Having Babies: preparing your home

Preparing your home is not only important but really helps that “nesting urge” that is built into you for a reason. I found that with my first baby, and so far it is true with my second, that home projects fall to the very bottom of the “to do” list very quickly so getting any big projects started and wrapped up as early in your pregnancy as you can the better. All too quickly you get bigger, and less comfortable so it’s important to get as much done as your body and schedule allows you to, without killing yourself. I thought we started “early” on the nursery but then found we really didn’t finish until very late in the game. In our house we actually committed to no big projects for a year after Cashel was born because we had done so much during my pregnancy. We stuck to the pact until we found out we were pregnant with #2 when Cashel was about 9 months old. At that point we started clearing out our third room and changing it from an office/guest room into a “big boy room” for him. We wanted the transition to be unaffiliated with the birth of his sibling and so we made the move right as he turned one, six months before little brother arrived.
I also recommend having your showers near the end of your second trimester before you get too uncomfortable and unmotivated. Unpacking, organizing, returning, evaluating what to keep and what to return, and then last minute purchases to fill in the gaps take much longer then you might anticipate. I have also heard many people express thoughts like “why is the nursery so urgent, they don’t use it right away anyway?!” In our case we use the nursery the most of any bedroom in our home. I nurse there at night so I don’t wake up my husband, we do most of his changing there (Especially considering all the changes I do at night and that I prefer to change him there even during the day when I can.) Plus we store most of his baby related items there.
On your marks…. Get ready…. Setup….!
 Baby specific setup:
Nursery setup, and bassinet in your room.
Have a baby shower. Evaluate, organize, setup, and return items.
– Make final purchases and fill in the gaps on items you may still need.
– Changing Station in your main living area.
– A place to lay baby safely (away from pets and siblings).
– A way to store newborn items that is easily accesible.
– A consistent spot for your baby bag.
– A place to keep your bucket car seat that is easily accessible but out of the way.
– Stock bathrooms with yummy soap and changing stations or visiting areas with hand sanitizer.
– Deep cleaning
– Surface cleaning
– Maintenance 
– Kitchen cabinets/pantry
– Bathroom and medicine cabinets
– Linen, hall, coat closets
– Desk/business area
– Bedroom Closets
– Laundry room
– Stocked pantry and fridge on basic items.
– Prep and plan snacks good for nursing and quick fixes.
– Freezer meals stocked up.
– Baked goods that are good for snacks or breakfasts.
The baby specific setup is really helpful in fulfilling the nesting urge and helping you feel “ready” despite that fact that for most of us we have no idea when our babies will arrive. With baby number two a lot of the prep had more to do with evaluating if we needed new things or could use what we had, and reorganizing to make room for the new little one amidst the first child’s existing world. Having changing stations set up around your home or at least having necessary items like a changing pad, wipes, diapers, and rash cream can really help, especially if this is not your first as you really need to be able to do it quickly and easily. I use a diaper stacker on a hanger like this one on the inside of our coat closet door (on the main level) to store diapers, wipes, and cream so that they are easily accessible but out of sight and reach of big brother. (We had previously hung this off the side of a pack and play for more diaper storage.) I also grabbed Vaseline as you need it for the diapers if you are having your boys circumcised and it really helps that early poo come off easier if you slather them each time with Vaseline. Creating spots for your baby bag and car seat will help keep your house feeling clutter free when visitors are there – these are LARGE items you need everyday but can really take up a lot of unnecessary space. It’s important that they are easily accessible but also for me “out of sight.” I used my pack and play in the main living area for the first month. Our’s has a cuddle cove where I can keep baby safe, a changing station built in, and I use the infant level to keep blankets, changing pads, diapers, extra outfits and any other “newborn items” I felt I needed to have handy. With Cashel this stayed up for two months and with Camper just one, it got to feel very cluttered with all the baby and toddler gear. But was very helpful in that time.
For me Deep Cleaning included getting the carpets cleaned (natural method suggested for nursery), wiping window sills, runners, and base boards; cleaning inside and outside of the windows; washing drapes and linens; wiping down the outside of all cabinets, cleaning the oven, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher (thank you Pinterest for ideas on how to do this with fewer chemicals); wiping down and treating my leather furniture, getting rid of clutter on shelves; and cleaning/dusting shelves and art on the walls. (I also changed out photos to reflect our current life – for whatever reason this felt very important and once done was VERY satisfying.)
Surface cleaning includes the things I do at least once a week (more often like 3 times a week) but as baby’s arrival looms nearer I try to keep up on daily. Things like sweeping; mopping; vacuuming; sink empty and scrubbed; oven, dishwasher, fridge, and microwave wiped down, dusting, counters and dining table wiped off; cloth diapers completely washed, dried, and stuffed; toilets and bathroom sinks cleaned; stairwell vacuumed; and clean sheets on the beds and changing table.
Maintenence cleaning is the in between stuff I can do as we go. Dishes in as we go, laundry done and put away, counters wiped, mail organized and prioritized, bills paid as we can pay them (asap), counters wiped, all surfaces cleared, and the house PICKED UP.
When organizing I got rid of as much as I could – anything we hadn’t used in a while was either gifted to members of our community through our local Buy Nothing group (find your local group here), taken to consignment, or as a last resort taken to a not-for-profit thrift shop. I have to be creative with my space, as our home is small, so linens and all things for each individual must be stored in their room (no linen closets at our house) and cannot be kept in the main living space or it just feels too cluttered. Especially with all the post-baby-delivery company we get. All baby linens are in the nursery, Cashel’s linens are on the bottom shelf of his changing table in a basket, and we only have two sets of sheets – one on the bed and one in our closet. All bath towels are kept in the shower on a shelf like this that we got at IKEA, and hand towels are kept under their respective sinks. I told you… small space… a lot of creativity.
I am very strategic about food. It is so important to eat well post baby, but SO incredibly hard to feed your family and even harder to feed yourself. I made sure our pantry and fridge were stocked with ingredients for our favorite meals like tacos, curry, mabo tofu, soupa miguel, zoupa toscana, enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, chicken and green sauce etc. and sides like rice, salad, frozen corn, or baked potatoes. I’d be happy to share those recipes too if there is interest! I also found that pre making snacks is HUGE for me. I asked my Mom for bran muffins as a coming home from the hospital gift as they are good for digestion and delicious, I chopped up veggies and had them stored in a try (with Uncle Dan’s dip – YUM). I got granola bars, made homemade granola, had yogurt and fruit on hand too. I also asked friends who brought dinner to tack on a favorite breakfast item or snack food if they could. A HUGE help for sure! Freezer meals are still coming in handy even 2 months after Camper’s birth and are so helpful! (I didn’t do them with Cashel and so wish I had.) I found that cooking was therapeutic in the final weeks and something I could do a lot easier then clean since I didn’t have to bend. It really helped me satiate that nesting urge. See some of my freezer meal recipes here.
I’d love to hear how YOU prepare your house. Feel free to share in the comments below! Do you have a favorite freezer meal or go to recipe?
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1 Comment

  1. i totally agree that it's better to do as much as possible in the beginning! After we had Gwen, i actually did a couple of my big projects before we even got pregnant with Clyde, because I didn't want to have to do all of that when I was pregnant! If we ever have another baby though, I'm going to copy you and focus more on food. It's so hard to cook after a new baby, at least for me.

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