I am officially five days away from my due date. If I am being honest, I am not sure what I am still doing pregnant. Seriously though. Eliann was on time. David was two-and-half weeks early. Pierce was nine days early. And Baby #4 what is going on? I am not technically passed my due date (yet!) but I kind of set myself up for this awful lull by thinking that as soon as July came it was baby time. Guess what? It has been two whole weeks in July and nothing… which can seem like eternity to a preggo who is ready to move on with having a baby.
I honestly had no intention of wanting to feel “prepared” before baby. It’s our fourth so I am kind of like… we got this! Or… we’ll just wing it! Not knowing the sex of our baby wasn’t helping either because I kept getting stuck thinking I won’t feel fully prepared because I don’t know what color to finish off the trimmings in the nursery. Boo-hoo. I sulked for a little bit… but I couldn’t sulk for two whole weeks! Since God is affording me this extra time before baby, I figured it wouldn’t be wise not to make the most of it… hence the FORCED nesting (although I honestly don’t want to be nesting).
10 THINGS TO CROSS OFF YOUR NESTING CHECKLIST PRE-BABY
I have done some shopping and prepping around the house in the last two weeks before my due date that I think would be useful to list in case you are feeling anxious for baby and don’t quite know how else to feel prepared (outside of washing the baby clothes, packing a hospital bag and finishing off the nursery decor where I got stuck). They aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t necessarily things you should do (have someone else do them), but in my experience bringing three other babies home, having done these things ahead of time (or wishing I had) made for a smoother transition once we got home from the hospital with baby.
1. PUT AWAY YOUR BABY GIFTS
Most families are blessed to receive baby gifts before baby arrives. Do yourself a favor and find them a home now. Having gifts just lying around unopened or unwashed can lead to them not even being used! You wont have time to deal with opening a package, setting up gear, or washing a baby item once baby is here (especially when dealing with a newborn). You’ll always opt to grab something that is ready to be used because its convenient. So do the prep-work now. Open them, prep them (build them, put batteries in, wash them, etc.) and find your gifts a home to make sure they are ready for use.
2. ANTICIPATE AND CREATE SPACES FOR BABY AROUND YOUR HOUSE
Most people who bring home their new baby don’t put them straight to sleep in their own room. For the most part you’ll want the baby in the same room with you until they are a couple of months old. So anticipate where baby (and baby gear) might need to have a spot around your house.
For example, each of our babies have slept in our room with us in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. We transitioned our babies to their crib in the nursery at different times but somewhere between 3-8 months after they were born. So outside of the nursery itself, I set up a space for baby right in my room. It includes where the baby will sleep (co-sleeper) and supplies for baby (diapers, wipes, extra outfits, etc) so that I don’t have to get up and fetch these items from somewhere else in the house.
Anticipate problem areas too. When I first set up the space above next to my bed, I thought about waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. The lamp on my dresser was far away and sits taller than my bed, so it was going to end up flooding the room with way more light than any of us would care for. I decided turning on that lamp wasn’t going to be a good idea and that I needed another solution. I quickly came up with the idea that I would attach a flexible reading lamp on the frame of our bed next to me that I could easily turn on and off and have facing the floor. That way I get enough light to feed but the room isn’t completely lit and I don’t even have to get out of bed. Win-win!
There are other places around the house to consider setting up a space for baby too: near your computer or work space, in the family room, the dining room, etc. Setting up some baby gear like a pack-n-play, baby swing or baby rocker strategically in these areas will help you feel like you can enjoy those rooms with baby without needing to hold them the whole time or putting them down somewhere further away than you would like them to be if they fall asleep. Keeping a small caddy in these areas with diapers, wipes and an outfit can help you avoid needing to get up and walk somewhere else in the house to change a diaper.
3. CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE
What?! Before you think I am just inventing extra work to do (although it does feel like it at this point) let me tell you why this makes sense. No one really likes cleaning out the fridge. We all find something nasty in there that makes us sad we took on that project in the first place. So having to clean out the fridge when you just brought a baby home would be extra lame to have to do. But why would you want your fridge clean before baby?
For one, cleaning out your fridge would alert you to any staples that you should have on hand that you may need to re-stock before baby (you don’t want to have to run to the store as soon as you get home because you are out of milk or bread, right?). Need help thinking through what staples would be good to have on hand? Click here for a list from The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry.
For two, when your family and friends drop by to see the baby and hopefully bring you a meal, your fridge will be ready to receive it or to take in the leftovers. You don’t want to be stressed trying to find room for the extra food. Make sense? It’s helpful, I promise.
4. TAKE INVENTORY OF THE SNACKAGE IN YOUR HOME AND STOCK ACCORDINGLY
This is serious business. There is nothing worse (at least you’ll think it) when you get home and are up sleepless for the first couple of days with a newborn and all you really want is to
order ask someone to bring you a cookie or ice cream only to realize there is none in the house! Someone might love you and honor your request by running to the store to grab you some (or someone may be just as tired as you and can’t possibly want to get dressed to grant you this request which could turn into a spat because you just pushed a bowling ball out your hooha and they can’t go get you a cookie from the store?!) Avoid this drama… seriously. Plan ahead and stock up on your favorite munchies (and your families favorite munchies) so that when things get rough post-baby you can at least count on knowing your favorite treat is waiting for you in the pantry.
Practically speaking too… if you know you will have other people in your house when you bring baby home (spouse, kids, etc.) having these extra easy to grab snacks on hand will help you avoid getting frustrated when they are walking around saying “we’re hungry” and you don’t have the energy to whip up something for them to eat. You can simply direct them to one of these items until meal time (which hopefully others can help you with for the first week or two). The snacks don’t have to all be junk either (think fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, sandwiches you make ahead of time and freeze, etc.).
5. DO YOUR LAUNDRY
If at all possible staying ahead of your laundry pile before bringing a new baby home is ideal. You will be producing more laundry than ever before the second your baby comes home, so you don’t want to be in the hole with laundry before this happens. Plus baby items will get priority washing so you want to make sure your adult laundry is definitely able to get you through a week or two without needing to throw in a load.
Other piles you may want fresh before baby arrives is your bedding and towels (especially if you will be having guests over to help when baby arrives). Get those piles done and beds made now so you aren’t stripping sheets and making beds when you get home with baby.
6. CLEAN OUT THE CAR WHEN YOU INSTALL YOUR CAR SEAT
Trust us, you may as well. You have to make room for your car seat before you head to the hospital anyway, so take that time to clean out your car. It may be the last time it gets that kind of love for a while. Plus baby stuff will be everywhere soon so having the car clean will help you feel more prepared when you rush out the house two days after baby is born for their first doctors appointment.
Because we have other children this step also included coming up with a whole new configuration for the car seats in the car. We had to think through what would make the most sense for where our other children would sit (thinking through how everyone would get buckled in).
7. BOIL THE BABY BASICS
Now is the time to open up or pull out all your baby bottle supplies, breast pump parts and pacifiers to boil them ahead of time for disinfecting purposes. Having these items clean and ready to go where they will be needed saves time and energy.
8. PAMPER YOURSELF
Seriously! It will be baby time soon, so make sure you think of yourself ahead of time. You wont have time for that hair cut or pedicure for a while post-baby so get it done right before to make sure they last the longest. And you may as well make it an event with friends because you may not be able to get out without a baby for a while either.
Other ways you can think of yourself ahead of time is to consider what you might need to feel “cute” post-baby. Think a new robe for walking around the house, comfy cute pajamas you wont mind visitors seeing you in, new slippers, new undies you don’t care about ruining with post baby recovery (lets keep it real). Take stock of your toiletries so you feel like you will have what you need to pull yourself together (deodorant, make up, hair spray, etc.). It makes a huge difference when you are able to help yourself feel good about your appearance post-baby.
9. THINK OF OTHERS
When a baby arrives on the scene they demand a lot of love, care and attention. This can leave others around you feeling a little neglected. Your spouse and other children can especially feel this way because you are there… but not really 100% there for them. This will be especially tricky for our family this time around because it is Summer time and all three of my other kids are home. In order to make this transition for our family easier I have decided to buy some gifts to give each of the other members of my family to open when baby arrives. The gifts I chose to buy them have nothing to do with baby. They are thoughtful gifts just for them and I specifically tried to make it a gift that would entertain them so they have something new to do or play with around the house.
Daddy- Barnes and Noble Gift Card (to go pick out some new books to read)
Eliann (7yo)- Sketch Book, How To Draw Your Favorite Characters Book, Color Pencils
David (5yo)- Ride-On Swing Car from JoyBay
Pierce (2yo)- Transformers Bumble Bee Toddler Car
10. PREP A FEW DINNERS
Now this one is really a stretch, but if you have the time and energy it can be a life saver. Hopefully friends and family will be around to help you with your first couple of meals. But after that you can feel on your own pretty quick and desperately trying not to think about how dinner time has rolled around again and you have to eat (especially if you are nursing). If at all possible, making some meals ahead of time (freezer meals) or even just cooking meat ahead of time (seasoned ground beef/turkey or chicken you shred and freeze) could help tremendously. Don’t have time to cook? Stock your freezer with some easy meals (lasagna, pizza, chimichangas, etc.) whatever you have to do to feel like you can feed your family for a couple of weeks while you get it together with a new baby.
There you have it folks… ten things I have inadvertently been forced to do while I have been waiting for Baby Griffin #4’s arrival. I hope you will find this list useful as you begin nesting or that it has sparked some of your own ideas for what you can get done before bringing baby home.
Feel free to share your own tips for how you have nested pre-baby too!
PS. If you have other children… one other thing I think I will be doing before baby arrives is to lay out the clothes I will want my kids to wear when they head to the hospital to meet baby for the first time. If you don’t want to be surprised by what others may throw on your kids when they go visit you and/or you are someone who thinks through picture memories etc. then you totally know why this one makes sense.