Hey all, it’s me again! This is a post I have had on my to-do list for a long time. There’s a lot out there on packing your hospital bag. But I wanted to offer a few lessor talked about tips for preparing for baby’s arrival. Besides finalizing the nursery, packing the hospital bag and installing the car seat, here are five things I did to prep for baby that were super helpful after the girls arrived.
1. Food Prep
One of my favorite things we did in preparation for the girls arrival was stock the freezer with food. Let me admit something to you guys; I hate cooking! When it was just my husband, since we both worked and neither wanted to cook when we got home, we ate out almost every day. I knew this wasn’t a healthy or affordable option to continue once we became a family of four, but the last thing I wanted to think about each day while caring for newborn twins was what to feed everybody. So, I hosted a meal prep party near the end of my pregnancy to fill the fridge with quick meals. I invited my mom and mother-in-law over to help asking them to each bring their family’s favorite freezable food recipes along with some Pinterest ideas. We spent an entire Saturday grocery shopping, bulk cooking and freezing pre portioned meals. By the end of the day I had 60 meals stocked in our freezer. My dad was even kind enough to foot the grocery bill! The meals were a mix of crock pot dumps, quick oven heat-ups or microwavable meals. Make sure you include a variety of meals so that your family doesn’t tire of eating the same thing everyday. This prep work ahead of time can easily get you through the first several months of parenthood. This was especially helpful to me when I went back to work, so I could maximize my time with the babies when I got home, instead of cooking dinner.
As another piece to this, a meal chain is a great addition to your food prep. With the meal prepping above this may seem redundant, but I promise you’ll welcome as much ready and hot food that people are willing to send your way. We didn’t think of this on our own; my husband’s work initiated it. If you aren’t sure of someone is organizing a meal chain for you, take the initiative to get it started. It’ll be well worth it! Basically have a sign up sheet for a different person to bring a meal by for dinner each night. Think big. Cooking one meal to share is such an easy and affordable task that even acquaintances are usually willing to volunteer. Ask neighbors, friends, church folks, coworkers and family to sign up. An online schedule with reminders can help coordinate a wide audience and make sure you aren’t left out to dry one evening. This meal chain easily got us three weeks of hot food without having to break into our frozen stash. And to go along with this, restaurant gift cards are great gift ideas for a baby shower. With delivery services, almost any restaurant’s food can show up at your doorstep and with a gift card it’s at no cost to you!
2. Automate Everything
The most obvious automation is probably bill pay. It’s certainly helpful as you don’t want to be thinking about bills during this time. But I would also encourage you to think about other things that can be automated, especially anything that can prevent you from making trips out with your newborn. I’m not even particularly a homebody, but errands were the last thing I wanted to do with newborn twins.
One of my favorite automations is our grocery shopping. Because milk and bread and other items will need to be replenished weekly, figure out what grocers in your area offer pick up or delivery. We use Walmart’s pick up service. I have all of our regularly bought items saved so after 5 minutes of clicking on an app, I’ll have the groceries scheduled for my husband to pick up on his way home from work. If you have never tried grocery pick up, here’s $10 to Walmart Grocery.
I also highly recommend a robot vacuum if you have not got one already. Seriously, it’s life-changing! We have a Deebot (the girls call it “Dee”), and have it run downstairs every morning before we get up.
Another thing I would suggest in this category is investing in an Amazon Prime membership (here’s a link to start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime). As your baby grows and changes in the first year and your family routine changes to, you will often find a need for some new item you has never considered before. With Amazon Prime you can quickly find a quality and affordable version of what you need and be guaranteed that’ll it’ll be on your doorstep within one or two days. I believe Amazon also offers a Prime service called Amazon Mom that regularly ships discounted diapers and wipes to your doorstep. We use cloth diaper so I did not sign up for this, but for disposables it sounds amazing. Also Amazon offers subscription services on household items and food called Amazon Pantry. You could sign up for some of these items as an alternative to my next tip.
3. Stockpile Household Items
Have you ever watched one of those extreme couponing shows where someone goes to the grocery store, buys two carts worth of items and their total is like $0.83? Then it pans to their stockpile, and it looks like they have enough soap to last through Armageddon? So, I am not asking you to be that extreme, but this tip is a smaller scale version of that. I am not an extreme couponer myself, but I figured I could devote my third trimester impatience to stockpiling some household items on the cheap. And I am so so glad I did! We didn’t have to buy toilet paper again until the girls were eleven months old!
I could probably write a whole separate post on this, but I’ll give you a quick summary here. This is the perfect nesting activity. Make a list of all your non-perishable household items: body wash, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc. I went through the trouble of then documenting the kinds we wanted to use of each item and the cheapest size and place to buy each them. I also calculated how many packages of that size we would need to last us a whole year. Then I combed the newspaper and internet for coupons and sales flyers to use for purchasing this stockpile. I figured if I was going to go to all the trouble of buying ahead, I might as well take a little extra time to get everything as discounted as possible.
You could simply throw a half dozen of the largest packages in the shopping cart instead of one. Whichever route you chose, I promise you it’ll be worth it. You don’t want to be worried about running out of toilet paper when you are sleep deprived. And as for the monetary commitment of buying all of this upfront, I spaced my stockpiling out over a three month period so it wasn’t a huge sticker shock to our grocery budget.
4. Hire a Cleaner
This is not something we did initially. In fact, it’s a fairly recent development, but with how helpful it’s been, especially now that we are back to work, I highly recommend looking into it before the baby comes. I thought hiring someone to clean your house was expensive. Really it’s not, and the time and annoyance saved is worth every penny. We just have someone come once every other week to give the house a good scrub down, especially the bathrooms, which saves us from having to do any of the heavy lifting with cleaning. Yes, we still have to do dishes daily, wipe off the table and kitchen countertops and sweep the floors after meals, but we don’t have to keep up with deep cleaning the showers or toilet bowl or vacuuming the closets and dusting, which in the first year were the types of household chores that were often overlooked until it got really grimy.
5. Pamper Yourself
You probably see a lot of posts on self-care these days. With all the prep for baby care, it’s important to remember that you still need to take care of yourself. With that being said, I highly recommend timing a good pampering right before baby arrives. Get you haircut, colored, blown-out, etc. Get a good manicure and pedicure with long-lasting polish. Get a massage. Get a facial. Please take this time to treat yourself because not only does it feel good at the time, but I think it gives you a boost as you embark on motherhood.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare to bring home your new baby. They are all about preparing in advance to save time and energy from keeping up with the mundane tasks that keep a household running so you can focus on soaking up baby cuddles and sleeping.
If you have any other ideas for automating your household before baby, please share.
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