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Seven must-dos to get your life ready for a new baby

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Pre-baby must-dos: the critical steps you need to complete to get your life ready for a new baby

Are you welcoming a new little one in your life soon? 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 prepare for a new baby before your baby arrives. The good news is – from budget planning to childcare, I’ve got you covered.  Keep reading to find out the seven must-dos to get your life ready for a baby. {Plus one bonus tip!}

If you want to ensure you move beyond setting up 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 to ensure you’re prepared with all the baby essentials

First things first, you will want to register and get all that gear. Even though it isn’t the ONLY thing you need to do, it is one of the important ones. I have multiple baby registry guides to make them easier to digest. I know you’re already excited about this, so feel free to dive right in, but don’t forget to come back and find out the other critical steps to prepare.

Nursery Registry Guide

On the Go Registry Guide

Around the House Registry Guide

Do you just want one complete list of everything you need? Check out my post specifically on all the newborn essentials you’ll need the first year.

Related: Newborn Baby Essentials Checklist (Plus Printable Download)

Get your house ready for a new baby by setting up your plan and systems for a newborn

This might sound silly to do before your baby gets here, but setting up files and prepping in advance will help you TONS when you’re in the sleep-deprived newborn phase.

Go ahead and set up any additional files (or computer folders) for things you’ll want to track once you’ve added a new baby in the mix. 

Daycare billing folder? – You’ll need to keep track of those receipts for tax purposes.

New baby medical file? – Yep, you’ll probably want that too.

Decide on what keepsakes you’ll want to capture when your baby is a newborn

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.

Deciding what you want to capture BEFORE the baby is born will ensure that you don’t forget anything important in the newborn haze.

You won’t be fully prepared for a baby until you 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 almost as soon as you found out 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. 

Related: How to decide which childcare option is best for your family

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. Have it sent directly to your inbox by entering your email in the box below.

Start the diaper stockpile early so that you’re prepared before baby arrives

Diapers are just damn expensive. It’s a fact. However, you don’t have to succumb to paying $0.35 cents or more per brand-name diaper if you do a little advanced planning. With our first daughter, I rarely paid more than $0.19 cents per diaper (for Huggies or Pampers) because I only bought them when they were on sale. I have an entire post on how to do it, so if you want all the details, check it out.

Related: Diaper Deals and how to stock up

I updated my Diaper stockpiling plan with our second daughter 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 realistic anymore.

That said, I did save about $85 off diapers when I did a stock-up at multiple stores the week of 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. The point is – the deals are still out there, but you’ll have to work a little harder for them. And don’t miss out on any of the big baby sales that discount diapers as well.

Check each week on Krazy Coupon Lady and your local store’s flyers for the best deals, and begin stocking diapers early 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. 

{Mom Hack: Store the jumbo packs of diapers under the crib, under the dresser, and even under your bed or the sofa. There is a lot of untapped diaper storage space for these smaller packs.}

Plan for your baby’s immediate care by finalizing your maternity leave

I’m not going to get into my disdain for the lack of federally mandated paid parental leave in the U.S. because that’s a topic for another time. If you’re interested, you can read my thoughts below. That said – we have what we have and have to make it work. So let’s keep going…

Related: An open rant on maternity leave in the U.S.

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, and isn’t paid. You might get lucky and your insurance will cover part of this leave with short-term disability. 

I got six weeks covered with my first daughter and would have had eight weeks with a c-section. They’ve since changed the maternity policy. My company now pays for an additional six weeks, which means we get 12-14 weeks paid pending the type of delivery. A HUGE upgrade.

This is amazing in comparison to other companies in the U.S. And still horrifically behind many other developed countries. But I digress. Whatever your plans are, you should think about them 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 on maternity leave 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. 

Pre-baby must-do: 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.

There will be forms for child bonding (FMLA) that your pediatrician needs to sign, and forms for your recovery (FMLA) that your OB needs to sign. You’ll also have a form to add your baby to your insurance, that needs to be filed within thirty days of the birth.

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. 

Complete final preparations 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 with ALL the pre-baby to-dos that are still floating around on your list.

We’ve covered seven of the most important major milestones, but there are tons of other little things to get ready to ensure you’re 110% ready for the baby to arrive.

Enter your email below to have the baby prep checklist powerpack 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 your hospital bags – minimalist style, not like you’re going to a luxury resort

Finally, mentally prep yourself for life with a newborn

There is only so much you can do to truly prepare mentally 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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Ensuring you're prepped for a new baby means more than setting up a nursery and registering. Find out the seven critical ways to prep for a new baby, including the things to do before baby arrives and a free baby prep printable checklist. Whether this is your first baby or fourth, ensure you're ready for a newborn with this printable.

Pre-baby planning: the critical steps you need to complete to get your life ready for a new baby

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