There are two universal truths about babies that every new parent can count on, regardless of anything else. The first is that each baby is unique and special with their own individual likes, habits, and temperaments. The second is that having a baby will significantly change your life, both emotionally and practically.
The question we’re left with is: how on earth do we prepare for the arrival of our new little life-altering unpredictable force of love and chaos? In other words, how do we expect the unexpected when we’re expecting?
Friends and family who have already been through the process of preparing for a new baby will have plenty of advice for us, and much of that wisdom will manifest through their choice of baby shower gifts. However, we wanted to dig a little deeper and try to find out if there are some essential dos and don’ts that might be helpful for all new parents to bear in mind as they prepare for life after birth.
So, we turned to three of our fabulous #BamboBaby ambassadors – Abbie Orr, Elaina Bellis, and Nicole Banuelos – for the low down. Our goal was to see if they shared any common experiences of preparing things for your home, your new baby, and yourself while you’re expecting.
Here’s what we discovered.
Things For The Home
The best rule for preparing your home is to keep it simple and avoid excessive purchases that just take up a lot of space. Elaina gave us some golden advice: “We had someone come in and clean the whole house from top to bottom before my labor – sheets, bathrooms, everything. It was really nice coming home to a completely clean house.”
Do prepare a nursery, if you can, with a diaper and pumping station with a hospital grade breast pump.
Get your hands on a car seat earlier rather than later and have it installed and ready to go, in case your baby comes early.
Abbie told us she wishes she’d bought a basic light weight stroller that fits in the car instead of the jogger stroller she bought (ah, so many good intentions!)
It’s also helpful to have a baby monitor that you can sync up to your phone or laptop if you have a bigger house or if you are on the go a lot.
Things you don’t necessarily need include a fully loaded bassinet with play yard and change table and all the bells and whistles. If you already have a basic nursery set up, this will only take up precious real estate.
While all three of our ambassadors liked the idea of a swing or rocker, it’s best to borrow one from a friend first, if possible, to see if your baby likes it before investing in one. They can be super expensive.
Things For Baby
The thing about newborns is that they don’t stay newborn for long. The trick to stocking up on things for your tiny one is to work from this assumption: whatever you buy, she will grow out of it in approximately five minutes!
When considering what to buy for baby in advance, Elaina said it best: “You really don’t need that much, stick to the essentials: boobs, bottles, diapers.”
Our ambassadors also agree that sanitizing and bottle dryer set, Sylvie wrap swaddles, bibs and burp cloths, a baby wrap or carrier, saline nose drops and a Nose Frida, plus a diaper bag with compartments are the things you’ll want to have handy.
The biggest consideration is to start a diaper stash early – it’s hard to imagine how fast you’ll go through them until you experience it.
Avoid buying too many clothes and cancel the baby shoes – they won’t fit for long at all. A few onesies and swaddles are all you’ll need in the first couple of months.
There’s no need for much additional bedding for the crib, or lots of stuffed animals that take up space.
It’s also better to buy one pacifier initially to see if it’s something you want to do, rather than buying a crateful in advance that you may not use.
Things For You
In a funny way, this might be the most important inventory. You know intellectually that you are your new baby’s entire universe, so why does planning for self-care tend to always come last on the to-do list?
The things to buy ahead of time are basic health products. Stock up on maxi pads and Tucks pads if you’re having a vaginal birth. Buy some lanolin cream, breast pads, and Mother’s milk tea if you’re breast-feeding.
Also, have hand sanitizer close by for when friends and family visit – especially during the colder months when everyone has colds.
However, there’s a little more to preparing for self-care than investing in drug store products. All three of our wise ambassadors advise new parents to prepare to accept help. Yes, seriously.
From letting friends and family organize meals to drop off in the week after giving birth, to reaching out for help if you experience post partum depression, it’s important to remember that it still sometimes takes a village.
Nicole recommends having lots of comfy clothes to wear while you’re recovering from the birth, and sourcing a few reliable avenues for staying informed and weeding out outdated advice that may not be best for your little one.
Elaina tells us that keeping frozen cabbage leaves in the freezer helps with soreness from breast-feeding.
Abbie suggests finding a support group of other moms and dads that are due around the same time you are for support.
Finally, all three ambassadors have the same message for new parents: Be prepared for the fact that not everything you want to get done will get done – and that’s perfectly okay!