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Preparing for a new baby: What worked for me!

Newborn Eliyahu  When I was expecting my first baby (3 years ago now!) I was very excited and optimistic. When confronted with poor attitudes, stories of doom, and the usual "your life will end, just you wait and see", I would listen politely and think to myself, "I will never end up like that!"

I was going to love being a mom! I wasn't going to mind all the extra work. I would never complain, and I wasn't going to hire others to care for or babysit my children all the time. I wanted to care for my own children. And besides, newborn babies slept all the time, anyway. How hard could it be?! Those "other people" are just selfish!

But I think I was probably just a little over-confident. Wink

I do love being a mom! I don't mind being busier; in fact, I can't imagine not having little ones to care for all day! I don't usually complain, but, I do sometimes need to adjust my attitude a little. (Still working on that, you know...) And we rarely hire sitters because we do enjoy being with our children all the time! I couldn't imagine sending them away to school "just to get them out of my hair" like so many people say they do. The "terrible twos" have been full of exciting new moments and so many leaps in learning and communication. I truly have enjoyed motherhood immensely. :)

However, because of my over-confidance, I really didn't prepare much for having a newborn baby. I read lots of great books about childbirth, and geared up for an exciting home birth. I somehow didn't realise that in the end, 12 hours of labor would seem... easy when compared to 3 days of engorgement or staying up all night with a new baby... for a whole week.

 

I thought that planning an easy dinner like taco salad would be quite feasible with a newborn. I mean, I'd just cook and clean while the baby slept, of course. Wink 

Where did I get the idea that all newborns slept all day?! Mine sure didn't. So there I was, unable to do much of anything besides nursing 12 hours a day, changing diapers, and holding my baby, who refused to sleep by himself, or sleep much, period! 

I had thought that having a newborn baby to care for would be pretty easy, and that everyone else just liked to complain. I found out that, depending on the baby, it might be a real challenge!! But no one told me that if I prepared adequately, it could be easy, or at least, easier. I had thought I was prepared. I knew I could have done more things before-hand, but I wasn't sure exactly what or how, and no one really offered advice on what they did to make a smooth transition between pregnancy and newbornness. And I was too confident to ask. Wink

Eliyahu, newborn

So a year after my first baby was born, we found ourselves blessed to be expecting a second baby! Right away, I determined that I was going to prepare. I was going to plan. I was going to do everything I could before the baby was born.

I imagined things like having to hold a fussy baby for the whole entire day, and needing to make dinner and having two 5-minute blocks of time in which to make it. I imagined not being able to do anything besides take care of my two children (diapers and feedings). I imagined the absolute worst-case scenario, and decided to prepare for that!

I figured it couldn't hurt... after all, if I did get a typical baby (who decided to sleep for 16-20 hours per day) I would just have plenty of time to relax and have fun with my toddler!

So I worked and planned and our second baby arrived, and I must say I didn't regret an ounce of the preparation I had done. I think that because I prepared for the most challenging outcome possible (while still keeping an optimistic outlook on life and motherhood!), the transition between having one child and two went really well.

I'd like to share what worked for me! It may not work for every family, but if you're looking for ideas about what to do before your baby arrives, these are my suggestions for you to consider!

First, one important thing to remember is to be content. If we aren't content with whatever is going on in our lives right now, we won't be content tomorrow, either.

I think one of the things that helped me was the fact that I did my best to enjoy every moment of pregnancy (yep, all 10 months of it Wink) until my baby was born. Then, I tried to enjoy every moment of having a new baby. It's easy to look ahead and think "if only". If only my baby were here... if only my baby would sleep through the night... if only my baby were potty trained... Don't long for the future, and don't wish for the past. Enjoy your life just how it is, right now!

I also had the mindset that I was going to prepare for the worst that could happen. I realised that babies are wonderful, fun, and exciting... and can be most enjoyed when one is adequately prepared. :D Even if my new baby slept 20 hours each day, I was still going to be prepared for a full-time job (with overtime: a 2-year-old!).

Little Eliyahu...

On a practical note, here is what I did in preparation for the new baby!

1. I tried to train Yehoshua (who was 20 months old when I had Eliyahu) to be as independent as possible. I taught Yehoshua to get things for himself and to help me with things. We had already been working on helpfulness and obedience with him, but I tried extra hard to get him to do things that I might otherwise have continued helping him with. I knew he would be too heavy for me to lift right after I had a new baby, so I encouraged him to climb into his high chair by himself, or things like that.

I also didn't want Yehoshua to feel as though the new baby was the reason that he had to do more things for himself. So, we started early and made things fun, mostly with praise or verbal encouragement. :)

2. I made menu plans and used my freezer to prepare food ahead. We have a small freezer, so I had to be careful in my planning. I planned a 2-week menu of easy, homemade meals. Then I did everything I could do in advance for those meals. (We couldn't afford to eat out, and indeed, we didn't eat restaurant food at all after having Eliyahu.) I repeated the 2-week menu as needed for the first 6 weeks. I'll go into more detail on this one below.

3. I cleaned the house thoroughly. I sorted through everything and got rid of a lot of stuff. I also did things that I very rarely do, such a cleaning the ceiling fans or moving furniture to clean behind it. I started the housecleaning about 2 months before the baby was born, and did a room or part of a room each day until it was finished. I also re-arranged the children's bedroom (to fit in a second crib). :)

4. I made some homemade thank-you cards to have ready to send out to those who gave gifts or helped out. I made lots of these, for which I was thankful, since a couple months later when Yehoshua broke his leg, I wouldn't have had time to make any. (I also had food prepared ahead in the freezer still, which was a real blessing when taking care of a 3-month old baby and a 23-month old toddler in a spica cast!) :)

5. I got some paper plates, cups, and silverware to use after the birth. I had done this the first time around, too, and thought it had really helped. However, we dislike most disposable dinnerware, and I couldn't afford to buy expensive disposable stuff.

I found that since I had prepared meals in the freezer, there were very few dishes from making the meal and that the two plates, two bowls, and two forks we dirtied while eating dinner really wasn't much work to wash. So, most of our disposable dishes didn't get used after all. I'm glad I had them on hand in case it was a help, but for a small family like ours, we just preferred real dishes. :D

6. Since we live in a two-story house, and I planned to stay off the stairs for a while*, I brought some of my clothes downstairs in a little suitcase. I had everything in there for after the birth, too, and it was nice to have it all in one location.

Our washer and dryer are located in the basement, and I used post-its to mark where to start the washer or dryer and what temperatures to use for things. (I normally do all the laundry by myself.) That made it easier for whoever was loading the washer for me, and I didn't have to give instructions over and over. :)

*Every woman is different in regards to this, although it is generally recommended to stay away from stairs for 1-2 weeks regardless. After both of my babies, I had lochia for 8+ weeks that was greatly increased by even one trip up the stairs or any heavy lifting. I felt perfectly capable of climbing the stairs or lifting things, but saw the effects of it the next day. So, I refrained from using the stairs for a full 6 weeks after delivery.

7. I used my hand-held DustBuster for little messes instead of the upright vacuum. It takes a lot of strength to push the vacuum around, not to mention the time it takes to get it out! So for little messes, I really appreciated my DustBuster, which I was capable of using, rather than needing to ask someone else to vacuum. I did have someone else help me by vacuuming the entire house once a week, but the DustBuster worked for small messes in-between vacuumings. :D

8. I paid some of our bills in advance. We write checks for our monthly bills, and as finances allowed, I wrote a check for 2 months' of those bills so that some of the bills that were arriving around the time of the birth had already been paid and just had to be filed away. If you do online automatic bill payment methods, you wouldn't have to worry about this, though! :)

9. I took people up on any offers of assistance, but was also non-committal before the birth. We didn't want a lot of visitors right away. We made it clear to people that we would let them know when it was a good time to visit! When someone offered to help, I told them, "Sure!"... and then said that I would get back with them about a good time. :)

I was blessed with a lot of assistance after Eliyahu's birth. My mom came over once a week and cleaned the house. My mom sent over extra food, especially the first week. My mom also watched Yehoshua for a few hours each day during the first week. Other people came and helped with cleaning or played with Yehoshua. I felt so blessed to have so much assistance, because I know many moms are very alone and completely overwhelmed after having a new baby!

10. I planned to get "nothing" done for at least a month. :) I planned a day full of diaper changes (I had two in diapers then!), feedings, and basic things like taking a shower or going to the bathroom. I planned on about 10 minutes of meal preparation and 15 minutes of clean-up afterwards. I planned no internet time (and indeed, enjoyed a 7-week internet break!).

As my baby got a little older (I think around 3 or 4 weeks of age) I would plan one "project" per day. That could be anything from giving baths, cooking something (that hadn't been frozen ahead or pre-mixed), writing thank yous, paying bills, or washing my hair. I took "baby steps" and felt very accomplished when I had gotten even just one "extra" thing done!

I basically set myself up to feel like I was making progress and accomplishing things, rather than remembering all the things I did before I had a newborn to care for. :) I set my "goals" low so that I wouldn't feel as though I was falling behind and becoming overwhelmed. :D

How I prepared Yehoshua (20 months old) for his new sibling

Yehoshua gets to hold Eliyahu for the first time... 

We always talked with excitement to Yehoshua about his new sibling. He loved to pat my tummy and say "baby!", which was one of the few words he sopke at that age. :) He wasn't really aware of what was going on, but he knew it must be something fun and exciting! :)

When Eliyahu was born, I would have Yehoshua help with diaper changes by taking the used disposable diaper to the trashcan and throwing it away. He was very good at this and liked to help.

Yehoshua also took Eliyahu's dirty clothes, bibs, etc. to the laundry hamper for me. Any ways that I could have Yehoshua "help" kept him out of trouble and made him feel really important. :D

Whenever I sat on the couch to nurse Eliyahu, I would ask Yehoshua to bring a book. He would sit beside me and we would read together. He loved this, and again, it kept him out of trouble while I was busy. Reading stories while nursing was a challenge at first, because Eliyahu was not a "natural" at nursing. He got lots of air and it was often a two-hand job to nurse him. Yehoshua wasn't old enough to know how to turn pages in the books for me. But we made do and then after a few weeks Eliyahu was better at nursing and we had lots of fun reading stories together. :D

We also let Yehoshua use "Eliyahu's blanket". This started out as an accidental discovery, when one afternoon Yehoshua didn't want to take his nap. We took a receiving blanket that Eliyahu had used and said, "Do you want to use Eliyahu's blanket??!!" Yehoshua got very excited about that, and from then on he always used "Eliyahu's blanket". I think it made him feel special because he was getting to use something that belonged to his little brother. :)

So, what actually happened?

Well, my second baby was a pretty average baby. He slept about 14-16 hours each day when he was a newborn. I actually got a little sleep myself that first week!

Things weren't perfect; there's always that little unforeseen twist like incurable diaper rash or the umbilical cord that refuses to fall off. (Oh, yay! ;D) I sure still had some moments when I felt like caring for two children was a pretty overwhelming task. But I also had lots of moments of rest and peacefulness.

 Eliyahu's first tub bath! Yehoshua helped, of course!

And it wasn't long at all before I was thinking "I wonder when we'll get to have another baby!" ;)

Things I wish I would have done

1. Boosted my milk supply during pregnancy. Yehoshua weaned himself at 16 months, and I would have liked to nurse him longer.

2. Exercised more. I felt so tired during pregnancy, I wondered how in the world I could manage caring for a new baby. As soon as I had Eliyahu, though, my energy returned and I felt so much better! I still wish I would have managed to beat the tiredness and get off the couch to exercise a little more though.

3. Gone to bed early. ;) Let's just say that I kind of regretted staying up until 11:30 pm before having a baby at 5:30 am the next day. After 2 hours of sleep, I asked myself, "Why in the world did I ever wish that I would wake up in labor?!" :)

Meal planning and cooking: What I did before the baby was born

Since I already had my "two-week easy meals menu" made out in advance, I prepared the things listed below and was able to have a home-cooked dinner on the table with very little preparation time (usually just by boiling some pasta, shredding some cheese, or cooking up some frozen veggies as a side dish)!

1. I made homemade mixes for things like whole-grain muffins, corn bread, etc.

To make these mixes, I measured the dry ingredients into zipper sandwich bags and labeled them. On an index card, I wrote down the recipe name, the wet ingredients needed, and the baking time and temperature.

For my homemade corn bread, this meant that I just needed to add some oil, egg, and milk to my dry mix. Then I had fresh, homemade corn bread which had taken me about 5 minutes to mix up.

This was really worth the time involved before-hand, since it meant that I didn't have to get out 5-10 ingredients plus measure everything for homemade baked goods. I liked this method so well, I still do it, for every-day use!

2. I made plenty of homemade granola to have on hand: nurtitious, filling, and full of fiber (I needed all I could get!).

3. I cooked beef and chicken and froze it in small portions.

Here is how I make my cooked beef and taco meat. Having pre-seasoned, pre-cooked taco meat made taco salad a lot easier and quicker!

For my bite-sized cooked chicken chunks, I simply made one of Joshua's favorite meals (oven-roasted chicken) weekly. I took the leftover meat off the bones, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and froze it. Then I could thaw the meat to use in casseroles or soups.

Since I was low on freezer space, I didn't freeze a lot of fully-prepared casseroles like lasagna or cheesy chicken vermicelli. I froze the meat and then made what I wanted, later.

4. I made extras of things and froze them in meal-sized portions.

Some other things I made ahead and froze were soups (all kinds), pre-baked homemade pizza crusts, cookies, fully-cooked homemade meatballs, and mashed potatoes.

Comments

songofjoy02's picture

This is a really cool post!

I'm thinking I just might have to look it up again someday, should I ever find myself needing to prepare for such a life-changing event (or more). :-D I'm very grateful for your willingness to share what has worked for you! I know you've put a lot of thought and effort into developing something that works...:-) Thanks!

Pamela

Tammy's picture

Thanks, Pamela!

I hope you need all this info someday... soon! Well, after you're married, of course. ;)

Actually, I just didn't want to go crazy after the new baby was born! haha :D

Beautiful baby!

That is one beautiful baby! I wish I had thought of all those things when I had newborns!! Lord willing, I'll get to try a few of those out next time. Thanks for all the great tips!

In Him,
Lady Why
www.kittenwhiskers.blogspot.com

Tammy's picture

Thank you, Lady Why :)

Thanks for the compliment :) And you're welcome for the tips :)

Awesome Information...

Thank you for sharing how you prepared for your little ones...we are similar here and with
each baby we become a little more efficient.

You are right! It really does make a huge difference....and it helps pass those long days waiting on the your blessing to arrive!:)

Tracy
www.LinesFromTheVine.com

Tammy's picture

More efficient as the family grows...

I imagine that is quite true! We learn as we go along! :) Thanks for commenting! :)

I hope it's okay if I save this...

I did a lot of these same things with my last baby, but you have everything so nicely organized and thought out! I think I'll save your list and refer back to it next time:)

Tammy's picture

Definitely! :)

I don't mind a bit if you save it :)

beautiful story of motherhood and preparedness

Thanks for sharing your story! I have a 14 month old and we're trying for #2, so this was very helpful. You're kids are precious!

Tammy's picture

Thank you!

Thanks for the comment! You're quite welcome, and I wish you all the best. :) Children are a precious blessing! :)

oh thank you!

my first baby is due in three weeks. while i've done some of what's on your list, i have to say that this is the most appropriate (for me!) works-for-me-wednesday tip i've ever read. thank you!!

Tammy's picture

Congratulations!

Glad you liked it, and best wishes with your new baby! Having a baby is just so exciting!! :)

Wow was a cool post with

Wow was a cool post with tons of information!!!!

Laurel Wreah

Tammy's picture

"Tons"

Yeah, it did get a little long, didn't it? :) I was wondering if anyone would make it through the whole thing! haha :)

Incredible Advice

Thank you, thank you for this post! I am due with #2 in May, and my son will be 21 months. I was feeling very overwhelmed just trying to imagine how to get it all done, but I feel much better after reading your tips!

Thank you!

Stacey
www.gosduck.blogspot.com

Tammy's picture

How it all gets done...

...strange but true, two children isn't double the work/time of caring for one. Just close. ;) But it all works out in the end, somehow... and Ijust keep learning as I go along! :) Congratulations on your expectancy! :D

Very Wise Advice

This is a good reminder that being prepared, both externally but also by adjusting our priorities, can make big life changes a little less bumpy.

One thing that really came through to me was your outlook on mothering - that the most important part of your day was going to be childcare and that it was okay with you. Caring for a child is a big job, to be sure, and I never realized it fully when I was pregnant and thinking as you did with your first. Overconfident? Oh, you betcha!

Thanks for a wonderful WFMW!

Tammy's picture

Over-confidence :)

Oh, funny! :D Thanks for your comment :)

For me, the easiest way to relax and enjoy my children is to NOT try to do too many other things! :)

Thanks!

Thank you so much for all this info. My husband and I have been praying for a second little blessing for a while now, so I hope to put some of your advice to use soon! And I totally hear you on the going to bed early advice. My son was born (early) on New Years Day, and the night before my husband and I stayed up past 1am making chocolate truffles for fun. Yeah, really fun when your water breaks at 4:30 am! Yikes!

Your recipes look yummy too! I'm glad I found your blog so I can check more of them out, yum!

:) Noah (http://proudtobeasahm.blogspot.com)

Tammy's picture

Going to bed early

That's funny! I think for me, I just got to the point where I figured I'd probably "never" have the baby, no sense in going to bed early and not being able to get to sleep. :)

I imagine there's a good reason why we don't know what our futures hold... I probably would have gotten even LESS sleep if I had known that I would have the baby at 5:30 am! I'd have been laying there wondering when labor was going to start! :)

Thanks for your comment! :)

Home Birth

Hi, I'm preparing for my very first baby (arriving January 2 +/-) and found your post very informative and helpful.

I also saw that you mentioned home birth. I am planning to have a homebirth and am trying to think of all the things that I will want to do/use/will need during labor and was wondering if you did have a homebirth and if there were any suggestions or things that you had / used / did /wished you had done differently?

:) Jennifer

Tammy's picture

Home Birth Supplies

Hi, Jennifer!

Congratulations on your expectancy! Both of our children were born at home, and we loved the experience!

I'd be happy to write about our supplies and what we used during and after the birth! I'll blog about it soon (within a week or less)... as soon as I get a chance to write some. :)

this is ruth a...forgot to log in...

What a terrific resource you've put together! I'm already telling myself, "The NEXT baby is the one I will be prepared for.." We'll see.:-P It has been tough not having a freezer to prepare things in advance, though I didn't think of doing things like mixes and a big batch of granola.

If it's any "consolation" (not that you're beating yourself up about it) about boosting milk supply...most things I've read/people I've talked to haven't found attempts to boost milk supply all that successful while pregnant. Pregnancy kind of overrides nursing hormones, I guess. It really does seem like if a toddler/older baby is going to nurse through a pregnancy they will do it regardless of how much or how little milk you're making. Malachi seemed unfazed when my supply dropped and then switched over to colostrum...it never left entirely but he still reverted to almost solely comfort nursing/wasn't even trying to get the milk that was there! Now that Jacinta is here he is definitely interested in the actual milk again, though! (He'd rather nurse than eat a cookie, even. And that's saying a lot!;-D)

Tammy's picture

Baby Preparation and Milk Supply

Thanks for the comment, Ruth! You did what you could to prepare for your babies! Some people just don't sit around for weeks being bored at the end, and you're one of those people! haha

I think it's wonderful that Malachi still nurses, and did so throughout your pregnancy! Yehoshua was a few months older than Malachi, so perhaps he just felt ready to move on... and then I encouraged him to sleep through the night (8 hours) which probably encouraged my milk supply to drop even more! :)

Thank you

I have a 12-month-old and am 11-weeks pregnant. This was a great post for me to read. One of my friends encouraged me to teach my little girl to be more independent before to baby comes. After reading your post, I know that is something I need to work on. Thank you. I think I will save this post and read over it several times.

Tammy's picture

You're welcome!

And congratulations on your pregnancy!

My friend Ruth A (who commented above) just had her second, and they are 18 months apart (sounds like about the same ages yours will be)! My first two are 20 months apart.

Now, 10 months later, they've both grown up so much! I love having them be close in age. And it just gets easier, as they get more independent! :)

Wonderful Advice!

We're expecting baby #3 (in this world, that makes me a "mom of many", lol),but I can always use good advice.

One thing that helped me sooooo much last time was the large stack of frozen casseroles my mother made and put into my freezer before the birth. It was so wonderful to know that I could just pull out an iced lasagna and throw it in the oven after a long day of chasing a toddler and nursing a newborn. This time around, I think the mixes seem like a good idea. That way my poor husband won't suffer until I'm "in the mood" to bake again. :D

Tammy's picture

Baking and cooking...

Congratulations, and thank you for your comment!

For me, I think the most difficult thing was getting (nice) meals made after having a baby. I just didn't realise how much time it would take or how much I'd be interrupted! And I even have a husband who likes to help cook! It was just stressful, not having a meal plan or food made up ahead. That was probably the main thing I did differently the 2nd time around. :D

I'm out of most of my mixes... I should make some more soon! :)

Candy's picture

I do not have a baby but...

I do like reading all this stuff. I like reading a positive mothers side rather than all the complaints of being a housewife homemaker and mother that so many are blurting out so their husbands, and children think they are troublesome and not wanted! I love you Tammy! You are such a good example to many!

Tammy's picture

Thanks, Candy :)

Thanks for your sweet comment, Candy! I love you too! Wherever we are in life, there's always something to be thankful for. :)

Such a help!

I am getting married in about a month and a half, and we are looking forward to having a baby as soon as God wants to give us one. We are both very excited (obviously), but I have to say that I feel so completely unprepared for a baby. I was hardly ever around babies as a child and have not much of an idea of how to prepare for one, so this was completely wonderful!

I've got this post bookmarked, and will be reading over it again just as soon as it is needed. :)

-Harmony

Tammy's picture

Hi, Harmony!

Thanks for your comment! Congratulations on your coming marriage!

One thing I found was that even though it had been a while since I had been around a baby/newborn, and I had never cared for a newborn so extensively before, after you have your baby, mothering is juat a natural thing... like breathing! Sometimes it's tempting to get selfish, but really having a baby has a way of transforming people! :)

wish i had found this a bit sooner!

we are due with #3 in 16 days! eeep! some of the things you mentioned I have alreadyd one, but others I wish i had known of sooner to help prepare...se la vive? lol! thanks for this! and btw, we're having a home/water birth (our first ever after 2 hospital births!!) and I am very excited to hear about your homebirthing supplies!

Thanks again!
~Kristy
Military wife and SAHM living overseas
Mom to two little girls, ages 3 and 4
and a new little one due on Thanksgiving Day!

Tammy's picture

Home birth

Kristy, congratulations!! Can I ask where you are stationed? I guess is some overseas countries home birth is more popular (I'm thinking Germany and Holland) than here in the US! I'm glad there is more and more awareness of it here, though. People should at least know their options! :)

I will get busy on the birthing supplies list. :)

oh my!

I think I might be having the reverse experience. I entered motherhood with Wesley much more trepidacious and did a lot to prepare. This time, I feel so much more confident. But your post helped smack some reality back into me. I've heard several moms urge that the key to growing your nest is to really take it easy and "make life small" the first few months. I love to keep busy and have a "can do attitude," so I haven't taken that advice very seriously. But the last thing my family needs is for me to have a physical or emotional breakdown if I am taking on too much!

So I'm going to think more about how I can prepare on a practical level, and what are reasonable expectations for the postpartum period. Thanks for getting me thinking!

Carolyn (cdaisy113)

Tammy's picture

Preparing the second time around...

Hi, Carolyn! Nice to see you here! :D Thanks for commenting! I think we do tend to react based on our past experiences. :D Babies can have such differing temperments and I think that makes a big difference! :)

I really enjoyed your post

I really enjoyed your post and will definitely be reading it again. We are in the process of adopting, so we don't necessarily have a full 10 months before baby comes. This will be our first, but I feel totally unprepared. I have very little idea what to do first. That sounds dumb but it's kind of overwhelming to think I could be a mom in a few months. Any suggestions on what to concentrate on first?? BTW your children are beautiful and I love their names.
Nichole

Tammy's picture

New baby :)

Nichole, welcome! Congratulations on your upcoming adpotion!! :)

From your question, I wasn't sure if you meant that you felt unsure about caring for a new baby, or about "everything else"! Since you're adpoting, you won't have the physical recovery while you're adjusting to having a new baby, so that should be... fun! :)

Well, if you feel unsure about caring for a baby, I would suggest trying to find some babies to spend time with, learning from their moms. Of course, every baby is different, so I highly recommend NOT getting set parenting ideas from just one or two people, especially about things like schedules! What works for someone else may very well not work for you.

I personally really benefited from having meals planned/prepared before my baby was born. I had help with the housecleaning, so that wasn't so bad. :) Actually, it was kind of nice that other people cleaned my house for free, while I sat and held my new little baby! :)

Most of all, prepare to set aside selfishness. If you have a willingness to serve, along with some patience (and of course, a lot of love!) you'll do just fine. :)

So neat

This is what I did when I was preganat with our third and the twins were only nine mths. And then for our forth and now for our fith child. I must add baby gate where and are a must so little hads dont pull youre kitchen apart. We amde nursing time atime to look at pics of them as a baby and talk about them insead of the new baby all the time. I had made little photo albums for each child of just them. Also I found it helpful to mix up things like meatloaf them freeze it uncooded. I also had a cleaning scedule eg on monday do bathroom then Tuesday wash floor and that is all I would do on those days minus the laundry!!We also have menues for the now older children where I already have there snack for 10:30am snack time, where its already written down so there is no arguing because thats what the menu says!! It really make more more enjoyable moments when you are prepared!! Oh one other trick we learned was to keep a bag packed in the van of a change of cloths and pjs for each child so youre always ready for accedents,you never know!! And then when youre at a gradmas house they can bath the children and get their jammies on, the grandma like the treat and you ahve a little rest!!

Great planning tips!

Thanks for the tips! I'll definitely use some the next time around! There was so much I didn't think of when having my first baby. I didn't even have the baby clothes washed or the bags packed when I went into labor!(Big mistake!)Baby came five days early, but I still should have been more ready!

Preparation is a good thing, but some things you just can't plan. I started labor at 11 pm. And my labor did not start with any easy you-can-sleep-through-it contractions, either. Can you say NO sleep for the weary?! But even if it doesnn't happen again that way, I'm still planning on being more prepared!

Love these ideas!

I love these ideas. You seem like you have such a nice family. I always tell people about your website because it's so much more than recipes! I am expecting my sixth child in Feb. 09 so I am already implementing some of these ideas. I realized with this baby that my rest is necessary for a happy mom, so when all the kids are napping I allow myself to rest too instead of doing everything during that time. I also make a lot of freezer meals for the first few weeks so I don't have to think about meals so much.

Stuff

I would enjoy reading about what items (furniture, clothes, toys, etc.) you recommend buying for a new baby...and what's a waste/unfrugal. Obviously, you'd need to buy less with each additional child, but if you added it all up, what would you have bought - and not have bought - for your first. Thanks!

I'd say...

A changing table is NOT a must. You can get by, by changing the baby on a receiving blanket on a bed, or buying a 3 drawer dresser, and put a changing pad on top. The dresser can then work as a place for clothes throughout his/her life. A changing table, ah 2 yrs maybe?

A swing is a must. I couldn't have lived w/o it.

A bassinet...I personally couldn't sleep w/a baby in my bed. And I didn't want to roll over on it.

A crib... another must well for at least my family.

A playpen/travel yard thing... eh not a must. At least not until they are older, but even then not really a must. Unless you want to use it as a bassinet.

Toys, I don't think a newborn really needs any toys. But later down the road soft books, rattles, teething rings you'll want those.

Clothes... depends on how often you do laundry. I do laundry everyday. But figure on 3-4 sleepers, 5-6 t-shirts or onesies. some hats (if you keep your home cool) A nice outfit or two if you plan on taking the baby out. (I didn't for the first 2-3 months) Towels... depends on how often you will bathe the baby. Receiving blankets... I'd say 7.

Car seat! We didn't get a baby carrier thing, but a convertible car seat. Seemed like a waste of money for a baby carrier/car seat.

Wipes... I didn't use disposable or make my own. I used baby wash cloths and just added a little soap to them. Diapers... I used disposable out of convenience. But that was our choice.

Great Info

Such a great post! I am preparing for my first baby and will put some of your practical advice to practice. What a great idea to do 2 weeks of easy meals. Thanks for a great post and I look forward to reading more of your blog!

Your children are so

Your children are so beautiful..

After having children I have ALOT of stretch marks to where my stomach doesn't even look like a stomach when I tighten it. The skin is loose and so stretched out. Do you
know of anything that heals stretch marks from pregnancies.

Thanks!

Awesome!

I'm expecting my first baby and I'm glad I read your article. It's really helpful and I'm definitely going to work on all these things. Thanks a lot for taking put time to share your ideas and thoughts. Stay blessed!

Mo'minah

The same case

Wow! This is very useful for me. My second baby will be dued when my first one reach 20months... I was searching for some tips to prepare for when expecting a second baby.

I really need to bookmark your post n come back to it again...

Thank you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your life and advice. You are very inspiring! I'm bookmarking your post so I can re-read it when I feel overwhelmed and tired and remember that things aren't so bad :)

Wow! this was so neat!

I'll be having my second child in November, my first will be exactly 2 years old and we've already started to prepare per say but this gives me a lot to plan out and think about. Idk that i'll be able to set up a menu beforehand but its good to know i can if i wanted to. I wish my little one now would love reading it would be nice for him to sit .. but he does like to babble and chat and play so idk ill need to work out a plan.. i live near my parents and my hubby is home later so i think i am blessed w a great support system. Congrats to all the mom's to be=) and thanks for sharing! =)

Love love your tips

Thank you so much for this incredible blog!!! Having 1 st child, and hubby works 14 to16 hours shifts!!

Things to think about...

We are getting ready to try for #2 (1st son is 26 months), and you gave me things to keep in mind. Especially loved the "live in the moment"; we always tend to forget that. Thank you for sharing!

Wonderful Tips!

What a wonderful post! I so wished I had found this and read this before I had my 2 little ones. If God blesses us with another, I definitely need to implement a lot of these tips. I so wished I had meal planned and had more ready-to-eat healthy meals available. Reading to my almost 22 month old while breastfeeding would have been a great idea also!

Thank you!

Hi there! Thank you so much for this post. We will be in almost the exact situation come June. Our son, Sam, will be 20 months old when his little sister is born. Sam is sleeping through the night almost all of the time. Occasionally, though, he will wake up for about an hour and need some comforting before he can get back to sleep. What did you do when your older son woke up, but you had a newborn to care for too? I mean, if they're both awake at the same time. My husband will take care of our older son, I know, if I make it clear to him that I can't do both, but he's worried that he'll be exhausted at work the next day. Honestly, it's a good point, because his work requires a lot of concentration and we rely on it as a sole source of income for our family. Any thoughts/advice? I'd be interested to know what you did.
Thanks again - this was very well organized and there were some things I had not thought of on here.

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