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For the past few months, on Brielle’s monthly birthday, I’ve been sharing some advice and recommendations from my perspective as a first time mom (FTM). For all those eager mommies who are nesting in the end weeks/months and have already set up their room and are now pacing to come up with new things to occupy themselves, consider some topics on this list to get you even more organized before baby:
- Create a birth announcement address list, print address labels and return address labels, and buy stamps. If you’re planning to do newborn photos, most photographers recommend doing so within the first two weeks of birth due to the high sleepy nature of your infant. (And because you want to capture him/her at their smallest!) With this task completed ahead of time, you’ll be all ready to peel and stick your labels on your beautifully printed announcements and let the world know about your little bean without little effort post baby. Maybe even your husband or a friend can help! (Note: we ordered ours, seen above, via Shutterfly, using some special offers from my many rewards programs.)
- Research newborn photographers. This is a play off the last point. If you plan to use an outside newborn photograph and not doing them yourself, research some in the area prior to baby’s arrival. Possibly meet with them, see their studio or at least find out their policy on bookings, rights and conditions.
- Create a “Thank You Card” Bin. Everyone loves a new baby and chances are you’ll probably be getting a lot of gifts, new clothes and find helpful friends during your baby’s first few months. Create one bin or bag complete with: LOTS of thank you cards, a pen, stamps and a notepad. Use the notepad to make notes on who gave you what or who did what so you can easily check off where you left off. You probably won’t get a lot of time at once, so even writing one or two notes at a time will help you not get overwhelmed with this process.
- Create a snack bin for your spot on the couch. I don’t know about you, but my husband and I always sit in the same spots on either side of the side table when sitting in our living room. Once baby arrived, I was often held hostage for our little one who was either nursing or napping on me… and I could be there for hours. We quickly learned that I needed a snack bin near me which contained granola bars, peanuts and other high protein snacks. My husband would check it in the morning before work, making sure to fill it up with little goodies and I was set for the day.
- Create a sign with laundry instructions and keep it visible in the laundry room. You might be lucky enough to have a family member or friend stay or visit you in those first weeks and ask how they can help. If you have a specific way you want the baby’s laundry done (specific detergent/delicate settings) then create a sign with this information and display it on your washer. Your helper can then take the baby’s hamper and easily follow your outlined laundry wishes without bothering you.
- Sign up for rewards programs, especially from the diaper/formula brands. Read this post which includes links to the programs in which I’m a member. Pampers even has an app to let you easily add in your codes while feeding the little one. Not only have I been racking up points to turn into items for “purchase,” I also received MANY free photo books, Christmas cards, wall calendars and announcement offers I used all year!
- Start working on their baby book. Even if you’re not a scrapbooker, most baby books include some pages of basic information that you can fill out prior to baby. Perhaps there is a family tree, or even a place to include maternity photos or a baby shower invitation. Work on these beginning items prior to baby so you can focus on post baby things once they’re arrived.
- Fill up your freezer with easy to heat up meals. For my bridal shower years before, we received a FoodSaver V3460 Vacuum Sealing System which has been used A LOT in our home. Before baby, I made stuffed shells and meatballs, freezing them in smaller packs with heating instructions written on the outside. We also made sure to get to Wegmans, where we purchased individually packaged chicken, pork chops and a club sized pack of ground beef that my hubby sealed into smaller, useable packages. We were able to use this stash in the first few weeks for some easy to heat up meals.
- Build up your stockpile. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s worth mentioning again. You’ll go through A LOT of toilet paper, hand soap and garbage bags in those first few months when you’re stuck at home. Start seeking out deals for this items so you don’t run out. If you have smaller garbage cans that don’t require a specific bag type (like a Diaper Genie), start saving those plastic shopping bags to use in them. We also saved all our long newspaper bags to use for on-the-go diaper changes for our car and diaper bag. Great way to recycle!
- Download useful apps. When in labor I found a contractions app really helpful because man do those minutes feel like hours! I also downloaded a “Feed Baby” app that helped tracking nursing sessions and diaper changes. I only used the diaper changes tracking in the hospital because warning: every nurse will ask you that! But the nursing part came in handy for months. Brielle only nursed on one side per session so it helped me keep track which side I was on for next time and how long she ate.
- Clean up your phone and decide on a photo storage plan. You’ll need lots of room for pictures and videos of the new baby so clean out your phone of old apps or images taking up all your space. Also look into a plan to store and BACK UP your photos once you have them. Check out my post on How to Organize Your Digital Photos to see how I do it monthly!