Is there such a thing as being prepared for life with a baby?! Probably not, to be honest!
I’m writing this now, as I wait for our lil bub to arrive, because I know I probably won’t have time in the weeks after baby is here, and also because I was hoping some of you would part with your newborn wisdom to help us all out.
Oddly, advice for newborn life isn’t something I’ve come across too much while I’ve been getting clued up on all things baby – there’s all the pregnancy information to consume, the hospital bag tips and the labour advice… but less information on how to feel equipped for the lack of sleep and trying to keep your head above water while looking after a small person. I don’t necessarily mean caring for a baby either, I mean more keeping myself feeling good so I can care for a baby!
There’s lots of surprises with pregnancy (especially if, uh, your pregnancy was a surprise itself!) but one of the biggest shocks for me was how much I worried about the newborn stage more than anything else. Even now, I feel less fear and anxiety about labour than I do about feeling like myself while having a baby to look after.
Although of course traumatic birth stories make me feel uneasy, it’s actually the less than encouraging comments about the first few months with a baby that have really sent me in to a tailspin. Anyone who has ever had a baby will know that life while expecting becomes a series of comments starting with “just you wait…” or “enjoy the sleep while you can” or “you’ll never do X again!” – it’s so draining and I’ve found it really difficult to block out the noise.
Some of the things I did in a bid to ease myself in to this new way of life (no matter how far away it was!) have been really beneficial and others were probably more of a distraction technique. A way of being proactive when my anxiety was through the roof!
Bearing in mind, I was only around 8-12 weeks pregnant when I was frantically planning ahead for this time, and I feel a lot less concerned about how I’ll manage now – but even so!
A few ways we’ve prepped for the coming months…
Buying New Bedding & Pyjamas
I did this way back at the start of the year and it’s been wonderful! I fully expect to be in bed for most of the first weeks of baby’s life, in a cycle of feeding/changing/sleeping/showering/fresh sheets. Anything above this will be a bonus!
I spent most of my first trimester lying down (it was in January, can you blame me?!) so it made sense to start the year/pregnancy off with fancy new bedding. I would definitely recommend you do the same!
I also stocked up on nighties and cosy nursing-friendly loungewear to see me through too – new PJs are such a worthy luxury if you ask me. FYI Sainsbury’s is the place to go for affordable PJs, especially for oversized bits you might not wear forever.
A Huge Declutter
…combined with a move! We’ve spent a lot of time this year going through our belongings in a bid to downsize and declutter so we aren’t overwhelmed when our flat is overruled by prams, muslins, baby baths and all the rest.
We chipped away at rooms slowly, sorting cupboards and drawers in to piles for charity, friends or the tip. It was a big job, (we’ve been living together for ten years!) but we took it slow and were quite methodical in our approach.
I wouldn’t say you need to go quite as big as we did, but I think some form of decluttering really helps you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile in the lull of the second and third trimesters.
One thing I’ve found from decluttering is how much easier it is to keep our home tidy now that everything has a place! Mess can’t really pile up because it’s so easy to just put things back where they belong. It’s been life-changing! We found homes for things like the pram, the baby bath and all the other clutter that comes with having a little one, so we can at least attempt to tidy up when we have a spare five minutes.
Making Our Life Easier When It Comes To Housework
While I won’t be making a cleaning TikTok account any time soon, I do like a tidy home. I can’t really relax unless I’ve at least lint-rolled the sofa, hoovered the main areas, changed or made the bed, and cleaned the bathroom a little. I really worried that our little flat would become overrun with nappies, washing, dust and cat hair! Realistically, I think between the two of us, we’ll manage and if we don’t, it’s likely I won’t care as much as I think I will.
EVEN SO, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by housework, so I trained myself to be a bit better with picking up after myself. The solution? Doing a quick ‘power hour’ when I get home or before I go to bed where I put things away, stack the dishwasher, do a quick hoover or whatever – the power hour has been such a game-changer for me, just a quick whizz around the flat picking up after myself really helps to keep the clean and tidy momentum going!
Some Game-Changing Household Purchases
We recently bought a cordless vacuum and it has changed my life. Truly changed my life. I can’t believe how long I lived without one, even in a flat. I actually enjoy running the hoover around and it’s definitely helped me feel on top of housework and like I’ve got my shit together! We got a Shark which everyone seems to rate and I couldn’t recommend it more.
Another recent buy was a heated clothes airer (flat life!) – I’ve never been a fan of a tumble dryer but I wanted something economical to dry clothes quickly and came across this electric airer. It’s cheap to run and dries clothes so quickly! Perfect if you’re in a flat or are trying to save money on bills.
I caved and bought a microwave too, I think it’s probably a must have with a baby – for sterilising bottles, reheating cups of tea and cooking quick dinners. I’ve always thought they were a bit pointless but here I am, a microwave convert.
We also set up a projector in our bedroom, which goes against everything I believe in as I’m really not a TV in bed sort of person! But someone had given me this projector and we finally put it to use. I’ve been SO uncomfortable on the sofa now I’m super pregnant and there’s something so relaxing about watching crap TV on a big screen – especially from bed with a hundred pillows propping me up! Absolutely not an essential purchase by any means, but don’t feel bad for giving in to the lazy life gals.
Stocking Up On Meals
I really do want to keep eating well when the baby is here, we’ve always been very good about cooking fresh meals and it’s something that always makes me feel good, mentally and physically.
We already get Hello Fresh for mid-week dinners, which I love because it helps Jord get involved with cooking, and it means we always have the ingredients in to cook a meal.
On top of this, I filled the freezer with some homemade dinners and even some fancy ready-meals for ease. I ended up getting a bunch of delish meals from Potage after seeing them pop up on Instagram, I thought they’d be perfect for quick dinners we can pop in the oven or microwave when we’re tired and hungry! These would also make a great gift for any new parents so bookmark ‘em for future reference. No weekly £60 Deliveroo orders here, thank you.
I also made sure we had a good amount of cupboard essentials and lots of frozen veg in the freezer, it means we can make a meal out of just about anything. This week I’m going to make a list of all our regular lunches and dinners so we don’t have to think about what to make, we can just pick from a list of staples. I’m all about making life that little bit easier right now!
Getting Lots Of Sleep
Kidding. Third trimester insomnia is hell. I feel like surely I’ll get more sleep with a newborn. SURELY. Despite this, I’ve been trying to rest as much as possible anyway – the odd afternoon nap, a slow walk each day to tire me out and lots of cans of Sprite to keep me feeling refreshed… heh. I’m seeing these remaining days/weeks as a way to recharge a little and enjoy this slower pace. Long showers, face masks, naps in the sun, weekends spent reading or organising. It feels like I should make the most of this time before life changes so dramatically!
I’ve been nesting a lot recently, I really thought that was something fleeting that you felt in a small way but it really is a whole part of pregnancy isn’t it! Recently I found myself up at 11pm cleaning out the washing machine drawer.
Mostly I’ve been spending any downtime organising the flat – from the linen cupboard to the bathroom cabinet to the drawers in the baby’s room. I’ve made space and stocked up on nappies, wipes and toilet roll, organised our linen cupboard so everything has a home and generally made the space a lot tidier.
If there’s any mamas here that could share some tips for the newborn days, take it away in the comments – it would be much appreciated! Failing that, some positive stories of your favourite parts of the first few weeks with a new baby would also go down a treat…