Welcoming + Preparing for a New Baby

The third trimester is upon us!  Time to finish up nesting and soak up every minute with just Olivia.  I’m so excited to welcome a new babe to the family and see Olivia as a big sister.  I’m most looking forward to what a little brother will bring out in Olivia while watching them learn + grow together.  Of course, it’ll have it’s challenges but giving her a sibling and growing our family is such a blessing.

Welcoming a new baby to the family is an exciting time full of baby snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Ideally, It’s a time to slow down and soak up all those sweet moments. But between maintaining the home and juggling the family’s schedule, there are plenty of overwhelming challenges that may not feel you are “slowing down” at all. Here are some tips for making the most of your time throughout your family’s transition…

Prep Before Arrival

  • Try to nail down your family’s routines and schedules. When baby arrives, the routines such as waking up, leaving the house, meal times, bath time, etc. will be a lot smoother if they are already in place. If one routine is too chaotic, take the time to consider what’s working and what’s not. Then make changes. You may find that even a small change makes a big improvement.
  • Stock the house with food and household items in advance to lighten the amount of errands after baby arrives.
  • Save time cooking by making meals that can be frozen and served after baby arrives.
  • Assign friends or family who are offering to help with certain tasks after the arrival. This could be cooking a meal, running an errand, taking an older child somewhere, etc.

Meal Plan

  • Plan for the upcoming week’s meals and shop accordingly.
  • Use some time during naptime to prep dinner or even fully cook the meal and then reheat for dinnertime.
  • Crockpot meals and casseroles can be cooked well in advance, placed in the freezer and then pulled out when needed.
  • Have snacks that are easy for older kids to access and eat on their own.
  • You can consider having groceries and household items delivered to eliminate an errand.

Laundry Upkeep

  • Laundry can build up quickly and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed by the amount and you don’t even want to touch it. Try to throw a load in before the basket is totally full and overflowing. Then you may find it less stressful and therefore, more willing to fold it and continue the process.

Chunk Cleaning

  • Instead of cleaning the house and completing household tasks all in one day, break it up. Allow yourself to accomplish a task one day and then another for as long as you need. For example, on Monday clean the bathrooms, on Tuesday vacuum the downstairs, Wednesday wash the sheets, etc. It may help to stick to a cleaning schedule each week. Remember cleaning the sheets and certain tasks don’t need to be completed each week.  Phew!
  • Consider hiring outside help to clean the house.

Pick Up Clutter Daily

  • Choose one time each day, maybe 10 minutes before bed or afterschool to clean up toys and items around the house and place them where they belong. If it helps, involve the family in this routine. Discuss the plan with the kids and stick to it everyday to develop a routine.

Prepare In Advance

  • Take some time each evening to review tomorrow’s schedule and prepare the family. Pack snacks, lunches, outfits, etc. to save the scramble in the morning. Or take the time to prep well before you actually plan to leave the house. You want to avoid as many hiccups when leaving the house as possible.

Delegate Help

  • Be open to help. This could be help from your child, spouse, family, neighbor, or friend. You may be surprised with tasks that your child can accomplish such as putting on their own shoes, grabbing their jacket, helping with trash, reading to the baby, etc.   Spouses can help with tasks around the home or with the children’s routines such as bath time. Families, neighbors, and friends can take your older children places or grab you some milk from the store. Lighten your load with help to allow yourself to accomplish something else. That could just be to rest!

Keep Up With Your Planner

  • Use your calendar regularly to write down the family’s events and keep your family on track. You can make it accessible for all family members to see.
  • Try not to bombard your schedule with too many events; only fill your schedule with what you can handle. Some days that may just involve getting dressed and other days that may be an outing to the park or grocery store. Don’t be afraid to skip certain events if you know it will be a time struggle. Lighten your load!

Have Activities for Older Kids:

  • Enroll your older children in enjoyable activities that will occupy their time and give you a break.
  • You can have activities for them at home that can be played independently. You could break out new toys/activities overtime to spark their interest.

Use Time Wisely

  • When the kids are awake there is a high chance you won’t get much else done but care for them. If you try to sit down at that computer and get some work done, you better believe that baby will be crawling on your lap in no time. They sense it and attack. Rather than struggling to get it done and causing both of you stress, complete it during naptime, nighttime, during a play date with a mother’s helper, or your child’s outing.

Be Gentle on Yourself

  • Take time to yourself. Before hopping into a task while the kids are napping, take a moment to unwind and put your feet up.
  • Sometimes you just need to break the family rules to have a moment to yourself — allow them another donut hole or another half hour of TV. If it’ll help you accomplish something and they’re happy, then all is well.  Just go with it.

With all of these suggestions it’s important to remember that your days will never be perfect. You will have better days and moments than others. That’s how it goes.  But with whatever struggles you may experience, hopefully one of these practices will help. And remember practices that work for one family may not work for another.  All I hope is that these suggestions help you to slow down, feel more at ease and comfortable as you manage your family and home during this exciting time.