Who wants to bring a needy newborn home to a clutter filled unorganized home? I bet your nesting instincts are screaming otherwise. Since I’ve been there 4 times, here is what worked and what didn’t.
First, have a
Clear goal in mind
This seems simple, declutter, clean home, pretty straightforward right? Well you need to have in mind what exactly needs to be done so you can work in that order. For example while nesting with my 4th child, I was so concerned with cleaning and organizing my master bathroom that the bottom of the sink was spotless and organized for all my postpartum needs but what I failed to remember was that the infant car seat carrier needed a good wash before we installed it. Granted it wasn’t brand new and he was using his sister’s but still, think about all the steps you will be taking in getting the baby home and what those first few days will be like. If you are unsure, check out this post:
First days with newborn to get an overview of what that might look like
After you have cleared through you pregnancy brain and are ready to move on the next step is crucial into having a clean organized home.
When in doubt, throw it away. Start with categories not necessarily rooms.
Clothing goes first. If it doesn’t fit, has stains or rips, outdated, out of style, or doesn’t serve you get rid of it. Start with all your shirts, all your pants, all jackets and so on.
Books, purses, shoes
Next move to linens, (keep an extra sheet on hand for the postpartum period) but old towels, ripped pillowcases get rid of it all. Old throws for the couch, if you haven’t used it you aren’t going to.
Papers, files etc. save your tax return to your computer and back it up then shred the rest, get rid of old statements, old paid bills, papers you don’t need get rid of when you go to organize and file the rest there should be super easy and clear system. Which I will elaborate on in the organize step.
Then all miscellaneous items, medicines, notebooks, home décor, kitchen appliances, old DVDs when we downsized from our townhome to a single family home, we threw away an entire back of DVDs and never missed them ever. With streaming and Netflix and Amazon who needs a bunch of movies taking up space? Do these items all at once, if you have notebooks in your bedroom and home office, get them all in one spot and go through them together, then decide where they will live , in one spot not scattered.
Lastly, do your pictures, old notes, gifts, memory items these will be the hardest but think about each one and do you really want to keep it? Ask yourself why?
Ok this may sound just like discard but it’s different. You have decided what to discard which may be the longest step in this process but have you actually done it? Do you have a pile for goodwill? A few big items for a dumpster or bulk pick up? Take care of it now and don’t move on until you do. The last thing you want is that bag of clothes sitting in your car or by the doorway.
When in doubt throw it out!
If you ever do need a vegetable spiraler, you can always go out and purchase a new one when you are actually ready to use it instead of it taking up space cluttering your home. All the “someday” items get rid of. If you haven’t done it yet, chances are your really don’t want to and then you can focus your energy on what you really do want.
Point here: get rid of it clean open space is going to bring you much more peace than a punching bag you haven’t used in this decade.
*tip if you are planning on having another baby and getting pregnant again, I urge you not to pack away your maternity items and store them. Keep them hung or folded incorporated with your regular clothing. This is good for a few reasons one is that you can end up forgetting about them if you store them. Two is you may realize you do have enough to carry you through your next pregnancy and decide against purchasing unnecessary items you are going to end up discarding anyway.
Have you decided where all your items belong? It should be much simpler now if you have truly gotten rid of all that does not serve you. Have a designated spot or area for all you medications, all you shirts, all your shoes. Start with your personal items, then move to spouse after they have properly discarded then children.
Everything should have a spot, this way cleaning up when baby is home, will be much smoother and take less time than if you have 3 different spots for books, shoes etc.
Records/ files: after you have thrown away all your old papers you should have simple filing system. You should have a vertical folder for papers you will need in the near future 30-45 days.
The next should be forever or long term items, homeowner’s deed or birth certificates.
You can sub categorize these if you must but make sure they are vertical.
If you are a busy mom with 2 or more children in school and are drowning in papers from school, have a small bin that you can put away in a cabinet or closet with papers from school that you can’t quite organize at the time being. This been can be filled no longer than a week. Before it hits the bin, write down all important dates on your calendar before you forget it you don’t need any other information from the flyer then discard it if you do, take a photo and discard the paper. This way when the 15th of February rolls around and your child’s president’s day project is do you have it on your calendars and the details in your phone so you aren’t sifting through papers. If you papers and projects are sitting in this bin longer than a week you will need to address it every day when your kids come home.
Household binder. I urge you to have one of these. This will help reduce clutter around the house, on your fridge etc. You can print mine here if you want or just organize you bills and papers so you can have them at a glance ready. School phone number, teachers email, class list of names, your kids schedule, your husbands schedule, your calendar, stamps, a few envelopes make this neat and clear.
Bills can be in the same binder if you would like it should be
bills to pay due/date/balance
open/pending bills (paid)
check/call/verify. (if you are ever unsure if a bill is already paid, call sometimes company’s mess up too its ALWAYS worth the phone call to look for errors.)
These should remain in binder now longer than 3-4 weeks. Once paid and cleared in your bank discard.
*tip when organizing your clothes, they should be in your drawer folded and lined up like this,( only laying the other way) this way you can see everything at a glance.
This is one of my favorite tips I’ve learned from the book that inspired this post, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about decluttering their home and having a neat and tidy home. Do it now before life gets a little crazy with a baby.
I am in process of doing this with my household, it takes a while to discard, especially if you have a big family but once you start seeing results, you will never go back to a cluttered home again. The first time I saw all my kids clothes organized in a drawer that looked like a professional came in and put their things away I was hooked.
Just enforce at all times, even with yourself, to put it away even if you feel like using it again later, then retrieve it from that designated spot that’s where it belongs!
If I could do it all over again here are the things I would still buy. If this is your first baby and you plan on having more, buy gender neutral colored items. Your baby will have their little pink or blue blanket and clothes to make things their own anyway. Some of these items will last years up to 3 or 4 babies!
No mother will dispute how necessary this is!
2. Nasal Aspirator
Nothing is more frustrating that not being able to help your baby feel better when they are stuffy or runny. I use it with Little noses saline.
Get an aspirator that you can clean out to avoid mold build up.
This is a must for breastfeeding mothers. As a nursing mom, you will quickly realize that your milk is liquid gold. Wasting any milk to the inside of your shirt is just tragic and can be avoided. Pick these up to help collect the extra let-down milk!
4. Rock and Sleeper or Bouncy Chair
This is better than having a bassinet, my kids never wanted to stay in the bassinet, it just didn't do anything for them. I love the bouncy chair because its light weight and easy to move from room to room for naps or bedtime.
5. Portable pump I pretty much have never made a post where I haven't suggested this, I should be the spokes person for this pump. I loved it so much because it give breastfeeding mothers some freedom which other wise could not be obtained. Mine lasted for 8 years and would have still been going just buy replacment tubing for each baby worth every penny.
6. Play Pen It's great to have a secondary, safe place to lay the baby or to take with you when you are going to a relatives or on vacation.
7. Baby Soap This you will want from pretty much day one, even when you can't fully bathe the baby yet, you may want to wipe the baby down especially around the neck area from milk residue. Aveeno is great when the baby is young, it is very light.
8. Humidifier You will need this at some point when your child is young. Nothing is worse than a stuffy baby who doesn't know how to blow their nose, thus the nasal aspirator on this list. Purchase a humidifer for their room. I recommend one with no inserts and the least amout of parts clean this will increase your chances of using it instead of storing it.
9. Teehter My kids were teething as early as 3 months, its good to have these on hand, cleaned and in the freezer ( if necessary ) ready to go!
10. Diaper Bag This you will need from day one, the baby goes to the pediatrician within the first couple of days, you will probably want to pack a change of clothes, extra diapers, wipes or cloth (whatever you are using to wipe) , a pacifier or 2, receiving blankent to cover the baby when they ask you to dress him or her down to nothing, bottle if you are bottle feeding, wash cloth for spit up, insurance card, ID, and co-pay if applicable, a hat, list of questions, and immunization chart record, baby growth tracker. Do this the night before, your baby is unpredictable and on their own schedule. I never used a backpack one but I baby sat my friends baby recently and it was nice to have both hands free!
I am frequently updating the list of must have baby items! These are just some I couldn't live without! What are your must haves?
Keeping the Sanity
How will you survive the most difficult trimester of all?
That’s right the 4th Trimester. Those first few days and hours might be blissful and euphoric but those baby highs might just fade in a few days. You will be slapped in the face by exhaustion. Your body that has just undergone one of the most challenging physical activities (labor & delivery) will be neglected. Your appetite and personal hygiene will fight for dominance but you know who wins? Your baby. Your new little mini me will win all your time. You will be overwhelmed, tired and hungry. You will question, is this my new life? Is this the new me? The one who puts the cereal away in the fridge and the milk in the cabinet? The one who changed the baby in the middle of the night but realized you forgot to put a new diaper on and is now sobbing over wet sheets you must wash at 3 am. You will question, is my baby eating enough? Is his belly-button supposed to look like this? Is it ok to call the doctor for 13th time? Relax, it’s not all bad but it does get overwhelming. The important thing is you can plan ahead for a better 4th Trimester.
To prepare for the 4th trimester you will want to:
· Meal Plan- list 10-12 meals that you like to eat. Slip them into two groups. Easy and more time consuming. Chose easy meals at first then gradually get up to the more time consuming meal or when you know you will have extra help ie: grandparents down to see the baby, or husbands off from work. Make your grocery list accordingly.
· Have help in place- ask a grandparent to commit to one day a week for you to do “me” things or even to do “me & partner” activities. Even if it’s for an hour. It’s worth it. This is where the next one might come in hand
· Prepare to pump- get your pump parts clean and ready. I’ve made printable labels to keep track of your stored milk and also a printable proper Breast milk storage chart to keep on your refrigerator.
· Have your bills organized- on ONE sheet. For what is not on automatic billing, you will forget what day it is and if you have paid the water bill. I’ve created a household binder packet to help you have all your household information in one spot, like a hub. You can print them free on my site.
· Keep a Baby immunization record sheet. The doctors should give you a sheet but in case you want to note any reactions, any questions you have and just in general remember where you baby is at each checkup.
· Plan the welcome/christening party. Have all this figured out before the baby comes so you aren’t stressing out about guest lists, favors, etc. The only thing you might have to wait on is purchasing the dress or outfit in case you baby is fitting in clothes different than expected, same goes for your outfit! Try www.shutterfly.com for making invitations
· Write thank you cards in advance, or at least have addresses ready to go, stamped envelopes etc. This will save you so much time in a few weeks after you receive all the new gifts when people come to visit in the hospital or at home.
There is no doubt the first few weeks after giving birth are like an extension of pregnancy but it can also be a lot tougher. You may just need a way to relax and regroup. Not all days with a newborn are overwhelming and especially towards the end of the 4th trimester you may just be getting that block of sleep you need to regain some clarity but in the meantime here are some way to relax and refresh yourself.
Things you can do that have helped me in the past are:
· Going outside. Fresh air is a gift. Use it and bring that baby if you’re up to it. If not ask a neighbor, a friend, an in-law or someone you trust to watch the baby and go out for a walk or to a park or waterfront.
· Buy a new outfit. Buy yourself something. Don’t go nuts because chances are you won’t be this in-between size as I like to refer to it for long (unless you are have back to back babies). Having something new and nice to put on for when you want to go out with your partner or when someone comes over will help you feel better about your body and your new image.
· Get a sitter. Spend alone time with your partner. I will touch on this reconnection more in the 4th Trimester Guide but it’s imperative. So just do it even if it’s to food shop together, movie, dinner, breakfast, coffee, picnic something, anything to feed the relationship, you won’t be sorry.
· Have a girls’ night either at home or out. If you’re not up to this right away I get it. I, at times didn’t have the energy to change into people friendly clothes but even talking with friends over coffee in sweats if you must, is an outlet.
· Get a journal or a start blog.
· Join an online community. No people friendly clothes required. There are tons of them like mothering.com or the bump. Or join ours it’s a small positive group of women sharing pregnancy and baby related topics. New Mom Group
· Join a play group or a mommy and me class but don’t stress. I remember being in tears one time because I missed one and thought my kid (one of the older ones) deserved to be there so much that it brought me to tears, it’s supposed to help not hinder your mood so if your stressed on getting there either throw some cute stretchies on and go (No one cares if you have mascara on or a clean bra.) or if you’re not there yet, skip it and go for a walk and try again next week. You can check with your local church, township recreation or even Facebook to find a group. Another great site to try is Meet Ups this is where I found on of my place groups.
· Host a play group. If you don’t want to be the social butterfly initially its ok but maybe having a once a month group and have an open ear to other mothers may be nice for you and the little one.
· Try yoga. Wait until after your six week post birth checkup for vaginal delivery. Check what the doctor says about cesarean recovery times. Otherwise, meditate for the time being.
· Go for a scenic drive with your favorite playlist.
· Make something make a baby hat, or make a cake, scrapbook something.
Having a baby will surface a lot of emotions and ups and downs. If you thought you were emotional during your pregnancy you may just see this continue afterwards. Take a deep breath you are a new woman, a very important one, a mother and some of what you are feeling may be normal.
For some, it’s not going to be a walk in the park that gets them out of their mood. Sometimes it will take professional help. I HAVE to put in here even though I don’t want to go there, if you think you are depressed, get help. Don’t think about it just do it. Don’t hurt your baby, yourself or your other children or partner. Leave it to a professional to decipher what’s normal and what’s not. If you don’t know where to go to get help or where to start, a good resource will be your hospital, your obstetrician or your health insurance company.
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This may seem easier than it actually is. Hold baby, latch baby, presto! You have a happy feeding baby, right? Maybe. But what if it’s one of those time where you’re unsure if your baby is hungry?
Whaling baby, exposed breasts, it can get kind of complicated. Breastfeeding at home feels natural. In public it may feel weird.
You can try a nursing cover which might be excellent in the beginning but as your baby gets older and starts wiggling it may be difficult to keep him or her in there and latched on while holding him.
Most of the mothers I have spoken with have also said that their babies did not want to be in the cover past a certain age. Still, I know some mothers who have done it successfully so it’s not impossible.
Out of four babies, I tried only once to nurse my son in public and it did not go well. I didn’t have a cover, I just used a blanket and I couldn’t keep it up over us while nursing and burping and switching sides and that was the end of nursing in public for me.
The more children you have the more difficult it may become to only nurse at home as your other children will have activities and you will want to leave the house. If you and your baby can nurse in public and don’t mind if the blanket falls off or if the nursing cover isn’t working, go for it. Good for you. Your baby is hungry, you feed that baby. It is a natural process and I support breastfeeding in public and give lots of credit to mothers who have mastered it.
For those of you who do not feel comfortable doing this, I feel you I’ve been there.
Tips and alternatives to nursing in public when you are not comfortable:
Trying to “time” your baby’s feeding so you don’t have to feed the baby in a quick outing might not work. Especially if he or she is still a newborn. They can and will be hungry at any given time.
Don’t give up on breastfeeding if you really want to continue. What saved my breastfeeding career was this one item. If it wasn't for my portable pump I would not have made it that long breastfeeding. It is a lifesaver when you are out and if you don't want to nurse in public. It is worth the investment ($100- $150) because it will last baby after baby! The Medela Swing Pump is what I used. Not to be confused with the pump on the go, that is not as portable as you may think. The link and photo is below of the pump I used and loved!
If your baby is gaining weight, having adequate wet diapers, bowel movements and seems to be content keep up the good work. Particularly in the early days, you may want to give up but it may just get easier soon.
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For even more on breastfeeding, download your eGuide here:
Around the clock and then some. Especially in the beginning, you will be up around the clock and that is a fact. Some babies are nocturnal like my second and fourth. Some babies understand early on that night time is sleepy time like my third. Either way expect night time awakenings.
One of the many wonderful benefits to breastfeeding though is the fact that at 3 am when your little one is screaming like they haven’t eaten in days, you can pick up the baby, sit down and latch the baby. If you are formula or bottle feeding, there are a lot more steps you have to take before the baby gets food and for me, breastfeeding especially during this time made much more sense.
Sometimes, I would be tempted to pump and have my husband do a middle of the night feeding so I can sleep but to be honest, my breasts would fill up making it uncomfortable to sleep and I wanted to keep a good milk supply up. The more you nurse the more milk you will make.
Do what works for you and your baby.
TIP: Do not get hung up on schedules, your baby doesn’t have one so you shouldn’t either. It is ok to establish a night time routine in which you may lower the lights, play soft music and rock your baby. That does not mean your baby is done for the night and if you are expecting that than you are in for a rude awakening- literally.
One piece of advice you may hear time and time again from different sources is:
“Sleep while the baby is sleeping”
Let me be real for a minute. Do it if you can but if you have other children, or a job this will be difficult or impossible. Even when my husband took off two weeks of work in the early days of our fourth child’s life it was difficult for me to rest. I wanted to spend time with my other children, make sure they were taken care of, do the laundry and you get the point.
Things you can do when “sleep when the baby sleeps” is not an option:
Hospital feedings. Your very first feeding should be right after birth. Your milk is colostrum which is the first milk your body produces after (sometimes before) birth. It’s a thicker, calorie rich milk to help that little newborn of yours get the right nutrients for those crucial early days of life.
Tips for early feedings:
For example: If you start feeding at 12:30 and you nurse until 1:05 and your baby is ready to nurse again at 1:45 it has been 1 hour and 15 minutes since your last feeding, not 40 minutes.
In the early days and weeks of life your baby may cluster feed. Not all babies do this but some will. Cluster feeding is when your baby feeds back to back or frequently in a short period of time. I remember thinking,
“There is no way my baby can be hungry he just ate!”
But often times he was. When in doubt, nurse or try to at least.
For the first few days at the hospital, you will want to keep track of your feedings and soiled diapers. Print out the empty chart in this guide and bring it with you. You can even print one out for when you get home.
Sometimes when your sleep deprived it may help to see when your last feeding was to help keep track rather than go off memory.
Babies can nurse up to twelve times or even more in a twenty four hour period. Don’t worry you will not overfeed your baby or “spoil” your baby. The soiled diapers should look something like this:
It’s not uncommon for your baby to have a bowel movement with every breastfeeding session.
Typically, babies lose a small percentage of their birth weight prior to checking out of the hospital. Your nurses and pediatrician will go over what’s safe and normal and what’s not.
Hope you found this useful. If you would like more information on breastfeeding click the link below to download your free copy of my eBook. What are your thoughts on breastfeeding? Are you struggling? Comment Below, I would love to hear from you!
It's going to happen, sooner or later you will encounter a cranky baby. What will you do then?
Planning on Breastfeeding? Download your copy of my Ebook.
Hi There! I'm Jamie. Mother of 4 Beautiful Babies I love to help Pregnant Women & New Moms.
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