How to Prepare for a Newborn: Month By Month
Nothing can prepare you for the shock of bringing home a newborn. Whether it’s your first or your fourth, each child has a different personality and therefore a different set of realities are needed for their arrival home. Regardless, there are some basic tips about how to prepare for a newborn that can help ease the transition from hospital to home. Tackle these steps month-by-month during your pregnancy.
First Trimester: Prepare Yourself
Month 1: Get Through the Month
Sleep (when you can), eat (when you can), and begin to wrap your head around the fact that you will be adding a newborn to your family in less than a year. Once you are able to acknowledge that all of this is happening, you can get on to the planning stage.
Month 2: Get Healthy
One key piece of advice about how to prepare for a newborn is not for the baby, but for you. You cannot provide for a child if you are unhealthy, so getting in the habit of eating well, sleeping well and exercising are crucial for making it easy to maintain these habits after the baby comes home. Learn about the best foods to eat while pregnant and load up on leafy greens and whole grains. Prenatal yoga is also a positive way to stay fit and toned and help prepare your body for labor and delivery.
Month 3: Start Telling People
Once the world knows, things seem to happen. Second hand items arrive at your home, advice on what items you need (or don’t need) to prepare for a newborn start flowing in. It all becomes real. When it comes time to reveal the gender of your new little one, we have some tips on your party too!
Second Trimester: Prepare Your Life
Month 4: Educate Your Family
Now is the time to start educating your family about how to prepare for a newborn. If you have other children, invest in books or games that talk about new babies. Start talking about where the baby will sleep and how things will change. Make sure the child knows that nothing bad is going to happen when the baby comes home. If you have a pet, start planning a smooth transition for them. Have a doll that you carry around and treat like a baby. Expose the pet to other children. Keep certain areas off limits to the pet.
Month 5: Start Talking About Maternity Leave
Have conversations with your partner about childcare scenarios following your leave. Sit down and budget so that you can see what needs to change. If you are thinking of making any career moves (i.e. shifting to staying at home or going to part-time), now is the time to have the conversations with your family and then your employer about how to prepare for a newborn and balance your career.
Month 6 – Take Stock of What Your Need for the Newborn
If this is your first child, create a registry. If this isn’t your first time around the block, see what you need and reach out to friends to see if you can borrow or use secondhand. Otherwise, head to the stores to pick up necessary items.
Third Trimester: Prepare for Baby
Month 7: Prepare Your Home
Wash baby clothes and stock up on lotion, wipes and diapers. Disinfect baby toys that may have been in storage for a few years. Baby proof your home so you don’t have to do it when the baby is mobile. Channel your urge to nest into dealing with all of the details needed to prepare a space for the newborn in your home. Now is also a good time to pack your hospital bag, too.
Month 8: Install the Car Seat
It’s important to have this done prior to being full-term since you never know when the baby will arrive. Put together any gear or toys that have directions and could be considered time-consuming. Start cooking meals to keep in the freezer for easy preparation once the baby is here.
Month 9: Clean Your House
We never said learning how to prepare for a newborn would be all fun and games. This may be one of the last times you will be able to really clean your house (now, granted, you will be huge, so this may not qualify as the most thorough cleanings possible). Scrub the floors. Wash the sheets. Complete any tasks in the house that you’ve been putting off (framing pictures, hanging curtains, etc.).
Not only will attacking these projects help keep your mind off of the pending arrival of your child, it will help you tie up loose ends before the newborn arrives and all focus shifts to the task at hand.