Having a new baby is always an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. That's especially true when it's your first baby and you have almost nothing ready for him or her, and the pressure gets worse when you think about how often babies arrive a little early.
When you're in that situation, the best way to handle it is to break things down into groups so that you can prioritize things and work through the entire to-do list in a slightly more manageable way. Once you've set up a plan for it, things will go much more smoothly.
Start off with the things your baby will need the day you walk in from the hospital. Feeding will come first, of course, so put that at the top of the list of immediate needs. If nursing, check about pumps. If you're going with formula, be sure to have baby's preferred type on hand.
After feeding, comes a bed. Many families start their newborns in a bassinet, but others choose to go straight to a crib. This can be a better option because it eliminates the difficulty of a transition. If you go with the crib right off, shop for a safe, quality crib mattress to generate peaceful slumber. Finally, think of bathing and dressing so that your little one is always clean and ready for company.
The Weeks Ahead
After things settle down, you'll have some other things to do. That's when you should start thinking about some age-appropriate toys. You probably received some wonderful baby toys as gifts, so after a couple of weeks, start to unpack and assemble them. See what kind of batteries are required, and get a good stockpile of them.
You'll also want to start thinking about getting some adult time. Think about who could keep the baby while mommy and daddy run out for a quick dinner or just a change of scenery. Make sure you choose someone who knows your baby's routines and, ideally, is trained in infant CPR.
A New Routine
Perhaps the biggest change in life for first-time parents is the total overhaul of routines. Everything from sleep schedules to movie night is subject to the baby's approval, so you need to think early on about how you'll adapt.
For example, you may be in the habit of saving some time by throwing in a load of laundry when you get up in the morning, but the racket may disrupt your baby's rest. Think about other chores you might be able to knock out in that time, such as starting the (much quieter) dishwasher or even doing a little quick cleaning.
Build your schedule in a way that you can be as efficient with your activities as ever, but just in a different way. The ability to do that will enable you to enjoy your time with your baby instead of worrying about how everything will get done when snuggle time runs too long.
An expectant family's days are incredibly busy with all the preparation for the new arrival. It can be very easy to get sidetracked on less pressing items while the priority steps fall by the wayside, so a successful preparation process requires that you determine what must be done right away and what can wait. If you successfully build that strategy, you'll find less headache and more enjoyment associated with your new arrival.