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KRISTEN WALKER

Awesome mom and wife and passionate about random things in life (yes I just rhymed :)

The Reality of Bringing Home Baby

June 12, 2016

Like most new moms, I had reveled in and enjoyed every moment of setting up our little one’s nursery. My husband and I had gone with nautical/whale-themed decor given my son’s name (Jonah). I went crazy at Homegoods and pretty much bought their full inventory of everything with either a whale on it, a ship or an anchor. The nursery of course was fixed with all the staples as well – a crib, plush rocking chair and changing station. It was shall I say, Pinterest-perfect! … Until we actually brought our baby home from the hospital. 

I’m not sure why no one mentioned to tell me in my pre-natal childbirth prep classes that I would pretty much chuck all my well-laid planning and decor out the window when I brought my baby home. You see, over the course of the 48+ hours that we were in the hospital, my husband and I learned how to take care of our little one in the … HOSPITAL. That nice, warm place with lots of angel-like helpers there at my beck and call; the perfectly squared swaddles; ice and water constantly at my side like magic; someone to help me learn the ropes of breastfeeding; the sense of security knowing that medically trained staff were just around the corner; everything within arms reach like my breast pump, bassinet, feeding chart, food, bathroom (and someone to actually HELP me go to the bathroom), and my husband (it’s shocking how hard it is to find my husband in our house when I need something ASAP).

My point is – my home was set up nothing like the convenient hospital room. So when we brought our son home that first night, we demolished that Pinterest-perfect nursery, and a shell of what once was still remains 4 months later.

To help you avoid the same fate of getting home and thinking “Crap! Nothing is where I need it to be!”, here are my top 10 tips for preparing your home for baby; the “let’s get real” version:

1. Build the crib in your bedroom, not the nursery.

  • Why? Because if you need to move the crib into your bedroom, you won’t be able to fit it through the door. Yes, that happened to us and my husband (bless him) had to tear the crib down and rebuild it in our bedroom because, duh, our baby ended up sleeping in our bedroom, as I am sure most new babies sleep in their parents room those first few weeks, if not more. If you don’t have room for the crib in your room, you can always set up a pack n’ play for your little one to sleep in as an alternative.

2. While you’re at it, put the changing station and the rocking chair in your bedroom as well (if they can fit).

  • You may be thinking, “what’s the point of creating a nursery if everything is going to go into my bedroom?” And well, there is no point in building a nursery right away. That’s one of the points of this post. ☺ A new baby needs to eat every 2 hours around the clock, and some like to nurse even more than that. And then, as soon as they eat, they poop. Who wants to trek it to a separate room – especially at 12am, 2am, and 4am – for every feeding and diaper change? Not me! 

3. If you can swing it, buy one of those mini fridges for your bedroom. 

  • Now you may be starting to think that I sound lazy, but let me tell you, one of the most important things after giving birth and especially if you’re breastfeeding, is to stay hydrated and well-fed. I actually ended up at the doctor’s two days after I gave birth because of hypoglycemia. I was eating at all the “normal” times that I was used to – breakfast, lunch, dinner. It never occurred to me that in order to keep up the energy that my body was expelling I needed to eat around the clock, just like my baby. So, eat (and drink water) when baby eats. And it will make your life a whole heck of a lot easier if you had a little fridge in your room stocked with water and foods that you can easily eat with one hand (because the other will be helping with breastfeeding), like granola bars, string cheese, deli meats, apples, bananas, yogurts, etc. I actually didn’t get a mini fridge, but looking back, I wish I had (heck, I might even still do it).

4. Create a “I just gave birth and my hoo-ha is in recovery” basket for the toilet room.

  • I’m not going to get into the details, but if you deliver vaginally, just do yourself a favor and load up a basket with big pads (I made these cool “Padsicles”), tucks pads, those mesh underwear (just steal a handful from the hospital) and peri bottle. And set that pretty basket by the toilet. You’re welcome.

5. Have a trash can, in addition to the diaper pail, next to the changing station.

  • For things like those small packets of Vaseline for the pee-pee area (if you have a boy), rubbing alcohol for the chord stump, and napkins that you use to wipe up random-acts-of-pee, etc. It’s not a big thing, but I remember this was one of those first things we were like “wait, we need a trash can in here too.”

6. Save up some money to buy a bunch of stuff in those first few weeks.

  • You may be thinking, “but I got everything we needed from our registry.” However, as nice as all that stuff is and of course you will use it all, it just ain’t gonna cut it. For example, by the end of week 1, I think my baby won the Guinness World Book of Records for owner of the most beds. He had 1, 2, 3… 6. Yes, SIX items of which he legitimately called “bed.” The first night we brought our baby home, he slept in his pack n’ play. But I didn’t like him being so far away because then I couldn’t sleep because I was so worried about him. So then we went out and bought one of those co-sleepers to go between my husband and I. But then after a few nights, he fussed in that, so then we tried having him sleep in his swing, and voila! He loves motion! But then I kept reading about how you shouldn’t let your baby sleep in the swing (which I have since thrown that advice out the window because his swing is the only place he will take naps if not in his car seat while driving). But when I first read that, we then went out and bought a rock n play, and then … well, you get where I’m going. So set aside some money for those inevitable purchases of things you didn’t think of (other items to consider: more than 2 crib sheets because they do get peed on; diapers, diapers, and more diapers, and swaddles (see #9 below as swaddles warrant their own number on this list).

7. Put a 5 or 10w bulb in your bedside lamp.

  • You want your room to be as dark as possible at night for baby to sleep so that they start learning day versus night. However, lets get real, I learned fast that me fumbling around in the dark trying to make my nipple find my baby’s mouth was a bit like swinging at a piñata while blind. At some point I would have hit jackpot, but I’m not much up for games at 4 in the morning. Installing a low wattage bulb into your bedside lamp will give you just enough light to safely feed baby, keep baby in that sleepy state, and maintain your sanity.

8. Download a nursing and diaper change app as well as a white noise app.

  • When I first delivered, the hospital gave me a booklet to write down the times of every feeding and diaper change, but that soon lost its convenience when I was nursing in quasi-darkness. There are a ton of apps out there to track feeding times, diaper changes, nap lengths, etc. The one I use is BabyNursing. Most all babies love white noise too, as it mimics the noisiness of the womb. You could spend money and purchase a white noise machine but then 1) why would you do that when there are free white noise apps? and 2) you’re going to also want white noise on the go for when you’re in the car or strolling your little one around during nap time. I use an app simply called White Noise on my cell phone and iPad (for when he’s sleeping at home) and then if I ever need to stick my phone close to my baby (like in his stroller), I just put it on airplane mode to avoid any electromagnetic waves being around him (and yes, things like cell phones or other handheld electronic devices do emit radiation – just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and I’d rather err on the side of caution).

9. Buy a few different styles of swaddles. 

  • I swear the swaddles that they have in the hospital are better than any other swaddle blanket I’ve found on store shelves (and unfortunately you cannot buy the ones used in hospitals; at least not that I could find). What makes them so special? They are a perfect square. The ones on store shelves however are rectangular and don’t make for a snug swaddle. The only ones that have come closest are the Aden & Anais muslin swaddles, however I will say that there is a LOT of blanket to baby and I used to wake up many times worried that the swaddle would come undone and cover my baby’s face. So then we tried the Miracle Blanket, which worked pretty good for a few weeks, but then I started freaking out again because even that looked like it could come undone sometimes. So then we tried the Halo SleepSack Swaddle with the zip up bodysuit with the large Velcro wrap, but for some weird reason I will never figure out, he didn’t like those (maybe it’s because the Velcro wrap makes a huge noise when undoing it, which is not so cool when you’re trying to keep baby asleep). So then we tried the Swaddle Me with the smaller Velcro tabs and I actually found that to be my (and my son’s) most favorite swaddle. I never had to worry about it coming undone, and I could easily leave one or both arms out if he got fidgety and didn’t want to be all swaddled up. Plus the fabric felt a little more breathable/cooler and had more stretch to it than the Halo SleepSack. So there ya go. It only took us 4 tries but we found our swaddle, at least for now…

10. Forget about making and freezing a bunch of food. 

  • As I was planning for the little guy to arrive, I was researching on Pinterest all of those freezer meals that you can make to stock up for those loooooong postpartum days. But who really wants to stand on their feet for hours cooking at 9 months pregnant?!? I tried to do it one day and about collapsed belly first onto my kitchen floor. Just go buy a bunch of those large freezer meals from Costco, like a pasta dish, lasagnas, pizzas, veggie pouches that you can easily heat up, etc. And while you’re at it, create a snack station in your kitchen. I don’t often say this, but my husband can be a genius sometimes. ☺ He created the mother of all snack stations on our kitchen island fit with crackers, fruit, breads, and other items I will probably never know of because he ate them. But that snack station was amazing because it made grabbing something to shove into our mouths between baby feeding times, diaper changes and nap times all the more easier.

If you’re getting ready to bring a beautiful little one into the world, I hope these tips help you have a smooth transition home with your new bundle of love! ☺