Are you welcoming a new little one in your life this year? I bet you’ve already been dreaming about the nursery, what stroller you’re going to get, and all those adorable baby clothes. While the gear is definitely important, as a new parent you don’t want to forget about all the other things you need to do to prep for a new baby before your baby arrives. The good news is – from budget planning to childcare, I’ve got you covered.
If you want to ensure you move beyond the nursery and get your life in order before baby arrives, you’re in the right place. In this post, I’m going to talk about the baby prep checklist and everything you need to do to prep your entire life for a new baby. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
This post probably contains affiliate links. That means if you buy something using one of my links I may receive a small commission – at no additional cost to you! How cool is that? It’s kind of boring, but feel free to read my full disclosure if you want more info
Complete your baby registry
First things first, you will want to register and get all that gear. If you haven’t already seen them, check out my baby registry guides. I broke them into three separate posts so they’re more digestible. Since I’m sure you’re already excited about this, and it isn’t the focus of what we’re talking about today, I’m just going to leave these links for your viewing pleasure.
Set up your systems for the newborn baby
This might sound silly to do before your baby gets here, but setting up and prepping in advance will help you TONS when you’re in the sleep-deprived newborn phase. Set up any additional files or updated systems you’ll need in your house once you’ve added a new baby.
Daycare billing folder? – Check
New baby medical bill file folder? – Yep, you’ll probably want that too.
Decide on what keepsakes you’ll want. If it’s a lock of hair, footprints, etc. it’s good to think about and plan for now so you don’t forget when the time comes. If you want extra footprints at the hospital, just bring in some extra paper and they will take them for you right after delivery.
*MOM TIP: We brought pretty card stock for our first daughter’s footprints and the ink didn’t adhere. Bring plain paper or do an ink check on the paper you’re planning to bring. They made some extra copies for us, but it was on the back of some random information sheets. Not ideal.
Getting everything ready will make the newborn haze much easier to handle.
Decide on and plan for childcare
There are so many ways to make childcare work, and it’s important to have a plan in place sooner rather than later. For reference, one of the daycare centers in our area had a waitlist that was nine months long. Yes, that basically meant you needed to register your child before you even knew you were pregnant!
Some of the more traditional childcare routes are using a nanny or daycare, but to make childcare more affordable you can think about working alternate shifts with your significant other or checking to see if a family member can help out.
No matter what you decide, it’s good to make a plan early in case something falls through. You absolutely don’t want to be scrambling the week before you’re scheduled to return to work looking for someone to take care of your new baby.
Don’t forget to download the childcare interview checklist before you meet with your potential caregiver. You can get it from our resource library, and if you don’t already have access, get it by entering your email below!
Prep for a new baby by starting the diaper stock up
Diapers are just damn expensive. It’s a fact. However, you don’t have to succumb to paying $0.35 cents or more per diaper if you do a little advanced planning. With our first daughter, I rarely paid more than $0.19 cents per diaper because I only bought when they were on sale. I have an entire post on how to do it, so if you want all the details, click below.
Related: Diaper Deals and how to stock up
I’m updating my Diaper stockpiling plan for 2020 since I’ve found diapers to be a little more expensive this time around. I’m not sure the $0.13-0.16 cent target is really realistic anymore.
That said, I did save about $85 off diapers when I did a stock up week at multiple stores around Black Friday. I bought Huggies and Pampers and didn’t spend more than $0.20 cents. Even with prices that were higher when I was buying in 2016/2017.
Check each week on Krazy Coupon Lady and your local store’s flyers for the best deals, and begin stocking diapers in your second trimester. You’ll need a LOT of storage space, but by the time the baby comes, you shouldn’t be stuck paying the highest price for diapers. Even if you want the name brands.
Plan for Maternity Leave
I can’t even really talk about my disdain for the lack of parental leave in the U.S. but that’s a topic for another time. If you’re interested, you can read about it below. That said – we have what we have and have to make it work.
If you work for a company with over 50 employees, your boss is obligated to hold your job under FMLA. However, this only covers the 12 weeks after the baby comes. You might even get lucky and your insurance will cover part of this leave with short term disability.
For me, I got six weeks covered with my first daughter and would have had eight weeks with a c-section. They’ve since changed the policy. My company now pays for an additional six weeks, which means we get 12-14 weeks paid pending delivery.
This is amazing. And still horrifically behind many other developed countries. But I digress. Whatever your plans are, you should think about and discuss them with your employer BEFORE you go on leave.
Related: How to afford a long maternity leave
The last thing you want to be stressing about while you’re OOO is whether or not you’ll have a job to come back to if you decide to take an additional two weeks off work. Whether you decide to take two weeks or two years, you should have a plan in place before you’re out. An important factor in this decision is likely finances, which you shouldn’t leave to chance. I have a full post on how to financially plan for baby.
Get your forms in order
There are a lot of forms you won’t be able to fully complete until after your baby is born. However, most of the FMLA forms you can complete beforehand. You can get most of the others filled out, and just not signed.
You can and should get these forms by emailing your HR department in advance.
That said, the first days and weeks with a baby are hazy at best. Completing everything you can in advance is invaluable. Label the forms, and put stickers where you need doctor’s signatures. This way they’re foolproof when you go in for those early check-ups.
Set reminders on your phone a few weeks before your due date to ensure you submit your forms on time. Our insurance only gave us 30 days to enroll a new baby. Once you see those hospital bills AND go to all the doctor visits the first year you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss that deadline.
Prep for a new baby by ensuring the nursery is complete and creating your baby prep checklist
You can’t forget the obvious, to prep your nursery and complete the general tasks of preparing for a new baby. The good news is, I created a baby prep checklist — and you guessed it, it’s available in the resource library.
Enter your email below to have the baby prep checklist emailed directly to your inbox!
Every family will have a few tasks on this list that are slightly different – and the full checklist is MUCH longer. I definitely recommend downloading it so you can mark off when you’ve completed each item. However, here are a few of the key items you won’t want to forget. Each of these has its own section with sub-items on the full checklist.
- Transition any older children into new rooms with plenty of time before the baby arrives to minimize disruption
- Set up new baby with a pediatrician
- Install car seat(s) AND get them checked at a fire station
- Print and find FMLA / Baby Insurance forms from your HR department
- Buy anything off your registry that you didn’t get at your shower
- Prep baby’s nursery
- Pack hospital bags – one for labor and one for the hospital stay
Finally, mentally prep yourself for the new baby
There is only so much you can do to prepare for a new baby, but do some research on what happens to your body postpartum.
Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Anxiety are real conditions that can happen to people who haven’t ever had any history of mental illness. If you have had a history of mental illness, you’re even more prone to these conditions.
Know what you should be watching for, what’s normal, and when you should get help. Postpartum issues are entirely treatable so don’t suffer in silence. Bonding with your new baby should be a wonderful (although exhausting) experience. Don’t wait to get help if you need it.
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