Hi everyone! My name is Veronika and I blog about style, home decor and mommy-hood over on Veronika's Blushing. I'm a new mom to my first baby, a sweet little girl, Harper Reese, and I'm so delighted that Lynzy asked me to guest pos during her maternity leave! I'm sharing below some of the things I wish I would have known to prepare for baby. Below are some things I did both before and after Harper's arrival that made life so much easier those first few weeks!
Harper when she was just 10 days old!
Cabinet spaceBefore Harper was born, I cleared out a cabinet in our kitchen to be "her" cabinet. It was full of bottles, pumping parts, formula (just in case) and bottle cleaning brushes. I'm so glad I had this all set up before we came home because it made it so much easier to have everything easily accessible.
Have that baby app ready-to-go
One of the most stressful aspects of brining Harper home was sleep deprivation which led to extreme forgetfulness. I was so stressed about how much she was eating, if she was getting enough and how many wet and dirty diapers she was having that I was constantly second-guessing myself. A friend who had been there told me to download an app called Baby Connect and I still use it every single day. I record each feeding (how much she takes and at what time), each pumping session (how much I express) and each wet and dirty diaper. The reassurance this app provides is un-parralel. I can also notice trends of when she may be having a growth spurt as she will usually want to eat more often and I can see how long ago her last feeding was. You can also send yourself an email from the app that gives you a spreadsheet with all of the data! Truly amazing and worth every single penny. Make sure this is on your smartphone before you come home!
Wash and sterilizeA mistake we made is not washing and sterilizing bottles and pacifiers before I gave birth. I wanted to breastfeed and I did, but we ended up needing to supplement and it was kind of stressful to come home with none of our bottles ready to go. Even if you plan to breastfeed, have bottles cleaned and sterilized so they're ready to use if needed. I also recommend buying several different brands of bottles---we purchased Avent, Tommee Tippee and Medela and we use Dr. Browns now. You never know which nipple your baby will prefer.
Take home ALL OF THE THINGS from hospital
Take advantage of things like the pads provided at your hospital. My hospital even provided Medela breast pumping parts, it was wonderful. You are able to take all of that home with you and believe me, you will need it! Also DO NOT throw away the peri bottle you use to clean yourself after peeing---believe it or not, we use it now during Harper's baths. I kid you not, that thing is amazing for pouring clean water to wash shampoo off of her little head and getting into the fat rolls on their neck.
Harper the day she left from the hospital and at about 11 weeks old on the right
Plan your main spaces
I had Harper's closet and drawers all perfectly organized before she came home...and while it all looked pretty, we have never used her nursery because she has always slept in a pack n' play next to our bed. I wish I would have stocked some of the drawers in our bedroom with essentials like blankets and onesies instead of keeping it all in the nursery. Sure, it's just down the hall, but now that we know better, we have two small drawers dedicated to Harper's things and one basket where we keep blankets, bibs and things like that.
Another thing we did before Harper arrived is that we created a "changing station" on our coffee table. I know that sounds gross, but it is what it is. Our home is three stories and there was just no way I was going to climb stairs after a vaginal delivery with 3 tears every time I needed to change her (it's even worse if you had a c-section). I used a decorative box I bought at Marshall's Home Goods and stocked it with diapers, diaper creme, thermometers, wipes, etc and it sits pretty on our coffee table---and recently I added a wicker basket, also from Home Goods to keep more baby items stowed away on our coffee table shelf. We also have a changing pad on our coffee table that can be tucked underneath. It's what worked best during my maternity leave and I'm so glad it was all ready for me as soon as we came home with the baby since that's where we spend all of our time.
Get a donut
Nope, not the delicious kind, but this kind. I can't tell you what a relief it was to sit on a donut after having Harper. Those first few days (or week) after coming home from the hospital can be quite uncomfortable and it's nice to have a little extra support when you're sore.
Make sure you have your carseat installed and then checked before the baby arrives. You can check http://www.seatcheck.org for events in your area that offer free car seat checks. You'll be so happy you had it inspected by a professional.