Whether you’re first-time parents or have been around the block a few times, bringing a newborn home for the first time will be an exhilarating moment. While it’s important to celebrate the arrival of a new addition to your family, it’s equally important to ensure you are prepared and that your home is well-equipped to care for your baby. Nine months may seem like more than enough time to prepare, but if you find yourself 8 months in still scrambling to baby-proof your home, you’re not alone. Follow along as we break down the ways you can best prepare your home environment for the arrival of a new baby.
Take Care of Supplies Beforehand
It’s no secret that newborns require a seemingly-endless supply of care products. The last thing you need is to be running to the store when you should be at home getting your baby acclimated to their new environment. While you don’t need to get everything at once, it’s essential that you plan ahead and stockpile the most immediate care items for the first couple of days home from the hospital.
The most common necessities for newborns revolve around diapering, feeding, bathing and linens. If you’ve had a baby shower or registry, hopefully, many of these items have been taken care of for you. If not, a great place to start is with products like diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, bibs, bathing items, blankets and baby clothes. These items will be needed right away and should be considered most essential for the early stages of life at home with your newborn.
While making these purchases, it’s important to consider the types of materials and ingredients of the products to avoid those made with potentially harmful chemicals or non-sustainable methods. Consider products with organically-sourced materials or those that are eco-friendly to ensure that you’re not putting your baby at risk from exposure to toxic materials. Organically-sourced baby products help ensure that your child will grow as naturally as possible without sacrificing style or comfort.
Baby-Proof Your Common Areas
In preparation for a newborn, creating a safe environment conducive to healthy growth is just as important as the previously-mentioned care products. Baby-proofing your home is a necessary precaution for the early stages of your child’s life. It’s best to take action ahead of time rather than after you bring your baby home and find yourself busy with a million other tasks. Some of the most common safety installments for a new baby include:
- Corner guards and bumpers for sharp edges
- Cabinet locks
- Toilet seat locks
- Gates for staircases
- Outlet covers
While a majority of your baby’s early days are likely to be supervised, making these installments to your home will provide you with peace of mind and be of significant use down the road as your child matures and begins roaming around the house. The last thing you want is to have your two year old walking around just for you to realize you never bought a baby gate.
Plan Out The Nursery
When planning your nursery, a good place to start is the crib. Cribs are significant expenses and with an endless supply of options, you’ll want to choose one that meets your child’s needs but doesn’t break the bank. Things to look for when choosing the perfect crib are:
- Less than 2 ⅜ inches of space between bars (no more than a soda can)
- A firm mattress
- Solid head and footboards
- No sharp corners or cutouts
- Flame-retardant fabrics
- No drop rails
Once you’ve chosen your crib, it should be placed away from windows, heat sources, dangling blinds or any other potential hazards. Given that your baby is unlikely to have opinions on the decor of the nursery, choose something that suits the room but also appeals to you.
As you begin to plan out the nursery, think critically about how this room will work for your baby as they age. Nurseries tend to be placed in smaller under-utilized rooms. In the beginning this is fine, but over time, you will need to make necessary renovations to the room to account for your growing child. You can save yourself time and money down the road if you decide to fully renovate the room now.
There is just one last step to take before getting started. Not just for this project, but for any home improvement project, make sure that you budget accordingly and financially prepare for anything that could come your way. Some families may be able to finance the nursery renovation on their own, while others may need to tap into something like an outside loan. There are pros and cons to each decision you make. Financing the renovations on your own will allow you to complete the project with no strings attached, but tight finances may cause you to cut-corners in some areas. A loan will come with more payback terms, but the flexibility upfront will allow you to create the room of your dreams.
Whatever the case may be, planning out how the nursery will look now, and evolve over time will be a crucial step to ensuring that your baby’s first night home is just one of the many great nights to come.
Regardless if you’re new to parenting or a seasoned veteran, there’s no foolproof solution to raising a baby. You’ll likely encounter many sleepless nights and have to make decisions on the fly about how to best care for your newborn. The best thing you can do is concern yourself with the things that you can control and make as many preparations as possible ahead of time, providing both your child and family with the best environment for healthy, natural growth.