Baby girl #4 is due very soon and that means that I am in nesting mode and prep mode. With this being the third time I am bringing a newborn home (I have twins in case you’re wondering how that math works), I know there are a few things I can do the month before baby arrives to set my family up for success in the newborn daze. Obviously installing the car seat, packing a hospital bag, and setting up the nursery are important, but there are also things you can do beforehand in the realm of household management that are very beneficial when baby arrives.
Here’s some things I will be doing in the next month to prep for baby girl #4’s arrival:
1. Food Prep
One of my favorite things we did in preparation for our other girls’ arrivals was to stock the freezer with food. Let me admit something to you guys: I hate cooking! So, I hosted a meal prep party near the end of my pregnancy to fill the fridge with quick meals. I invited my mom and mother-in-law over to help, asking them to each bring their family’s favorite freezable food recipes along with some Pinterest ideas. We spent an entire Saturday grocery shopping, bulk cooking, and freezing pre-portioned meals. By the end of the day, I had three months of meals stocked in our freezer. The meals were a mix of crock pot dumps, quick oven heat-ups and microwavable meals. Make sure you include a variety of meals so that your family doesn’t tire of eating the same thing every day. This prep work ahead of time can easily get you through the first few months of parenthood.
2. Stockpile Household Items
Have you ever watched one of those extreme couponing shows where someone goes to the grocery store, buys two carts worth of items and their total is like $0.83? Then it pans to their stockpile, and it looks like they have enough soap to last through the apocalypse? I am not asking you to be that extreme, but this tip is a smaller scale version of that. I am not an extreme couponer myself, but I figured I could devote my third trimester impatience to stockpiling some household items on the cheap. And I am so, so glad I did! We didn’t have to buy toilet paper again until the girls were eleven months old!
Couponing is the perfect nesting activity. Make a list of all your non-perishable household items: body wash, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc. Then, calculate how many packages of each item you need to last a year. I also went through the trouble of documenting the kinds we wanted to use of each item and the cheapest size and place to buy each of them. Then, I combed the newspaper and internet for coupons and sales flyers to use for purchasing this stockpile. I figured if I was going to go to all the trouble of buying ahead, I might as well take a little extra time to get everything as discounted as possible.
However, if you don’t have the energy for that, you also could simply throw a half dozen of the largest packages in the shopping cart instead of one. Whichever route you choose, I promise you it’ll be worth it. You don’t want to be worried about running out of toilet paper when you are sleep deprived.
3. Automate Everything
The most obvious automation is probably bill pay. It’s certainly helpful as you don’t want to be thinking about bills during this time. Go ahead and prepay a month out on things that are not automated, so you don’t have to worry about due dates while in a fourth trimester brain fog.
But I would also encourage you to think about other things that can be automated, especially anything that can prevent you from making trips out with your newborn. I’m not even particularly a homebody, but errands were the last thing I wanted to do with newborn twins or a newborn and twin toddlers.
One of my favorite automations is our grocery shopping. We use Walmart’s pick-up service. I have all of our regularly bought items saved so after 5 minutes of clicking on an app, I’ll have the groceries scheduled for my husband to pick up on his way home from work.
If you’re an Amazon mom like I am, the two-day Prime delivery is also a lifesaver to have in those first few months. As your baby grows and changes in the first year, and your family routine changes too, you will often find a need for some new item you had never considered before. With Amazon Prime, you can quickly find a quality and affordable version of what you need and be guaranteed that it’ll be on your doorstep within two days. I believe Amazon also offers a Prime service called Amazon Mom that regularly ships discounted diapers and wipes to your doorstep. Amazon offers subscription services on household items and food called Amazon Pantry. You could sign up for some of these items as an alternative to stockpiling.
4. Hire a Cleaner
This is not something we did initially. In fact, it’s a fairly recent development, but with how helpful it’s been, especially now that we are back to work, I highly recommend looking into it before the baby comes. I thought hiring someone to clean your house was expensive. Really it’s not, and the time and annoyance saved is worth every penny. We just have someone come once every other week to give the house a good scrub down, especially the bathrooms, which saves us from having to do any of the heavy lifting with cleaning. Yes, we still have to do dishes daily, wipe off the table and kitchen countertops and sweep the floors after meals, but we don’t have to keep up with deep cleaning the showers or toilet bowl or vacuuming the closets and dusting, which in the first year were the types of household chores that were often overlooked until it got really grimy.
If you can’t afford to hire a cleaner ongoing, I recommend at least having someone come before your due date to do a deep clean. Or if you’re feeling up for it, do a deep clean yourself. It’ll at least give you a clean space to come home to and not worry too much about for the first few weeks.
I also highly recommend a robot vacuum if you don’t have one already. Seriously, it’s life-changing! We have a one named Roz (after one of our favorite read-alouds, The Wild Robot) and have it run downstairs every day.