Almost all pregnant women go through a nesting stage. Typical nesting, or urges to prepare your home for baby, can range from organizing and re-organizing all your baby shower gifts to scrubbing the baseboards until they sparkle. Along with all the basic organizing and cleaning, the week my son was born I got the nesting urge to rearrange the linen closet and hire someone to put on a drive way extension. What can I say, everyone’s nesting is different. But believe me, once your child arrives all the hard work preparing and waiting is worth it.
I am a first time mom to an adorable 3 month old boy. You defiantly learn as you go when you are a first time parent and I took notes along the way to help prepare for when my husband and I have children in the future. Preparation and organization is key to keeping you relaxed and sane in an environment that is completely new and unfamiliar. After we brought our son home, my husband and I spent the first two days setting up stations around the house for me and the baby as we figured out what we needed. It is hard to take care of such a fragile little baby when you yourself are feeling very fragile, both emotionally and physically. And these stations really helped and allowed me to care for my son the way I wanted to; with a little help from the family of course.
The Bathroom Stations – I ended up setting up two bathroom stations; one on the first floor where I spent most of my time and one in our master bathroom. The bathroom on the first floor ended up being very important. Your muscles will still be very weak after giving birth and holding it in is somewhat of a challenge. There is no way, during that first week or so I was home, that I would have been able to make it all the way upstairs to get to the bathroom once I realized I had to go. Plus walking and climbing the stairs was not exactly comfortable either. Here is a list of important items that I had in both my bathroom stations. I keep them in drawstring bags right next to the toilet.
• Squirt bottle (NOT Spray bottle) – The hospital will have one of these for you in your room or you can find them in the cosmetic or travel toiletry isle in Target. Make sure to take the bottle from the hospital home with you when you leave. You are not able to use toilet paper after giving birth; this squirt bottle is what you use to clean yourself. Remember to fill it up with warm water before you sit down.
• Dermoplast – This is numbing spray you can pick up at any drug store and the hospital should have some for you as well. This goes on after you squirt the area clean.
• Sanitary Pads – The pads the hospital gives you are huge and work great but once you run out of the once you bring home from the hospital and your bleeding starts to decrease you can switch to any regular overnight pad. Everyone is different. I bought three different small packs to figure out which ones I like. I liked the longer think ones during the day and the thicker ones at night. You will be changing these every time you use the bathroom so make sure you always have them on hand.
• Underwear – Yes, you will need extra underwear at your bathroom stations. As crazy as it sounds, I loved the disposable underwear that they gave me at the hospital. I asked the nurse if I could take some extra home and she got me a bag of extra ice packs, pads, and disposable underwear. But cheep granny panties will do the job just fine. With vaginal births, sometimes the pads are just not enough and the last thing you want to do, especially if you have company visiting the baby, is sneak out of the bathroom to get a new pair.
The Changing Stations – You should have a changing station on each floor of the house. Your darling son or daughter will go to the bathroom frequently and running up and down the stairs every time they need changed is very tiring. Stairs are very uncomfortable post-pregnancy, so you will find that if the only changing station is upstairs you will be relying on daddy and guest to help out in this area. The help is nice, however, the protective motherly instinct is in overdrive at this point and there may be a few helping hands that you would prefer not go up and down stairs with your new precious little baby. My husband and I bought a second changing table at a second hand store and set it up in our dining room. This was a life saver. I didn’t have to do stairs to change my baby’s diapers and helping family members had no need to carry my son up and down stairs. You don’t have to go to the extreme of buying a second changing table, even reserving a drawer in the kitchen or family room for changing supplies would work. Here is a list of items to have at each changing station.
• Diapers and wipes – Just stating the obvious
• Cloth diapers – These have several uses. You can lay them on the changing pad cover or carpet to keep it clean while changing. These work great as pee blockers and are easier to use than trying to hold an extra diaper with one hand while wiping with the other. Cloth diapers also make the best burp clothes and should always be at an arms reach.
• Hand Sanitizer – You should always wash your hands after changing and before handling your baby.
• Change of clothes – Important to have close by for those messy spit ups or diaper blow outs so you don’t have to go upstairs every time it happens.
• Vaseline or petroleum jelly – While your baby is passing meconium, sticky gooey poop, putting Vaseline or petroleum jelly on their bottoms will prevent it from sticking to their delicate skin so it is easier to wipe off. You will also need this if you have a boy to put on his circumcision wound.
• Extras – You may find it handy to have a few of these items at your most frequently used changing station. At my changing station on the first floor I also keep diaper rash ointment, a nasal aspirator and a thermometer.
Feeding / Mommy Stations – These are very important. You are physically and mentally exhausted when you first bring baby home. I had one of these stations set up in the master bedroom and a second station set up in our main family room. Rest and comfort is the most important thing for a new mother to have, here are a few tips and items I had at my feeding / mommy stations that really helped me through those first few weeks.
• Reserved seating – Whether you plan on breastfeeding your baby or not, you need a comfortable place to sit. Test out several seats in your home to determine which you feel the most comfortable in and claim that spot as your mommy seat. The first day I brought home my son, I took him up to his beautifully decorated nursery and sat in my comfortable glider to feed him. After only a few minuets I realized I didn’t want to be alone upstairs. Breastfeeding is a learning process for mommy and baby and when you are having a little difficulty moral support can make a huge difference. I thought I would like having the escape of the nursery for some alone time to feed the baby; but what I wanted was the opposite. My emotions were running high and all I wanted was to be in the same room as my husband and around my mom and family members that came to help out. When I decided to carry the baby back down stairs to feed him, I realized two things. First, stairs were not fun, my legs still felt weak when I walked and taking big steps was painful. Second, when I walked into the room there was nowhere for me to sit. Everyone was sitting in the family watching TV. I told my husband that I wanted to be downstairs with everyone else. Next thing I knew, the whole family room was being rearranged to accommodate my glider from the nursery. I felt so much more comfortable having the glider downstairs, it is where I spend almost the whole day and now I always had a comfortable place to sit. We tried a couple other seats upstairs in the master bedroom for the night time feedings, but what I found the most comfortable was to sit on the edge of the bed or on a foot stool leaning against the bed.
• Cover – Now that I was breast feeding my baby in the main living room of the house, I needed some sort of privacy. When feeding your baby, if you have on a nursing top, once your baby is latched there really isn’t anything to see. I used a receiving blanket to cover any skin showing on my chest and then as the baby unlatched pulled the blanket down to cover the breast until I got my shirt re-situated. I eventually got a real cover that worked nicely.
• Travel Mug – This should be next to you filled and refilled with water all day. Breast feeding can make you extremely dehydrated and constantly thirsty so it is important to keep drinking water. I suggest a travel mug because when you are holding the baby in one hand and a glass in the other, you don’t want to risk spilling or dripping on the baby. Babies make sudden startle movements which in turn can startle a new parent who is still learning to hold and maneuver their baby and cause the drink to go flying. I loved the water bottle they gave me at the hospital. Make sure you take yours home with you. It has a lid so no water sloshes out and a straw so you don’t drip while drinking over your baby.
• Cloth diapers – Again, these are the best burp clothes. My son didn’t start spitting up until he was about 4 weeks old, but once he did I would go though about 6 of these a day. It was nice that once one got dirty I could put it in a pile by my chair and reach over to the end table to get a clean one and continue burping him. My guests also use these when they were holding him if their clothing wasn’t a smooth material. A baby’s skin is so sensitive that if they rub their face on rough fabric or even on soft fabric that has lots of perfume sprayed on it or has been washed in a strong detergent, it can cause irritation. So placing a cloth diaper between the baby’s skin and clothing helps.
• Hand sanitizer – I liked having the hand sanitizer out and visible so guest knew to use it before holding the baby and I could use it before feeding him. Of course washing your hands is the best way to keep them clean but once you are comfortable and pain free in your chair there are times when hand sanitizer will work just fine.
• Neck pillow – This is something I wish I would have been using from the beginning. As a new parent you will think that your baby is the most adorable thing you have ever seen and you will want to stare at them all day. Well when your head is constantly cocked in the unnatural, sideways facing down position, it can really cause sore muscles; and the last thing you want is for another baby part to start hurting. I now use a neck pillow when I am feeding him and when I am relaxing with him and it is very helpful.
• Breast feeding pillow – Whether you are going to use a breast feeding pillow or a regular pillow to help position your baby when feeding, make sure it is stored next to your feeding station.
• Pad of paper and pencil – Although your new born will not be on a set schedule yet, they are slowly developing one. It helps to right down all the feeding time to make sure they are eating enough times throughout the day and night, and so you can compare days and start to see a pattern develop. It also helps you keep track of your medication and prenatal vitamins to make sure you are taking the right amount at the right times. Your baby will do so many cute things and the pad of paper is a great way to jot down those memories or possibly write a letter to your child that can be added to their baby book.
• Heating pad – This worked wonders on my sore back. You use so many different muscles that you are not used to using when carrying, holding and feeding your new baby. Adding a little heat and stretching when you can helps keeps the muscles from cramping up. I also use this heating pad to help with the let down of my breast milk and when I have a clogged milk duck. Clogged milk ducks can be very uncomfortable and feel like a rock under your skin. Using a heating pad on the area along with firm massage just before feeding my son, helped get rid of the clog.
• Tissues – This is for mommy, especially for the first few days. With your hormones all out of whack, you will cry, a lot. Most of the time it will be for no reason, other times the slightest thing could set you off. I cried for about an hour straight one morning just because I felt so much love for my son. Another day I cried my eyes out because someone was rude to my husband on the phone; it didn’t bother him but man did it upset me. Most of the time I was laughing while I was crying because I knew I was crying over nothing but I just couldn’t stop.
• Table – I know this is pretty obvious, but important. When you are seated and feeding your baby and have to reach for something on the ground, it is a lot harder than it seems. Plus it helps keep things more organized than just having everything on the floor next to your seat. This is also a great place for food so you can eat while holding the baby. You will learn to eat with one hand pretty quickly.
• Food – I suggesting keeping a box of your favorite breakfast bars at your feeding stations. Breastfeeding gets rid of a lot of calories and nutrients in the mother’s baby. I felt hungry almost all day but especially during the middle of the night feedings. For some reason feeding my son while I had an empty stomach made me nauseous. Having a breakfast bar on the night stand that I could have as a snack in the middle of night really helped.
• Reading Material – You will have tons of questions and may find it helpful to keep the magazines and handouts from the doctors next to your seat so you can quickly and easily look up answers as you need them.