Check the Expiration Date on That Car Seat!
With no fender benders under our belt, we’re comfortable using the same infant car seat for our new little guy, as we did with our older two, but don’t forget that these things do expire — just flip it over and check the sticker to make sure yours is still good to go (again!).
Check Battery Compartments and Change Batteries on Baby Gear
The last thing you need is to whip out that trusty vibrating chair so you can take a well-deserved shower, only to find it permanently out of commission from a corroded battery compartment. Check and replenish batteries before the little love arrives on the scene, to save yourself from scrambling for an extra AAA battery at the back of the junk drawer, blurry eyed and greasy haired.
Safety Check Baby Gear
Along with the expiration date on the car seat, don’t forget to check wires on things like plug-in swings, to tighten the screws on the cribs, and to watch out for any mold that may have formed over time on things like bottles/nipples, breast pump parts, or chew toys (I’m looking at you, Sophia Le Giraffe!).
Set Up Your ‘Newborn Station’ with the Necessities
Here are just a few things most of us need (but are easy to forget!) for those little newbies: Alcohol wipes (umbilical cord), nose/snot sucker and saline solution, diapers and wipes (duh), a million and one onesies for nighttime poo blow outs, cotton swabs and petroleum jelly (if your little man is being circumcised), baby mittens (to avoid scratches), swaddles (and extras for those inconvenient 3am poo attacks again), sound machine/heartbeat luvvie if that’s your fancy, and for us personally, a Snuza monitor.
Set Up the Household to Run ‘Without’ You
Pop healthy snacks within kids’ reach for a bit more self-serve action. Prepare a few dinners and treats in advance (we’re a great lover of post-baby freezer meals in this household — dive into the Pinterest rabbit hole if you dare!) and throw some paper plates/disposable silverware into the mix for added ease. A small box of ‘quiet time activities’ or busy bags is a great idea too, to keep those ‘big littles’ occupied during nap times or nursing stints.
It goes without saying that the less there is to chase/clean/round up at the end of each day, the better. Now’s a great time to purge a few unused extras, and give yourself a little less to stay on top of after baby.
Install That Car Seat
Make sure to check each seat for LATCH systems, and make sure that your car seat is compliant with your vehicle’s restraint systems (for example, our oldest son’s car seat can only work with an anchor system – surprise!). Oh, and while you’re at it, make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas in the car at all times (especially once you’re over 35 weeks or so!), to make any time-dependent dashes to the hospital a little less stressful.
Many birthing centers and hospitals will let you fill out your registration paperwork ahead of time, to save distraction and inconvenience once you roll up in the throws of labor (take it from a woman who verbally agreed to everything, as nurses read medical contracts to me, my husband signed them on my behalf, and I simultaneously tried to ‘lose myself’ in Hypno-birthing). Don’t forget to give your insurance company and chosen pediatrician a quick call too, to see what their pre/post birth requirements are!
Sibling Prep 101
Let schools and preschools know about the imminent family arrival, especially if you plan to pull out older brother or sister for a short while. There are also a million resources out there to help you prepare kids of all ages for the arrival of a new baby. Reading themed books together, kids’ TV shows (may I recommend Daniel Tiger?), and special shopping trips to find a special gift for the baby chosen personally by his ‘bigs’ are all things we did this time around. Oh, and don’t forget those hospital bags for siblings too: Snacks, activities, diapers where needed, and a change of clothes for each. You know, just in case you end up with last minute company!
Rethink Diaper Bags/Strollers
I personally just upgraded (ha!) from my very stylish, rather pricey diaper bag that saw me through the first two kiddos, to a ‘diaper backpack’ because, well, needs require it. Practicality wins the day for me right now, but it’s not forever and it does make life a whole lot easier for everyone to just grab and go each day. Strollers count too when it comes to accommodating a new little passenger, so have a think about what is right for your family’s needs and adapt where necessary.