by Ginger Henderson
With the arrival of spring comes a need to get things cleaned up, cleared out and organized before the rush of summer begins. If you happen to be expecting a new arrival, your desire to ready your nest and prepare for your baby will grow larger as the days grow longer. Sometimes, though, the list of things to do can seem overwhelming. Try breaking your “to do” list into manageable weekly tasks to help keep you focused.
During the Second Trimester: The Nursery
If you’re expecting your first baby, you may have had your nursery ready for months. For many first-time mothers, this is an exciting task that receives plenty of attention. Sometimes, though, if you’re exhausted from working or have other family members to take care of, setting up your nursery gets put on the back burner. During your second trimester, you are going to start feeling less sick and tired, so this is a good time to get the nursery together. Pick one week and commit to tackling the task. Set up the crib, wash and fold the new clothes, and make sure the diaper changing area is well stocked and ready to go. Set up the monitor and make sure everything works as it should. Grab a notebook and pen and spend an evening studying your nursery closely. Make notes of things that need attention. Turn the lights out and see if you’ll have enough light to walk around during your two a.m. feedings without bumping into things. Sit in your rocking chair and make sure things are comfortable and within arm’s reach. Taking the time now to address any issues you may discover can save you headaches later.
Week 35–36: The Hospital Bag
Nothing says, “It’s almost time” like packing your bag to bring to the hospital. While it can be tempting to overpack, try and remember that you’re packing for a few nights’ stay, not an extended vacation. Begin by using our list: “It’s In the Bag” for inspiration. Save yourself some aggravation and avoid packing clothing of similar colors. It’s a lot easier to ask someone to hand you the blue nightgown than to have to ask for the blue nightgown with long sleeves and little white polka-dots. During moments of postpartum hormonal surges coupledwith hospital-induced sleep deprivation, even minor annoyances can threaten to push you over the edge. Make things as easy for yourself asyou can. As you pack, remind yourself that you are going to the hospital, not overseas – in most cases, someone can easily run home or to the store to pick up something you forgot.
Week 37–38: Preparing the Nest
Now that your nursery and hospital bag are taken care of, you can turn your focus to the rest of your home. Try tackling a room a day this week to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. In the kitchen, wash and sterilize your baby’s bottles if you’re planning to bottle feed. Even if you’re planning to exclusively breast feed, make sure you have a couple of bottles on hand and ready, just in case of emergency. Give your home a thorough cleaning, but don’t wear yourself out. After all, your newborn will be spending most of his or her time in your arms. As you prepare your meals this week, make double or triple batches and freeze the extras. When you’re exhausted from caring for your little bundle of joy, the last thing you want to worry about is what you’re going to do for dinner. Sometime this week, install your baby’s car seat or infant carrier, or have a specialist install it for you. Many police stations or fire stations will check to make sure you’ve installed it correctly and securely.
Week 39–40: Rest and Prepare Your Mind
As the pre-baby days grow shorter, take some time torelax. While it’s easy to become caught up in the excitement and growing anxiousness for the baby to arrive, don’t pushthe days away too quickly. Remember that this is the last time you’ll ever be where you are – alone with your partner, for example – before the baby is born. Take the time this week to treasure these last remaining days. Spend time with your partner doing something you both enjoy that you won’t have as much time for after the baby comes – dining out, for example, or seeing a movie. Play a game with your child or children if you have them, and remind them how special they are to you. Pamper yourself and get as much rest as you can while it’s available.
Now that you’ve tackled your “to do” list, the only thing left is to wait for your new arrival. As the day approaches, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve taken the steps to ensure everything will run smoothly. When the moment comes, you’ll be ready with a smile, assured that your ducks are lined up and ready to go!
It’s In the Bag – Must Haves for your Hospital Bag
• Necessary Paperwork (hospital forms, insurance cards, birthing plan, etc.)
• Robe and Nightgowns for yourself (preferably button up if you’re planning to nurse),
• Maternity or Nursing Bras with nursing pads
• Maternity underwear
• Toothbrush and toothpaste
• Travel sized soap, lotion, deodorant, shampoo
• Nonskid socks or slippers
• Lip balm (You would be surprised how dry your lips become when you start lactating)
• For contact lens wearers, contact lens case and saline solution
• Hair elastics
• Roll of quarters for vending machines
• Camera and extra batteries
• Cell phone charger
• A few outfits for the baby (keep it reasonable – 2 or 3, plus a special going home outfit)
• Receiving blankets, hats and socks for baby
• Light snacks for you and your partner
• Comfortable clothes for you to wear home (If you are going to have a C-Section, bring nothing that cuts across your stomach – dresses/ nightgowns are best!)
• Something for you and your partner to read in case you have to wait