This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that I may earn a referral fee if you make a purchase through my link without any extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
It’s so funny to think back to when my husband and I brought our first son home. We literally had no idea what to do with him.
Do we try to put him in his crib?
Does he just sleep all the time?
Can I walk away from him for two seconds to grab an 8 hour energy?
Literally, no clue.
After having brought two babies home, I have a much better idea of how to efficiently set up your house to welcome a newborn seamlessly into your lifestyle. Follow the steps below while you’re still cooking the bambino, and check ‘prep the house’ off your lengthy soon-to-be momma to do list.
Think About Your Current Routines
For example, I usually do the following first thing in the morning.
Hit the bathroom
Start a load of laundry
Plan Where You Will Put the Baby for Each of These Steps
Wake up - I know that the babe will sleep in a bassinet next to our bed for at least the first few months.
Hit the bathroom - The bathroom is attached to the bedroom. I can easily pop back and forth to check on the little gentleman while he’s resting in the bassinet.
Start a load of laundry - The hamper is in the bathroom, so I can easily grab that. But the laundry room is clear on the other side of the house. Carrying a laundry basket and a newborn terrifies me, so I will move the baby into the kitchen/living area before taking the laundry to the laundry room. I literally walk right through the living area to get there, so I can have eyes on him nearly the whole time. Then I will haul ass so that he’s only out of my sight less than a minute because he’s so cute and so terrifying.
Prep breakfast - Done throughout the kitchen and living area. My toddler and I will have to eat, so I should probably set him on the countertop in his Dock a tot (in the center and only while I am in an arm’s shot) or near the table so that I can see him.
Think About What Your Baby Will Be Doing at Those Times
Of course, this will change as your baby grows and his needs change.
Wake up - He should be fine to just hang in the bassinet even if he is awake.
Hit the bathroom - Once I’ve taken care of my business, I know that the little guy will likely need a new diaper and a new outfit at minimum.
Start a load of laundry - He’ll have a fresh look, so he should be good to hang for the minute that I am gone.
Prep breakfast - This step will take some time, he will likely have another dirty diaper that will need changing and need some sort of entertainment while all this is going on.
Make a List of What You Will Need in Each Location
Wake up - I know that I will need a bassinet and sheets.
Hit the bathroom - I plan on changing his diaper and outfit. I’ll need a surface to change on, baby wipes, diapers, clothes, and whatever else you plan on lathering on that baby butt.
Start a load of laundry - I need somewhere to put him!
Prep breakfast - I need something to entertain him!
Outfit Your House
Wake up - Buy a bassinet and back up sheets - you’re changing those a lot. If you have a fancy bassinet that plays music, rocks, and does your taxes you might need batteries or to place it strategically by an outlet. Many mothers also choose to straight up have a crib in their room. It takes up a lot of room, but it might get the baby used to the crib quicker which could mean an easier transition to sleeping in their room.
Hit the bathroom - I put a pack and play with a changer attachment in the bedroom. When the baby is very young, you can store extra clothes, bassinet sheets, wipes, diapers, etc. in the actual play pen part of it, and use the changing table part as it’s intended. However, as the baby grows, you can start laying him in there to hang out as well. Once that becomes the case, I highly recommend a cart on wheels to store extra clothes, bassinet sheets, wipes, diapers, etc. You’ll see why in the next steps.
Start a load of laundry - Assuming that the pack and play and cart are on wheels, you can just roll them out into the next location. That way you don’t have to run to the nursery every time you have to change a diaper. This is extremely helpful if you have older children who you need to keep an eye on all the time.
If you want to get your child into another position, consider a Dock a Tot or Rock N Play or MammaRoo in the main living areas. Here’s how we used each:
Dock a Tot - This bad boy went on the coffee table when the rest of the family was in the living room. It was great because our 18 month old could see the baby and ‘play’ with him easily. It would also stay on the kitchen island (again only in the center and where I could reach him at all times), and on the ground in the bathroom when our toddler needed a bath.
Rock N Play - Always get one that you plug in! You don’t want to be trapped rocking that thing yourself. You’re a mom now - you got a lot of shit to do! Keep extension cords close by in case you want to keep the Rock N Play somewhere that isn’t near a wall. I’ve plopped babies in the middle of the house in their Rock N Plays so that I can move all around and still have them in eyeshot. The best thing about the one that I have is that it is so light. If you have a one story house, it is incredibly easy to move around to suite your schedule.
Mammaroo - These are less portable. I kept a Mammaroo in the living room. I didn’t have to worry about moving the Rock N Play into the living room that way. If you have stairs, keep the Mammaroo on one level (likely the level where you won’t need to be moving the baby a lot), and move your Rock N Play as needed.
Prep breakfast - Entertainment varies depending on the age. If your little one is only going to be awake for a bit, have a portable sound machine that can go with the babe if you need to move while he’s resting. If you want his little mind to be stimulated, but he can’t yet grasp and hold toys, get a bar that attaches to the bassinet with hanging toys. The motion of the toys will entertain him. If he’s ready for toys, have small baskets around the house wherever you all will be spending your time so that one is never far away. I round up a few options in this post.
Whew! That is a lot of thinking to do. But my advice is to do that thinking before you’re recovering from childbirth, trying to figure out feedings, and getting to know your new best friend.
A Few Notes
You will develop a schedule for when your baby eats that will be injected into your routine every 3 hours or so. If you plan to nurse, have a nursing pillow nearby. Also, while it can be uncomfortable, try nursing in different locations of the home. That way you will get a change of scenery and not be trapped in one room for what seems like ever. If you plan to bottle feed, that comes with A LOT of dishes. I recommend a bottle station in the kitchen. That includes the following: a bottle warmer, a bottle sterilizer, a drying rack, soap, and a bottle brush (seems silly but so helpful).
Throughout this post I have linked to products that I used and liked. Of course, every baby and family is different. Keep in mind not every baby will like everything you put them in. If you have mom friends, see if they will loan you their Mammaroo for the first few days to see if the baby takes to it. That’s a large purchase to just sit in the corner of your house. My first son wasn’t a big Mammaroo fan, but loved the Rock N Play. My second son was the opposite - go figure.
I am in no way a medical professional giving you advice on taking care of your child. I am just a seasoned mom who has made if through the newborn stage twice with my marriage in tact. I hope my tips help you do the same! And congrats on your new addition!