So there’s a lot of talk about all the stuff you need when you’re prepping for a baby. But there’s not a lot out there about how to prepare yourself, your marriage, or your LIFE for a baby.
We all know that having a baby is a HUGE life change!
We all know that having a baby is a HUGE life change. There’s nothing that can truly prepare you for it, no matter if it’s your first or your fifth. BUT after having prepared for a baby FOUR times now, we definitely have learned different strategies that make it significantly easier.
Before, we didn’t have a plan
When we had Amelia, our first, for some reason we had the mindset that everything was going to work itself out once she got here. We learned all about birth, pregnancy, labor, even breastfeeding. But we didn’t learn anything about how to take care of ourselves, or how to keep our life functioning while we were taking care of that sweet bundle of joy that cries all night, you have to feed nonstop, and you’re recovering from the marathon of giving birth.
We didn’t have meals prepped, we didn’t have plans for how to get her to sleep, we didn’t have a mindset on how to keep ourselves happy. So, she came, and she had a plan all her own. We were completely subject to the whims of this small little person and we didn’t know what to do.
Now, we prioritized how to take care of ourselves!
Flash forward 7 years, to when we were preparing to have Joey, our fourth. We sat down, made a plan, put systems in place, and prioritized how we would take care of ourselves while we take care of these 4 very sweet, and very needy children!
Here’s exactly what we do when we’re prepping for a baby:
1. Make a Plan
We plan a day on our calendars (Are you starting to see a theme here? Calendars run our life!!!) to sit down and talk through everything we need to do to get ready for this baby. We talk through, finances, schedules, babysitting/care for our other kids, or anything else we want to have squared away before a new baby comes! This helps us prepare for all the unexpected things that can happen with a new little one and makes it all a little less overwhelming!
2. Discuss Basic Needs
Amelia was truly the catalyst for us formulating our perspective on basic needs. Read our Basic Needs Blog or Listen to our Podcast, to learn more! But essentially after having Amelia we realized that we need to take care of ourselves too. So, before we have a new baby, we discuss what each of us need or want that would help us feel a little more like ourselves and on top of things. For us, it’s things like meals, exercise, alone time, date nights… and we plan ways to make those all happen. By discussing this ahead of time we already have plans in place to prioritize our needs, so we’re not just caught trying to squeeze them in while we already feel exhausted with a newborn.
3. Make Freezer Meals
We plan a whole weekend to make a stockpile of freezer meals. Honestly, this is essential especially if you have other children. There will absolutely be people who bring you meals, but it gives you a great back up plan when you need it. Having meals ready to go allows you and your partner to be flexible around your family’s needs as you adjust to a whole new life! We also use a lot of our No Thought Dinners, when we’re getting adjusted to our new little one!
4. Plan out Projects
Nicole is a MAJOR nester. We joke that we’ve gotten so much done in the last 8 years because Nicole is always nesting!! There are going to be plenty of projects you’ll want to do around the house to prepare for a new baby. So, we look at our schedule and put on our calendar times to complete those projects. This helps because we have a plan, so we’re not constantly stressed or fighting about what needs to be done. We typically plan whole weeknds to finish the nursery, fix anything around the house, do a good, deep clean, prep freezer meals, etc.
5. Make a Sleep Plan
It took us until baby number THREE to come up with a plan for how we would get our baby to sleep. THE number one thing we tell new parents is to find a sleep course or book that you connect with to help you through all the hurdles of baby sleep. With Eliza and Joey we watched a course through our favorite, Little Zs Sleep, ahead of time. We had a plan, we knew what we’d do if our baby was a little harder to get to sleep, and we were able to communicate that plan with anyone else who would be helping us. Baby sleep changes so much over the course of their first year and it can be one of the most infuriating things for new parents. So going into with a plan and with resources you trust to guide you really helps to ease that burden!
6. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Lastly, a HUGE piece of our baby prep puzzle is preparing for our mental health. Beyond just making a plan to keep up with our basic needs, we make plans for if things are harder than expected. With Amelia, Nicole had PPD and it took us awhile to even figure out where to turn. So, with every baby since then, we’ve had a plan for what care providers we’ll reach out to if we need extra support. Thankfully with Ruthie and Eliza everything was very smooth. But with Joey it was clear right away that Nicole’s hormones and emotions were just off. We had already been in contact with her OB and psychiatrist and had a plan in place, so it was easy to be seen and get on medication right away, instead of waiting for a crisis or things to get “really bad”.
Prepping for a new baby, whether it’s your first or your fifth, is exciting, overwhelming, and emotional all rolled into one. But we promise it will be SO much easier if you take time before your little one arrives to plan for all the good and unexpected things that will come your way. We know first thing how these little steps can make a big impact as you adjust to life as a new family!
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