Being a mama is exhausting even before you bring your new baby home. There is so much for new moms to get done to prepare for a new baby. Even as a second time mom, being in my third trimester is intimidating if I'm not actively marking things off of my newborn checklist.
This newborn checklist is going to give you the run down on what you'll want to get done to prepare for having a newborn at home.
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The Newborn checklist
Prepare for the arrival of your sweet, new bundle of joy before he/she arrives with these 16 things that you can do while you're still pregnant.
1. Baby PROOFING
You have some time before your baby will truly need baby-proofing. Some baby-proofing items are life-savers but you won't really start needing them until your baby is crawling or walking around getting into trouble.
Nonetheless, I've put it on the newborn checklist because it's just one thing that you can avoid having to do later when you have your hands full as a new mom.
I actually enjoyed having a few things baby-proofed before the baby came so that I wouldn't be caught by surprise when my baby suddenly is able to pull up to standing or shuffle into trouble.
Some of the basics that I try to make sure is done before my new baby comes home are:
- Install outlet covers
- Install baby gates at stairways
- Have door stoppers handy to prevent smashed fingers
- Latch the oven door with this handy device
- Related Read: How To Make A Baby Proofing Kit That You'll Actually Use
2. Set up A Breastfeeding Station
It sounds silly since you really don't need much to breastfeed a baby. You just kind of have to plop him on your boob and let him do the rest, right?
Although you don't technically need anything to physically breastfeed your baby, there are absolutely going to be things that you need to make things easier and more comfortable for you. Make sure you complete this part of your newborn checklist ASAP so that you don't have to suffer trying to learn how to breastfeed your baby. It's already hard enough, mama.
In order to set up a breastfeeding station that is most beneficial to you, follow these simple steps:
- Purchase a portable organizer
- Decide where is the most comfortable & convenient spot that you'd like to nurse in
- Stock your organizer with all of the breastfeeding essentials
- Include a nursing pillow in your breastfeeding station to assist you in the best position
- Easily move your breastfeeding station around the house as needed with everything always right where you need it.
3. Set up Diaper station(S)
I recommend having two or more diaper stations set up for yourself.
The first diaper station is probably the one you're imagining in your head. A changing table or changing pad on a dresser with everything you need neatly placed in drawers. Yes. It's a total must-have.
You might also benefit from adding a portable diaper station in a couple extra spots where you're likely going to need to change your newborn baby.
I recommend having a portable diaper changing station in your bedroom (if you are room-sharing while baby is still young) or living room (if you have a two story house) so that you don't have to go out of your way to commute to the nursery every time you need to change a diaper (approximately 10 times a day).
I also think it's super-smart to have a portable diaper-changing station in your car. Yes, you will have your diaper bag handy most of the time when you are in your car, but I have found that it's nice to have a bag specifically designed for convenient trunk-diaper-changes when you're in a bind. It's nice not to have to dig through the diaper bag when you can have it all right there instead.
To set up a helpful diaper-changing station, make sure you've stocked up on a few newborn essentials:
- A portable organizer
- Chemical-free Wipes
- Waterproof pouches
- Natural Hand sanitizer
- Diaper rash cream that actually works
- A clean onesie
- Clean pair of bottoms
- A small toy to keep your baby's hands occupied while you clean his business
4. Pack Your Diaper bag
Now, first things first, I have to mention that you DO NOT need to bring your diaper bag to the hospital with you. Most of the things that you stock your diaper bag with will either be un-needed or provided to you while you are in the hospital.
That being said, it's smart to have your diaper bag packed and ready to go before baby comes home so that you don't have to worry about it with a baby on your hip.
The key to a hassle-free diaper bag is finding the right one. Even if you have all of the right things in your bag, if the diaper bag that you chose is a total disaster and you can't find anything that you put in it, it's useless. Find a diaper bag that does the job and keeps you as relaxed as you can be when out and about with a newborn baby. This is the diaper bag that I'm using and I love it.
5. Install your carseat
You've got to install your car seat before you go into labor. Try to do it as early as possible. Shoot for somewhere around 36 weeks gestation or so to get the carseat fastened safely in the car.
Make sure you follow all manufacturer's instructions for installing your carseat. Be certain that you understand the way that you're car functions with a carseat, how your carseat base works, and which position is the safest for your newborn baby. Read the instructions thoroughly before you trust the carseat with the life of your baby.
While you're at it, if you have chosen to use a backseat mirror like I did, install the mirror at the same time so that you can try to get it positioned just right so that you can see your sleeping (or screaming😉), rear-faced baby in the back seat while you're in the driver's seat.
You might even want to practice clicking your infant carseat in and out of your car and stroller so that you're not fussing with it while there is a baby waiting for you to figure it out.
Now you've got three things marked off of your newborn checklist all at once!
6. Practice Using Your Stroller
Speaking of your stroller, sometimes those things can be a beast to figure out.
I would definitely recommend getting your stroller out of the box, setting it up and doing a couple practice runs with the opening and closing maneuvers you'll be doing every time you get it in and out of the trunk of your car.
Become a pro at quickly folding and unfolding your stroller so that you're not that mom at the playground trying to figure it out in the parking lot. Full disclosure, girl, I was totally that mom with my first.
If you bought a travel system (which I totally recommend), once you've got your stroller mastered, try clicking your infant carseat out of it's base in your car and into the stroller and vise versa. You're going to be doing this a lot for the first year so you might as well get used to it now.
7. Go Shopping FOr Your NEwborn Baby Essentials
Don't worry if you haven't created a newborn shopping list yet. I've done it for you.
If you're looking for the most essential things a newborn baby needs, then you're going to want to check out what my newborn essentials are to make sure you're getting all of the things you need before you bring your baby home from the hospital.
If you're looking for a more detailed, comprehensive list of things that your baby will need for their first year, make sure you check out this must-read post about what baby products experienced moms swear by and then download This Free Baby Registry Checklist Printable.
I wish I had these baby shopping lists for first time moms when it was my first go-around. I had to do all of the research and figure out all of the things I needed on my own. You do not have to do that. All of the items in my PDF Baby Shopping Lists are clickable to make shopping for your new baby a breeze.
8. Experiment with Your Newborn essentials
Once you've stocked up on the things you need for your new baby, don't just leave them in the box. Pull them out, put them together, and experiment with how they work.
I didn't have this newborn checklist to refer to with my first baby so I made the mistake of leaving my baby sling in the box “until I need it” and then I mistakenly didn't use it for the first three months of my baby's life. Huge mom fail.
Things that you might want to play with before baby comes are:
- The Baby Sling
- White noise machine
- Pack n' Play
- Baby Swing
- Bottle warmer
- The diaper pail (getting the bags in securely might need a trial run)
9. Sanitize bottles & Pacifiers
Before you use your brand new bottles, nipples, and pacifiers, they need to be washed and sanitized.
If you don't have a bottle sanitizer (I didn't because I never used formula and I didn't feel the need to use a sanitizer), then you can just boil your bottles, nipples, and pacifiers in water. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add in your bottles, nipples, or pacifiers, and let them boil for about five minutes. Drain the water, let them air dry on a clean towel and then wash them in warm soapy water.
That's it! It's not hard. It's probably even simpler with a bottle sanitizer, I don't know.
Easy or not, this needs to be on your newborn checklist because you're not going to want to do it first thing when you get home from the hospital. So, you might as well do it now!
10. wash Your baby clothes
If you're anything like me, your family and friends loved to gift you with the cutest little outfits that your baby can wear from now until they turn one. So thankful for all of those clothes!
But the laundry sure does pile up, doesn't it? Welcome to motherhood!
Start washing your baby's clothes in baby-safe detergent now so that when they come, you can be sure that your baby's sensitive skin won't be irritated by harsh chemicals or allergens.
I actually loved marking this one off of my newborn checklist with my first baby. Oh my goodness, how my heart fluttered every time I held up a fresh, clean, newborn sized onesie and imagined my sweet little boy wearing it. It was so much fun.
The second time around is fun too because not only am I holding up the brand new onesies that this baby will wear, but also the worn hand-me-downs from his brother that brings back all of the memories.
Once all of your baby clothes are washed and dried, fold them up and organize them by size so that as your baby grows (like a weed, I might add), you'll just have to pull out the next bin of clean clothes without missing a beat.
11. Organize your baby things
Baby's come with a lot of stuff! When I was only a couple of weeks away from my second delivery, I started to get all of my baby stuff out of storage. It already looked like a baby tornado had hit my house and the baby wasn't even born yet!
Before your baby comes home, you'll need to get everything in order to keep yourself sane. Buy bins (I use these adorable ones in my playroom), boxes, and shelves to organize your newborn's toys and books in ways that you'll remember where everything is.
12. Prepare freezer meals
This is more important than you know! It's an absolute essential part of the newborn checklist.
When you have a newborn at home, you have very limited time to cook for yourself or the rest of your family. With a baby attached to you what seems like 100% of the time, you hardly have time to shower or poop, let alone whip up a healthy meal to sustain you.
Instead of worrying about it when the baby comes, plan out some really great freezer meals that you can prepare ahead of time. Store them in your freezer to pull out on a day that you “just can't even”. I promise, those days will come.
I am no chef and I certainly can't give you any homemade recipes of my own but I can send you over to this blog for some inspiration. Some of these freezer meal recipes for after baby are hits in our house. I will be stocking up on many of them before I have this baby. Maybe you'll enjoy some of them too!
Nesting is a whole checklist in and of itself. There are a ton of things that you can do to get your home ready for a new baby.
You know better than anyone else what kind of nesting is going to benefit you the most and what you are just dying to get done before the baby comes. But, if you need a little inspiration, here are a few points on my Nesting To-Do List that I used for my first baby and am also using my second time around.
Nesting To-Do List
- Purge – get rid of all the things that you're holding onto that is just cluttering your home. A baby introduces a whole new level of mess in your house. You're going to need to make space.
- Clean out a kitchen cabinet and a drawer specifically for baby – This might be a tough one if you're kitchen is already organized exactly the way you want it. If you have a small kitchen with limited storage, you might have to get creative. You're going to be happy you marked this off of your newborn checklist when you have all of your bottles, nipples, bibs, baby utensils, baby bowls, etc. all in one place.
- Scrub – When you do get the nesting bug, you might feel the urge to scrub-all-the-things. Start with places that your baby will start to touch when he/she learns to crawl. I started with baseboards and worked my way up to cabinets. Warning! You might want to wait until your term, hoping to go into labor before getting on your hands and knees to scrub the baseboards.
- Sanitize – I'm sure you're already keeping your home clean, but when you get the nesting bug, focus on the things that are easily forgotten in your every-day cleaning. Sanitize the door handles, the light switches, and other areas that get a lot of action all day long.
- Laundry – I don't mean the laundry that you're already doing on a daily basis. I'm talking, the couch cushions, the curtains, and the floor rugs. These things are easy to neglect and can get filthy without even realizing it. Your baby will spend time on the couch right away. The rugs and the curtains are only just around the corner.
14. STock Your home
You know, it's not all about baby all of the time. It might seem like it, but the world does not stop turning when you're too busy taking care of your newborn to think about all of the other things you typically do on a day-to-day basis.
You're home will still have to run as usual. This means that on your newborn checklist, you're going to have to add some of your own needs before the baby arrives.
Don't forget these essential things to stock up on before baby comes! You don't want to be stuck without these things on a day that you absolutely cannot make it to the store.
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Hand soap
- Yours and Hubby's Toiletries
- Laundry detergent
- Dish Soap
- Dry foods
- Snacks that don't require prep or cooking
15. Take aN Online breastfeeding course
Breastfeeding can be so hard, mama. Every first time mom struggles with it at some point or another with some issue or another.
Just because it's hard, doesn't mean you're failing. Just because it hurts doesn't mean you can't do it!
You just need a little education and encouragement from moms and professionals who have done this over and over again.
The best breastfeeding course out there, in my opinion, is this online breastfeeding course. I took it before I brought my sweet baby boy home and I am so glad that I did! Breastfeeding seriously can come second nature if you work hard at it in the beginning. Get educated now so that you can start out on the right foot.
16. Read a book about baby sleep
Sleep, for many new mothers, is the most difficult part of having a new baby. Learning how to get your baby to sleep is one thing. Getting the hang of keeping your baby asleep is a whole other issue.
Every family has their own unique issues when it comes to sleep and the problems that your baby faces. Going into it prepared with a plan is the best way to overcome the hurdles that you're bound to face.
Complete Your Newborn checklist!
Well, now you know what needs to get done before your baby is born. Sometimes it might seem like your newborn baby needs so much but the truth is, all he needs is you. As long as you are present, loving, nurturing, and keeping yourself healthy, you're going to have a healthy thriving baby on your hands.
Don't let a newborn checklist or never-ending to-do lists intimidate you or scare you into thinking that you'll never be ready. Do all of the things on the list, a few of them, or none of them. You're still going to be an incredible parent to your new little bundle of joy. I can't wait to hear about your experience with the fourth trimester!