Written by: Amy Sloane
Parents of small children are endlessly busy and may feel that they’re drowning in stuff. It can also be easy to get overloaded with plastic toys that get played with only once or twice before they go in the trash. Take great care with the toys that come into the house to avoid feeling buried.
Stick with Soft Stuff
When you know you’re expecting, carefully review your home for sharp edges. If your coffee table has a glass top and iron legs, it may need to go into storage. Invest in a big storage ottoman with a tray on it for beverages. Carefully review other areas of your house for bumping hazards.
Check the Temperature
Now is the time to study airflow in your home. Can you close the door to the room you plan to use as a nursery and find it the same temperature as the rest of the house in 8 hours? If not, carefully consider how air flows around your house. If you need, swap the door on the baby’s room for one with louvers to keep air moving while you keep sound out. You will need the temperature to stay between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start Snapping Photos
As your due date gets closer, get your camera out. Get in the habit of snapping a photo of where you left the car when you get to the mall, the parking garage, or the big box store.
Don’t rely on memory! You may think you’ve got everything taken care of and will surely get back to the car with everyone you came to the store with, but losing the car and dragging a baby carrier around the garage will get old, fast.
When Baby Arrives
Go as minimal as possible when the baby arrives. Check out a Finnish baby box for the first six months of your baby’s life. Let them sleep in a protected, cocooned space that can be easily managed or carried around.
In addition to avoiding the dangers of co-sleeping, you will have an extra 5 to 6 months of time to set up your nursery furniture, figure out what you actually need, and lay things out in a pattern that works for you. Your nursery does not need to be picture perfect. It needs to be exactly what works for your family. If your spouse is tall and you’re not, you may need two changing table surfaces to protect the spine of the designated changer. Everything needs to fit your family, so stay flexible and use a baby box until you have a routine.
Sleep When Possible
You’re not going to get to sleep for 8 hours a night. If at all possible, plan for at least 6 weeks of pajama-living as often as possible. When the baby is up, you are up. When the baby is sleeping, you sleep. You’ll have plenty of bonding time, stay as rested as possible and be able to focus. Put up blackout curtains in everyone’s room and sleep well.
Practice Getting Into the World
Once baby is up and about, you might realize they’re walking and you haven’t taken them to a restaurant because of COVID-19. You’ll easily find videos of how a restaurant works, but you’ll also want a good table and chairs for kids so they can practice sitting at the table for extended periods of time.
Once they have a table, you can also practice setting the table. Place forks and knives on the correct side. Practice folding napkins and putting them on your laps. All of these skills will be necessary again, so prepare your child for these events at their own little table.
Your table can easily go from dining to school space. Again, COVID has changed how school works. Kids are naturally tactile, so you’ll probably need to work on handwashing, hand sanitizing, what to touch, and when not to touch. This virus is here now, and there’s always the possibility of mutation. To avoid the risks of infection, make sure that your little ones have strong sanitizing habits in place before they head for preschool or daycare.
Your new baby will completely change everything. Well-meaning folks, from grandparents to great-aunts and uncles, may also attempt to make changes you’re not sure about. Be patient, but firm. Work out what works best for you and yours. The rest of the family will follow in time.