Moms to be this is the post you need! I have used my experience of having four newborns to create the only preparing for baby checklist you will need – ever! In this Checklist preparing for baby article, I am covering everything and the best part is I have designed a great freebie for you in the form of a downloadable preparing for baby checklist which pulls together all the information you will get here in an easy-to-use checklist for preparing for baby.
Or perhaps you want all of your baby planning and organization in one place and if so then you want our pregnancy and postpartum journal which is the planners dream!
So, get comfortable and get your reading boots on as we have all the detail you need with our checklist preparing for baby. Remember we have summarized in all in our free downloadable checklist.
Things to do before baby arrives:
We have written a whole separate post on this as honestly there is so much you can do for fun as well as the practical things that you need to do. So definitely check it out, but in this checklist preparing for baby we will be focusing on the stuff you need to do rather than the nice to haves. We will cover:
Freezer Meals that you will love your yourself for making
Packing your hospital bag
Setting up your house for baby
Preparing the Nursery
Buying Baby Clothes
Getting those Baby Essentials
Freezer Meals to prepare before baby arrives
Trust me – you will love yourself for preparing food for you and your partner or the rest of the family before baby comes. So pick a day, order the groceries and start prepping food so you can check it off your preparing for baby checklist and know that you will have dinner sorted when baby comes. Honestly when you are super tired and baby is crying you will be so happy that you have a dinner you just need to reheat.
Here are just a few ideas that we have come up with. Another great option would be to invest in a slow cooker or a multi cooker now. You won’t regret it once you are cooking for a family.
Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni(Freeze each portion separately so that you can use them for a lunch for one too!)
- Get some individual large ice cube trays for freezing your food in portions and then when you get to weaning your baby you are all ready to go and you don’t need to buy anything else.
- My youngest is now 7 years old and we still use these pots for freezing meals. It makes it so much quicker to defrost and you can just what you need for each meal.
- They are also brilliant for freezing left-over stock rather than just throwing it away and for things like curry paste that you don’t need loads of for each meal.
Pack that hospital bag
I must say I always left this very close to the last minute, but it is something that needs to be done and it does make you feel more ready for baby’s arrival once you have it done. So below is a list of everything I think that you need to include in your hospital bag; for you, your partner and your baby:
Mom’s Hospital Bag
Your maternity notes and birth plan
Toiletries. Anything that makes you feel good, clean, and a bit more human! My top tips are wipes, dry shampoo and a great moisturiser
Slippers and socks for walking around the hospital
Flip flops for going to the shower and bathroom
Comfy clothes and night clothes – after you give birth even if you are heading straight home you will want to be comfy and cosy so crack out those lounge clothes
Nursing bra and nursing pads
Nipple cream – I don’t want to scare you, but you don’t want to be without this
Maternity Pads – get more than you think you will need you could also invest in some period pants for extra protection
Maternity knickers – you might be desperate to ditch these straight after having your baby, but I am afraid they can’t be left on the checklist for baby planning as you will still want big pants for a while.
Phone & charger – during labour you will want to be able to distract yourself and you don’t know how long you will be at the hospital for so I also recommend downloading some shows you can binge watch. If you end up being there after baby is born for any length of time you will be feeding the baby a lot and again you may want to watch something whilst you are doing it. You will also, of course, be taking like a zillion photos…
Snacks galore – birth is tiring you will be hungry; breastfeeding makes you hungry. Hospital food sucks – you do the math!
A favourite pillow and your pregnancy pillow. They never have enough pillows in hospital!!
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Your Partner’s Hospital Bag
I know it’s annoying to even begin to think about anyone else when you are the one having the baby, but they will some stuff too so it is worth at least letting them see this list even if you aren’t going to be the one packing it up.
Snacks and drinks – you won’t be given food at the hospital (or at least not much) and shops on site tend to be quite pricey so bring some stuff
A change of clothes and a pair of PJs – you never know with childbirth so be prepared. You don’t want to have to go home in the middle of labour. Also wear comfy stuff and have layers as you don’t know what the temperature will be in the hospital
A pillow – I have said it before and I’ll say it again hospitals never have enough so bring one. You might also consider a small blanket too
Phone and charger and battery packs – you will want to take photos and you will undoubtedly be the one who is on inform the world duty
Toiletries – if you live close to the hospital you may not need to bother with this as you can pop home, but if not take a towel (this microfibre ones are great as they are super small), shower gel and your toothbrush
Baby’s Hospital Bag
A going home outfit
A Car Seat
Onesies/ Baby Sleepsuits (around 4 or 5)
Muslin Cloths - so useful for swaddling baby, wiping up spit up and so much more
If you are doing something like NCT you likely will feel that you are prepared for having a new baby, but there is still some training you make like to do when you are preparing for baby.
We won’t recommend any specific training providers as it has been 7 years since we had a new baby and of course things change, but in order to feel prepared and confident about having a newborn in your home you may want to look for trainings in:
Infant and Child First Aid
Breastfeeding (practical support from places like La Leche can be super useful too once baby arrives)
Setting up the house for baby
On your checklist preparing for baby, you definitely want to have something about looking at your house and seeing what needs to change as life is about to be different!!
You can do this now just so you don’t have to do it when your baby starts crawling, but hey if I were pushed for time this would be the one thing, I would drop from the preparing for baby checklist (well postpone not drop). At the least I would get the plug socket covers sorted.
Set up baby change stations/ diaper change stations
On every floor of your house set up everything you need to change a baby. You can buy something like this:
Or you can always just get a changing mat and change them on the floor although this will get your back after a while.
You need to make sure that you have nappies, wipes, sudocrem and changes of clothes for baby all handy on each floor. Otherwise, you will be up and down the stairs like some kind of lunatic.
I also recommend getting nappy bins for each floor or washing pails if you are using reusable diapers.
Set up a feeding basket
Again, I would have one of these on every floor or every room that I plan to feed my baby in. There is actually nothing worse than sitting down and starting to feed your baby only to discover that you have forgotten something and then you can’t get up as the baby is busy!
In my feeding basket I would have a pen, a journal and/or feeding tracker (we have one included in our Preparing for Baby Bundle, hair ties, water, snacks, nursing pads, nipple cream and burping cloths.
If you are pumping as well then you would also want to have your pump handy, bags for expressed milk and a marker pen for dating and timing the expressed milk.
Make the switch to non-toxic
There are loads of products these days that are safer for your family as they are non-toxic and free from those nasties like parabens, sulphates and BPA
There are cleaning products made by brands such as Method and baby specific washing detergents etc… You can of course make your own, but that may be tricky when you have a newborn.
Some other non-toxic swaps that you might not even thought of are:
Chorine free diapers
Non Toxic Bath Wash
Non Toxic Diaper creams
Check out our full post on this subject right here: Eco friendly baby products you can easily switch to
Get your Baby Essentials
We know that shopping for your new baby is super exciting and bound to be one of the things you are looking forward to on that checklist preparing for baby, but be warned everyone is trying to sell you everything! You don’t need it all.
Get the essentials before baby comes and then buy what you need as you go. You will know your baby best so you will be able to work out which toys etc suit them as they grow. You will also make other mom friends and you can get the inside scoop from them.
Head over here to get our ultimate list of baby essentials and all of the details about each, but if you get no other kit before baby comes (apart from clothes and diapers) then you need these 4 things:
Think about what you are going to use this bag for. I had twins so I had a large diaper bag and I also had a two year and a four year old at the same time so there was a lot to include, but if you are only playing to be out and about for short periods of time and have one baby you may be able to get a much smaller bag. My favourites are these ones:
INFANT CAR SEAT
This one I am not going to make any recommendation on other than to go to an expert and ensure that the one you choose is right for your car and is fitted correctly.
Also stay rear facing for as long as possible
The choices are endless... I tried to get a stroller that could grow with my first baby, but I ended up switching it out after a while for something that worked better with two children.
You can read all about double strollers here: 5 types of Double Buggy Review
My favourite stroller is this one:
I am team Ergo Baby all around when it comes to baby carriers. I tried loads and this brand for sure had the best ones for me, but it is all about what works for you and your baby so I recommend finding a rental service or a baby carrier shop where you can try on lots of types and see which suits you best.
When you are trying carriers one of the main things to look for (apart from if baby is comfortable and safe) is whether you can put it on and take it off without anyone helping you. If not you won’t end up using it much.
Baby Play Equipment
Your newborn does not need a lot in this category and this is definitely somewhere that you can expand what you have as they grow. To start with I recommend getting a baby play mat with detachable toys (they can use them as they grow) and a baby bouncer. That is it!
How many newborn outfits do you need?
Newborn size is typically only worn until your baby is around 8lb so you don't much in this size and your baby will be spending most of their time sleeping or feeding so honestly sleepsuits/ onesies are the best idea here.
If your baby is big you may be able to head straight into 0-3 months clothing.
How many 0-3 baby outfits do you need?
Of course you can buy as many cute outfits as you like, but this is what I would recommend:
- 20 baby sleep suits - help yourself out and let them wear these almost all of the time. They don't need fancy outfits.
- 20 vests (short sleeved and long sleeved)
- 7 long sleeved cardies or padded jackets depending on the time of year
- 4 baby blankets (I like cellular blankets)
- Muslins (again not clothes, but you actually can’t have enough and if they are large enough, they can also double as swaddles and pram blankets in the summer months)
- 5 hats
- 1 coat or all in one warm suit for trips out in the stroller (winter only)
What should my newborn sleep in?
For sleep, the general rule is that your baby needs one layer more than what they wore during the day. Please ensure that you read baby sleep advice before you decide on blankets, sleep bags etc...
Setting up your nursery
Oh this bit is fun!! As with everything else you buy for baby you can go wild in this area, but I recommend trying to be practical and trying to future proof the room. By this I mean thinking about not just preparing for baby, but also for toddler and young child… There is no point in buying a super expensive cot for example if it doesn’t also change into a toddler bed. You will just be spending money constantly!
So when you are at this point on your checklist preparing for baby you need to be thinking about what you are actually going to need in the baby’s nursery rather than perhaps just getting everything that the shop sells… Your baby isn’t even going to sleep in their nursery for the first 6 months or so probably as professionals recommend that babies sleep in the room with their parents for that first 6 mths – a year.
So what do you need for your baby nursery?
Newborns need around 10 -12 diapers per day and this can get expensive so our top tip is start buying them every week when you do your grocery shop in advance of having your baby.
Here is a rough guide to how many they need at each age so you can start buying in advance for the next size.
Newborn: 10-12 diapers/day
1 – 5 months: 8-10 diapers/day
5 months +: 8 diapers/day
If you are using cloth diapers make sure to chat it through with the seller to know how many you need to buy. You have to have enough to be washing some… Also they do take up more room so you need to have space to store them, but I really recommend at least giving them a try. We loved them and these are the ones that we chose:
Preparing for Baby and you having a baby!
Our last thing for you to do when you are preparing for baby is do a bit of research. Find local facebook groups for moms and start to make connections with other moms even before baby comes.
If you do NCT sessions or something similar you will have a ready-made group of mom friends to try out baby groups with, but if not try to find some groups that appeal to you too. For example, I enjoy signing and so I looked for some baby music classes.
If you are based in the UK I also recommend seeing if there is a local children’s centre as they have some fabulous baby and children’s groups and so much information for you as a new mom.
Getting out and about when you have a newborn is so important as it can be lonely and it is hard. I mean it is amazing, but it is hard and having others who are also going through it makes it so much easier.
Yay! you read everything you need for preparing for baby and now it is time to download your Checklist Preparing for Baby so you can get started on it all. It may seem daunting, but so much of this is exciting that I am sure once you get into the checklist and preparing for baby you will be loving it!