climbing are placed away from windows and balconies;
- safety door stoppers are used (but not on fire doors), out of reach of children, to stop fingers getting trapped;
- cupboard safety locks are used to prevent your child finding dangerous items;
- small objects children could choke with, are out of sight and reach;
- use non-slip pads under all rugs;
- cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers or safety padding;
- place baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs;
In the living room:
- anchor TV to the wall and hide electrical cords;
- move tall wobbly lamps before furniture;
- install fireplace screens around hearths;
- drawers, bookcases and other unstable furniture are secured to the floor or wall;
In the kitchen and dining room:
- fire blanket and fire extinguisher are ready for use;
- cooker guard is installed to help prevent your child reaching the hob;
- no table cloths;
- safety locks are used on cupboards and drawers storing knives, scissors and dangerous or breakable items;
- fridge, freezer and cupboard locks are used to prevent your child from getting unsuitable food or drink including choking hazards;
- dishwasher is kept closed at all times and safety locks used (risks include sharp objects and poison from detergent)
- place lockable covers on garbage can;
- cook on back burners;
- if you plan to hook a highchair to your kitchen table, check that the table is sturdy and strong;
In the laundry room:
- washing machine and clothes dryer are kept closed at all times and safety locks used (risks include getting trapped inside and poison from detergent);
- all laundry and cleaning products and liquid detergent pods are in their original containers in a high locked cupboard to prevent poisoning;
- sinks and buckets are emptied immediately after use (drowning risk)
In the nursery room:
- finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected to avoid exposing baby to any potentially harmful fumes;
- put a thick rug or carpet below the changing table;
- place baby wipes and supplies where you can reach them easily but baby can’t;
- position the crib away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decoration and cords;
- the cot is free of pillows, positioners, bumpers, toys, soft objects and anything loose or fluffy;
- don’t use too many blankets or covers;
- use a room thermometer to check the room your baby sleeps in is at 16o C to 20o C;
- make sure children cannot get onto the road or the farm when they are playing outdoors;
- play equipment is in good condition, properly assembled, positioned and used as intended;
- all chemicals (kept in original containers) and garden equipment are stored in a locked shed;
- you have covered or completely fenced off standing water (ponds, barrels and water features);
- mushrooms and poisonous plants are removed;
Please note, there is no substitute for adult supervision of a small child. Watch your child at all times as children do not understand danger. Teach them about safety and lead by example. Remember that young children are not capable of being responsible for their own safety.
How to prepare new baby’s room?
Designing the nursery for your baby to be, can be one of the most beautiful experiences during pregnancy. However, as fun and rewarding as this task is, it might feel a little daunting. The abundance of offers/ products available on the market might confuse you. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Start by making a list with the essentials and keep in mind that your baby’s room should be peaceful, practical and cheerful.
- Preparing the room – baby’s nursery should be close to your bedroom. This way, you can get there easily, especially during the night. If possible, choose a calm, sun filled room. When deciding on the colour of the walls, remember that the bright ones are very stimulating and might disturb your baby’s ability to fall asleep. Therefore, soft or light colours will do the trick. If you are a fan of intense hues, you should introduce them in small touches, such as furniture, curtains or decorative objects. The lightning in the room should be the same, soft, and coming from indirect sources.
When comes to floor, hardwood or tiles are the better choice. As cosy and soft as the carpet might feel, this type of flooring is highly allergenic.
- Safety comes first – you won’t be able to predict all the hazards, however there are some things you could do to make your baby’s room as safe as possible. If you are redecorating, opt for natural paints that bear the NF and/or European Ecolabel seals. Traditional paints release toxic molecules that are particularly harmful to babies and children.
Make sure that the furniture you have chosen meets child safety standards and is not coated with toxic paint or varnish. If not possible to choose rounded corners cabinets, foam protectors are the next available option. You won’t even realise when the time flies, and your baby starts grabbing things and trying to stand up. It’s best to have the furniture affix to the wall.
Install socket covers and safety devices on the windows and no electrical wires should be left exposed. Where possible, use wall or desk lamps, or place them high enough up where you can hide their wires behind the furniture.
Air out your baby’s room daily and do not overheat it: 18/20 degrees Celsius is sufficient. If the air is very dry, install a humidifier as well, which will facilitate your little one’s breathing.
- Decorating tips – choose a specific theme or style. Although it’s not absolutely necessary to limit yourself to a single concept, settling on a specific idea will help you to narrow your focus and create a more cohesive design.
Given the astounding array of available paint colours and the prevalence of colour-match technology, it’s definitely easier to choose your textiles first and then buy paint to match. You could even go for washable wallpaper which is such a life saver when accidents/ spills occur.
Most nurseries are centred on the crib, but there are many other options to choose from. A large window or alcove or, even a signature piece, such as an over-sized toy or a painted dresser, can also draw focus. Also, remember that art really makes the difference and you can always incorporate touches from the family and friends.
Babies spend much of their time on their backs. Why not give your little one something to contemplate? Consider painting the ceiling a soothing colour or enhancing your nursery’s theme with a mural or decals.
- Leave room to grow – in the beginning the nursery will be the place where the baby sleeps. However, as he/ she grows older, it will become a place where the baby will play. Therefore, don’t overcrowd the environment and avoid clutter. That’s also very important for both yourself and the baby’s safety. You will be carrying him/ her back and forth and a misplaced chair or toy, could become a hazard.
In the first few month, a few essentials items will meet both your and your baby’s needs:
- cradle- smaller than a crib, the cradle feels more secure to baby;
- a musical mobile, hung above the crib, which will help your baby fall asleep;
- a chest of drawers and/or a wardrobe for organizing your baby’s small items;
- achanging table or simple changing surface installed on the chest of drawers, next to which you can place all of your diaper and cleaning supplies;
- comfortable chair or rocking chair;
As the month go by you can add a playing math and a toy chest or cubby-holes with drawers. Also, a small children’s bookcase that displays books by cover rather than by bindingit would be a nice addition to the room.Choose models that are at your child’s height, so that he can access them without difficulty, and even use them in play. For painting and drawing you could choose a small table with one or two chairs. Remember this are just suggestions and you should always follow your instincts. As the baby starts developing new skills, you will buy toys/ accessories based on his interests.
- Make it practical – nursing is a tricky business, and it can quickly turn into a juggling act if you are unprepared. Keeping everything you need close at hand it will be a life saver, especially in the first few weeks with your new baby. On this note, make sure you have lots of functional storage space so you have easy places to tuck things when you’re done using them, instead of leaving them scattered on the floor. A diaper disposal system and a separate hamper for heavy soiled clothes are a great idea.
Babies come with lots of stuff! Fill your nursery closet and dresser drawers with the things you can use now, and label and put away the rest until your baby needs them.It also helps to keep an easily accessible box for clothes that you have officially deemed too small. When the box is full, wash the clothes, label them and store them away. Keeping outgrown items separate prevents them from creeping back into baby’s closet, saving you the hassle of an extra trying-on session.
New born checklist
As most parents will tell, especially with the first baby, it’s easy to overestimate the things you need. In reality, babies need far less than we tend to believe. You could buy the nicest crib and the latest white noise gadgets! However, the best sleeping spot will always be your arms or shoulder and the most soothing melody will be your voice.
With that in mind, we have made a shortlist of must-have baby items for first time moms:
- Car seat or infant carrier – you will not be able to take your baby home from the hospital without one. There are many styles and brands to choose from, make sure you do a little research to know you aren’t buying one that has a recall out;
- Stroller – they often come together with the car seat and you might get a better price when you purchase them as a package deal;
- Crib or basinet – you could opt for a smaller cot or a beside co- sleeper in the first few months and add the baby bed after that;
- Mattress – make sure you buy a firm mattress that fits the crib perfectly;
- Bedding – you won’t need much bedding — just a waterproof mattress cover and several fitted sheets that perfectly fit the crib mattress you’ve chosen. Keeping your baby’s crib bare, free of any other type of bedding, including blankets, top sheets, pillows, and bumper pads, as well as toys, helps reduce the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Diapers and wipes – start stocking up on them early, and don’t be afraid to buy different sizes if you see an exceptional deal. They won’t go to waste!
- Diaper bag – are convenient and can help you keep your baby’s gear neat and organized while you travel back and forth to doctor appointments and visits with friends and family.
- Diaper rash cream – it’s not uncommon for babies to get diaper rash from time to time. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider for advice on which cream or ointment is best.
- Baby clothing – you don’t need a ton of clothes for a new-born, or even that much variety. Onesies are versatile and excellent. Babies can wear onesies alone or beneath something else if it’s chilly. Nightgowns are also great, especially those with zippers or buttons at the bottom for easy diaper changes. Sleepers and rompers are a good idea too, especially if you live in cooler climates. Also, cardigans and jackets are easier to take off than pullover sweaters, and can be left open at the front if the weather is in between.
- Blankets and burp cloths – make sure you have at least one warm, cuddly blanket and several thinner, lightweight receiving blankets. The cuddly blanket can be used as a security blanket and help your little one feel safe when you’re on the go. Receiving blankets are super versatile and can be used for everything, such as swaddling, as a burp cloth, and cleaning up messes.
- Bottles, pacifier and accessories – if you’re breastfeeding you can go with getting a couple of pacifiers. Try different styles to figure out which your baby likes best. If you are formula feeding or you plan to pump, you’ll need a breast pump, a few spare nipples with slow-to-medium flow and accompanying accessories: bottle brush for cleaning, a warmer to heat cold milk and a bottle steriliser.
- Bath time – you’ll be giving sponge baths to your new-born at first (until the cord stump has fallen off) but you’ll soon need a seat or tub for bathing. Just make sure it works for new-borns or that it comes with a new-born insert to suit your baby’s small size. Add to this, soft baby towels, shower gel, shampoo, wash cloths, soap, baby moisturiser, a scoop or plastic cup and a nail clipper.
- First-aid kit-you’ll want to have basic items at home like a baby thermometer, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, and petroleum jelly, all in one place. You may wish to have another first-aid kit in the car or in the diaper bag so that you have some of these essentials when you’re on the go as well.
Deep clean your house before new born arrival
In addition to all the regular chores around the house, there are a few deep-cleaning projects to tackle before baby comes. You want to have a safe environment to bring your delicate little new-born home to, so check out these cleaning ideas below.
Professional carpet cleaning – over time, carpet fibres become packed with dust mites, bacteria, pollutants, dirt, allergens, and more. These particles can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and other negative health issues. Those who already have breathing problems — such as those with asthma, allergies, or snoring problems — can benefit greatly from this service. Using high-quality products and expert methods, such as hot water extraction method, carpet cleaners are able to remove the dirt and allergens, leaving your carpet clean and sanitised.
While you might think that vacuuming takes care of the dirt and bacteria, it only takes care of the surface level debris. Many carpets have dust mite infestations and homeowners don’t even realize it. Dust mites leave behind faeces and body fragments, which are allergens that can irritate individuals who breathe them in. Professional cleaning effectively eliminates dust mites by creating a hot environment that they cannot survive in.
In humid environments, carpets in high traffic, are at risk of mould growth. Any excess moisture that isn’t properly dried, invites mould and mildew to form. Availing of professional services, will help you get reed of any existing mould and prevents it from returning in the future.
There are many options on the market when comes to choosing a specific carpet cleaning company. Many of them are using green certified detergents and eco-friendly procedures. Therefore, you could rest assured that the process is safe for kids and pets.
By completely sanitizing your carpet, you are creating a safer environment for all the family and especially for the new baby.
Upholstery and leather cleaning – you will want to take the time to thoroughly deep clean your sofas or armchairs before the baby arrives. We recommend opting for a professional cleaning company which uses the water extraction method. This method is far superior to other and very effective. it reaches deep inside your sofas to completely remove the dirt and bacteria, leaving your furniture clean and fresh, and most important, sanitised. You might think that if there are no visible stains or dirt on your couch you are safe, however, the same as with the carpets, the “enemy” is deep inside.
Dust, pet hair and dander that nestle into upholstery fibres can be stirred up into the air anytime someone sits on a chair or sofa. All this built up of debris is a major contributor to poor quality indoor air and increases allergy symptoms, respiratory issues and health problem. By removing these allergens, you create better air quality in your home and healthier environment for your family.
Mattress cleaning – this service is mainly for sanitary purposes and not visual, however, very few people would avail of it on regular basis. Most of them would only call in a professional company, in case of an accident or stain. You might be surprised to find out that your mattress is one of the dirtiest item in your home and a major contributor to poor quality indoor air. That is caused by the fact that a mattress is the perfect environment for bacteria, mould and dust mites. Actually, 60% of the dust mites and other pathogens found in the home are in the bedroom. The other 40% are found across the entire rest of the house.
When you factor in how much sweat, dust, oil, and shed skin there is on your mattress, it’s easy to see why it can pollute the air around it. The room starts to smell funky and you’ll be breathing in whatever there is on your dirty mattress. The main benefit to having your mattress cleaned is to instantly increase the air quality inside your home. It removes biological contaminants caused by a filthy mattress and combats foul odours that may affect your sleep at night.
Professional floor cleaning – the time when your little one starts crawling and putting everything that he/she founds on the floor in his/her mouth, seems far away in the beginning. However, after you bring your new born home, you won’t even realise how fast time flies. Soon you will find yourself running after your infant, wishing you would have taught about professional floor cleaning before.
Clean floors not only look good but, but also improves the safety of anyone who enters your home. If the floors are not properly maintained, dirt, grit, and grime can become a tripping hazard. Having your floor professionally cleaned will prolong their lifespan and reduce your exposure to hidden allergens and other health risks from poorly maintained flooring.
In addition to all these services, you can always avail of general or regular professional house cleaning. A once off deep cleaning it’s actually a great idea that should spare you of the hard work. After the baby arrives, a cleaning company could help keep on top of your household duties.
How can I keep my house germ free for my baby?
Keeping your home clean and germ free is a massive challenge when you have toddlers and small babies to look after. They are well known for their ability to cough and sneeze into their hands or air, and then touch surfaces and objects. Sickness spreads as a wildfire in a household, and chances are, if one goes down, the others will follow.
In terms of things you can specifically do to keep your new born away from germs, limiting the number of visitors is one of the most important. Keep it simple, family and few close friends. They should wash their hands straight after entering your home and in case they want to hold the baby they should use a muslin or small blanket. Most cold and flu viruses can live 8-12 hours on porous surfaces like clothes.
Don’t ignore the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk is packed with antibodies, white blood cells, enzymes and all sorts of other factors that boost a baby’s immune system.
Developing a regular cleaning routine can greatly reduce the spread of infectious illnesses and makes your home a more pleasant place to be in. You could use disinfecting products to wipe the surfaces around the house, as well as your bathroom and kitchen. Dust and allergens love linens and carpets! Therefore, launder or vacuum your curtains and your floors regularly. If you had your upholstery, mattress and carpets professionally cleaned prior your baby’s arrival, then you are safe for few good months. After the complete removal of bacteria and built up dirt from your furniture and flooring, regularly vacuuming, moping and washing bed linen will prevent germs from accumulating.
Good airflow is essential for getting rid of fumes and germs, and encouraging healthier living. Open the windows regularly to give your home a blast of air, as a humid environment accelerates bacteria growth. You may also want to invest in some houseplants! They are an attractive way to combat stale air as they can absorb toxins and pollutants. An air purifier will also help you in your plight to eliminate impurities.
Keep in mind that it is not possible, nor recommended to live germ – free forever. If you are too hygienic, it could lead to more allergies. Your child’s immune system will not create enough antibodies, which will make him or her susceptible to sickness. So don’t be overly sensitive when it comes to cleaning chores. Your child will eventually take contact with outside world, and you want his immune system to do its job. Might be a great idea to take your baby to visit a farm in the first year of life. This practice has shown to decrease the development of allergies. Plus, babies are known to really enjoy listening to animal’s neigh, cluck and moo.