Food and drink preparations
As a new parent, one of the main things you can do to make those first few weeks after birth easier is to prepare ahead of time. This means making sure that your meals are sorted out as much as possible beforehand. Try to cook and freeze as many easy-to-heat meals that will fit in your freezer and make sure that there are easy-to-make meals in your pantry. Stock up on healthy snacks for those hunger attacks when breastfeeding and, while you are at it, make sure you have a big bottle of something to drink on hand (not wine!), as you can get pretty thirsty while breastfeeding. While we are on the subject of breastfeeding, investing in a portable entertainment system, such as a kindle or iPad, may be a good idea, as you will be spending many hours sitting still and even though you will most likely want to gaze at your beautiful baby for at least some of the time, it is also good to have other options to while the rest of the time away. Kindles are especially good for nighttime feeds since they have their own adjustable light.
You may also want to invest in a breast milk pump. There are two types: manual and electric. The manual pump is a bit more gentle and has less of a bovine feel than the electric pump, which is a bit more efficient. Make sure you have spare components and plenty of reusable milk storage bags as well.
Now, you may be determined to go ecofriendly and only use cloth diapers. However, especially in those first few weeks after birth, it is a good idea to have at least a few disposable diapers on hand. The transition from non-parent to parent may go extra smoothly but it also may not and so it is good to hedge your bets. There is nothing stopping you from going 100% cloth diapers in a month or two, once you have gotten a bit more used to being a mum. If you are using cloth diapers, a big 10–20 liter container filled with water plus some cider vinegar for soaking diapers is handy.
If you have decided to go the disposable route, having a few cloth diapers on hand is also a good idea – they are ideal for cleaning up all sorts of messes and also for placing the baby under while you change him or her. For disposing the diapers, a sealable bin is a good idea.
A changing table is also pretty essential, or at least a surface that is chest height with a change mat on. This will save your back from having to continuously bend over to change the baby – your body has gone through enough lately, there is no need to put it through further stress.
Clothes and cloths
Make sure that your baby’s outfits for those first few weeks and months are easy to put on and take off, such as singlets and onesies. Domes are a good option – don’t go for buttons in these first months as they are way too fiddly. Also, make sure you have enough socks, not just to put on their feet but also on their hands – babies have the sharpest little nails when they are born and can really scratch themselves a lot! Or, you can also buy sleep suits with mitts that also protect your baby from their nails.
If you are breastfeeding, make sure you have several breastfeeding bras as you might be what is known as a ‘leaker’. But, this is impossible to know ahead of time!
As well as baby clothes, cloths are essential items now that you have a baby in the house, with all their associated additional fluids. Make sure you have plenty of them. If you want to be ecofriendly, you could cut them up from old flannel sheets; otherwise, you will be able to buy them from shops. Wet wipes are also pretty essential to have on hand in those early months. A stretchy cotton swaddling cloth is also a pretty handy item to have on hand.
- Nipple cream
- Large sanitary pads for several days after the birth
- Nappy cream and also cream for diaper rash
- Some good lullabye recordings
- Slumber buddy/fairy lights for the nursery so baby has something to fixate on in those early months