By Todd Lewys
For the first time in your life, you just drove home under the speed limit.
The reason? You had precious cargo in the car — your newborn baby. Never have you driven home so slowly.
And never have you felt so overwhelmed. That’s entirely understandable, as bringing a child into the world is a huge responsibility fraught with many challenges.
One of those challenges involves preparing not only yourself, but your home for the arrival of your little bundle of joy.
Here are some tips to make it easier to cope with a world that’s been flipped upside down (in a good way) by your new arrival.
• Plan ahead. This may seem obvious, but for first-time parents, the arrival of a child can seemingly sneak up. Consequently, it pays to think about how you’re going to deal with the arrival of that fragile yet frenetic little person.
• Placement of baby’s room. This may seem like a trivial consideration, but it isn’t. While it’s great to have the little one’s room next door to the master bedroom, this isn’t always a good idea. One parent needs to get some sleep so they can function properly at work the next day. Consider having the room a bit further away to contain late-night chaos.
• Decorating the room/nursery. The paramount considerations here are safety and convenience. Don’t overcrowd the space with baby stuff. Instead, stick to time-proven basics: crib, changing table, dresser and a rocking chair. Add other items over time as they’re deemed necessary.
• Don’t overlook that rocking chair. Make sure to get a comfy rocking chair for your nursery. It will allow moms (and sometimes dads) to relax while simultaneously executing a smooth rocking motion that will (hopefully) lull a fussy baby to sleep.
• Invest in a good baby monitor. In short, buy the best monitor you can afford. It will allow you to keep tabs on your little darling when you’re not in the room and provide you with peace of mind.
• Keep important phone numbers on the fridge. Pin up mom’s number (home and cell) along with your pediatrician’s, the local pharmacy and perhaps a poison control hotline — just in case.
• Baby proofing. Before you know it, baby will be crawling all over the place, exploring the home. Cover electrical outlets, make sure all small objects are put away (babies put anything and everything in their mouths) and ensure there are no sharp corners that the little one can run into down low. Get rid of air fresheners, fragrances and toxic cleaners/chemicals.
• Baby care book. Ask friends or do research online to find out what the best baby-rearing bible is. Then buy it and keep it handy; the tips and wisdom it contains will come in handy.
• Bank up meals. Prior to arrival of baby, put some nutritious pre-made meals — stews, casseroles, lasagnas — in the freezer. It’s unlikely that you’ll feel like cooking for the first few days, so the pre-made meals will be welcome and keep you well-fed.
• Master bedroom maintenance. While your master suite should remain your sanctuary of sanity, you’ll need to make it somewhat baby friendly. Perhaps put in a rocking chair and a few essential items so you can occasionally take care of junior in familiar, relaxing surroundings.
• Pet management. If you have a dog or cat, safely introduce it to baby. Having a little tyke around is an adjustment for them, too.
• Prepare for chaos. Know there will be spills, stains, crying spells and more dirty, smelly laundry than you’ve ever seen. And prepare to be tired for a few months, as baby will require nearly round-the-clock care for that time period.
• Keep a point and shoot camera at the ready. This will allow you to always have a dedicated device on hand to chronicle baby’s rapid development!
Remember: having a baby is an exciting but disorienting time.
However, if you follow the tips above, the experience of bringing baby home is bound to be more enjoyable for you, and the new addition.