Preparing for Our New Baby

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The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

Time is marching along.  I’m 35 weeks through this pregnancy.  I’m at that stage where the newest little baby to join our family will arrive any time in the next three to seven weeks. It won’t be long now!

This is the time in pregnancy when many women begin “nesting” – putting the finishing touches on post-baby plans, doing some extra cleaning, and generally “feathering” their nests/homes in preparation for an infant.

While I’m not really the type to nest with a mop and a pail, I have been doing some “feathering” of my own around here in preparation for the arrival of a new baby.

Here are some of the things that have been going on at our house …

Preparing Siblings for the New Baby

We’ve been watching movies about new babies, reading books about new babies, and talking quite a bit about new babies and the changes that they bring to a household.

My oldest, Jillian, can remember what it was like when her younger brother and sister joined us, but Max was too young when Lucy was born to remember much and Lucy, of course, is currently the youngest child and so has no frame of reference.

We’ve been involving the kids in our “nesting” and preparations. They helped me set up diaper changing stations and organize baby clothes. Sometimes I take them with me to doctors appointments so that they can hear the baby’s heart beat.

I’ve also been trying to make sure that we have times where things around here aren’t so baby-centric. One of my concerns is that the older kids might feel lost in the shuffle.I really want each of my children to know that, no matter what changes come to the family, they are each still important and that we love them very much.

My husband Christopher and I are each making an effort, during these final weeks, to spend some one on one time with each kid.  Each parent has been having a “date”‘ with each kiddo, even just something simple like a library visit or a trip to the hardware store or just a long walk together.

I’m sure that we will still go through a time of adjustment, but I’m hopeful this will help to make that adjustment smoother.

Preparing the Household

As I mentioned, we’ve been setting up diaper changing stations (upstairs and downstairs) and I have been washing and organizing baby clothes.

We’ve also been making some other changes around the house, including:

  • setting up the crib, rearranging the bedroom
  • emphasizing the use of our family calendar so that everyone can see events coming up
  • setting up a nursing station upstairs and downstairs to help make breastfeeding easier
  • making lists for the baby sitters who will be helping us out before and after the baby is born
  • stocking up on items like toilet paper, shampoo, and laundry supplies so that we don’t have to worry about these things in the weeks after the baby is born
  • filling the freezer with meals to re-heat and easy to prepare dinners

It has been interesting to see how my husband has been “nesting” too, doing things like building new bookshelves, installing a peg rail wall, cleaning the carpets, landscaping outdoors, and extending the closet under our stairs.

It is fascinating to me how his nesting instincts seem to veer more toward the “big picture” physical structure of our home, extending and maximizing its space, while my own instincts seems to focus more on “little picture” things like sundries, clothes, and food.  And knitting.  There has been quite a flurry of knitting going on.

Preparing Myself for the New Baby and for Birth

There are the physical things that a mother does to prepare for a new baby, and I’ve been doing those, like packing a hospital bag, staying active in the weeks leading up to the birth, eating well and trying to get enough rest (easier said than done at times).

However, I find myself in these weeks really focusing more on the mental preparation.  I’ve had, admittedly, a few too many plates in the air recently and feel a real pull to slow down and turn inward.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the upcoming birth and the weeks afterward, a time which always calls on a lot from my physically but also, perhaps even more so, mentally.  I am not quite centered and focused just yet, but I can feel the mental and emotional pull leading me in that direction and I’m embracing it.

As a mentor of mine says, “figure out what is essential and do only that.  The rest can, and will, wait.”

And I’m taking her advice to heart. This is the time, after all, to do so.  The rest will wait.

The things I’ve mentioned today are merely a portion of the things a family does when preparing for a new baby. Have you welcomed a new baby into your family? How did you prepare? Do you have any advice to give me? Things to share with other Simple Kids readers? I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment.

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About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace

Comments

  1. You look fabulous Kara :) Enjoy these last few weeks!
    RaisingZ´s latest post: "Here we Go, Go, Go, Go…On an Adventure…"

  2. Lovely post and so timely – I’m 31 weeks and nesting BIG time! :) Wonderful ideas on how to involve siblings in the preparation, too. Just shared your link on my Counting Coconuts Facebook page. Thanks!
    Counting Coconuts´s latest post: Yarn Along – Baby Knit

  3. This was wonderful to read! I’m 35 weeks, too, and nesting away. We just bought and moved into our first home, and your advice about only doing what’s necessary really struck me. Thank you for the encouragement!
    Ashley´s latest post: We’re In!!

  4. My first baby just turned one this weekend. Looking back the most helpful thing I did was to read and listen to multiple parenting perspectives. The way you think you will parent your newborn may change based on his/her particular personality (like say, a baby who cries non-stop for the first four months of life…)

    After you’ve read and listened though, trust that God is going to send you home with the perfect child for YOUR family and relax.

    And if you don’t live near your family (like us) definitely enlist help. Whether your baby has colic or not, having someone to bring a meal and rock the baby for a little while is indispensable!
    Sarah Gainey´s latest post: Caleb’s 1st Birthday Party

  5. Hi there, my baby is 10 weeks old today. She is my third baby and one of the ways I prepared for her was to write a list of priorities. These priorities help me decide what i should do during the day (and it is stuck to the fridge). The first is ‘get sleep’. Then ‘drink water’. The rest are: Eat healthy snacks, Listen to music, Take time to scrapbook/sew/create, Take photos, Take time to blog family memories, Exercise,Pray.

    So now I’m going off for a nap while two are sleeping and one is colouring. this computer is being switched off!

  6. I love how your husband is nesting too! That’s so sweet.

    I can’t believe my baby is almost a year, that last year at this time I was nesting away! The BIG thing I did was cook…I made three months worth of meals before she was born. It was so nice to be able to just open the freezer and pull something out!

  7. Love the comparison between male and female nesting. My husband, as well, rallied to PAINT THE WHOLE HOUSE in the month before my younger son was born. Part of me really wanted him to focus his energy on the same things that felt important to me (the lists, the meals, the gear, the tiny clothing), but at the same time, those were the things that I was easily able to handle and he had his own need to bring out the paint and ladders!
    Alissa´s latest post: Art Practice

  8. I’m 33 weeks and started my nesting a couple of weeks ago with a revamp of the nursery. By the 3rd child, I’m tired of looking at the same decor and paint scheme! My next big task is to make freezer meals. I’ve never really done it before, but I know I’ll be happier for it when August comes!

    I was wondering– would you share with us what you include in your nursing station areas? That sounds intriguing…
    Cara Terreri´s latest post: Testing 1, 2, 3: Which of the Prenatal Tests Are Necessary?

    • Sure, Cara, happy to share :-)

      Right now I have it set up so that I have:
      – a small stack of prefold diapers (for spitup, leaks, etc)
      – some comfortable breast pads (I prefer the kind you can wash and reuse)
      – a few magazines that have come in the mail recently that I’m saving to read

      On the station I have set up between my bed and the baby’s crib, I have a nightlight (the kind that uses batteries and you “tap” to turn on and off). I’ve got a boppy nearby, too as I found that useful especially in the early days of breastfeeding.

      I set up a similar area on an end table downstairs in our living room, too.

      After the baby arrives, a few bottles of water will be added to the nursing stations (up and downstairs) as I really struggle with staying hydrated when I am nursing and it is important to drink a lot of water. Some easy snacks, like granola bars and fruit, will be added, too. My husband is awesome and usually takes it upon himself when we have a new baby to make sure that things like that are nearby for me. :-)

      Hope that helps!
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Showcase: DIY Summer Inspirations

  9. Yay–yay! Can’t believe how soon–looking forward to getting all the news, friend!
    Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s latest post: Montessori at Home: 8 Principles to Know

  10. It is so important during this time (and really always!) that you think about what is important in life and focus on those things. Even with 3 children already, having another upsets the current balance of the family and it will take some time before a new balance, a new normal, if you will, is reached.
    Take care of yourself and reduce outside expectations of you so that when it is time for labor and delivery your body and mind will be ready and rested!
    Congrats!
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life´s latest post: Unleash your inner two year old

    • Thanks, Bernice :-) I can always count on you to say something gentle and kind.

      “Take care of yourself and reduce outside expectations of you so that when it is time for labor and delivery your body and mind will be ready and rested” <– Yes! This is something I'm working on, but probably need to dedicate myself a bit more to in the coming days.

      Best wishes!
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Showcase: DIY Summer Inspirations

  11. Oh what a wonderful time everyone busy and everyone resting, everyone waiting and waiting and waiting… You look absolutely fabulous!!! Here are our pre-baby traditions: http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/09/06/saturday-spot-the-baby-basket-and-se7en-pre-baby-traditions
    se7en´s latest post: Sunday Snippet: Contentment Crept Up On Me Unawares…

  12. We had a new baby, Thomas, in February. We did as much of our normal life as possible, including going out for doughnuts and to a birthday party on my due date. The other thing we did was to pull out the baby dolls and start “playing gentle” with them. :)

    Can’t wait to see the new little one!
    Trish´s latest post: Baseball

  13. I’m 35 weeks pregnant, too! For my second baby, though. Enjoyed the post!

  14. Love the little top you are knitting! Is that a knitpicks pattern? So sweet!

  15. Kristen says:

    I’m still in the hoping to add a new baby to our family stage. I’m a little nervous though. Last time my oldest was 20mths old and the transition was seamless. The oldest loved and cared for the youngest and as they grew became they became best-friends. This time however my children will be at least 4 and 6 when the new baby comes. I’d love some tips or advice on how to prepare older children for a baby.

    • Kristen, there are almost 5 years between my oldest and the next kiddo.

      I would say that, for Jillian, it seemed to be that she needed more information and reassurance about birth and what was happening to me physically (not too many details, of course, just honest answering of her questions) first.

      She needed to know, I think, that her mommy was going to be okay and that all these changes were normal and healthy, before she could really focus on and get excited about the arrival of a new baby.

      There was a bit of a transition period, once the baby arrived, because she had almost 5 years of having her parents time and attention all to herself and it took some getting used to when suddenly there was this brand new little person who seemed to need us ALL the time. But, at an older age (than, say a toddler) she was capable of having some understanding and patience with the situation, within reason relative to her age.

      We did some things like giving her a gift from the new baby and letting her help make some clothing and nursery decisions so that she could feel like she was a part of the process of preparing for the baby, too. We also tried to make sure we phrased sentences like “our new baby” or “when our baby arrives” and not “mommy’s baby” or something like that.

      Good luck to you! Best wishes!
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Showcase: DIY Summer Inspirations

  16. The nesting instinct was so strong in my case. On the day before our son was born I seemed to have so much energy and was busy finishing the nursery. I spent 2 hours putting together some furniture and literally a minute after it was done, I felt the first gentle contraction.
    Irene Degregorio´s latest post: Davinci Convertible Cribs

  17. Congratulations, Kara! Oh my goodness, I wish I had that shirt when I was pregnant. I’m so crafty, I make people??? Awesome!

    I saw that peg rail wall on your own site not too long ago and I didn’t run straight out to the hardware store and buy all the supplies like I should have. Thank you, thank you for refreshing my memory. I have the perfect wall in mind for that in my own home!

    Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly. Can’t wait to hear the news!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: This Post Brought to You by Your Friendly Public Library

    • :-) Thanks, Anne! My sister recently took pity on my wardrobe woes (I’m so bored with my maternity clothes, yet am not about to bring in new things with mere weeks to go) and she sent over a huge bag full of her maternity things for me to borrow and that shirt was one of the gems in the bag.

      I’ll be sure to tell Chris about the peg rail. I have to say, we have loved having it! There’s no excuse not to hang up a jacket or a hat now ;-)
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Showcase: DIY Summer Inspirations

  18. LAWallner says:

    Please, please, where did you get that ‘crafty’ shirt? I have an enormously pregnant friend who would love one! That is awesome!

  19. What a great post idea. I prepared my older child by reading a book…it was by Dr. Sears. It was fabulous, and as a nursing mother, the only book I could find that also had pictures of nursing. I think it was called Baby on the Way, and I read about another one called What Baby needs. My daughter, then 3, loved the book, and so did I.

    I also prepared freezer meals, did some cleaning, and made some “kits” for my older child. Basically I had a few ziploc bags with different craft ideas that she could do on her own, some new (used) books, colouring pages, etc. that I could pull out when I needed them. I can’t remember all the ideas but I know I had some paper shapes cut out she could glue onto paper with a gluestick, some stickers, some new crayons, magazines to cut, etc. every kid is different but basically easy crafts that she’d never seen before all prepped so I could just grab and go.

  20. Congratulations on the upcoming addition!
    We recently welcomed our 4th child (on April Fool’s Day no less) so it hasn’t been that long ago that I was in your shoes. My part in the preparation centered mainly around me (sounds selfish but absolutely necessary after spending so much time and energy focusing on everyone but myself the previous months). Luckily my amazing husband was 100% on board!
    I focused on the essentials…food–making sure I was getting enough of the right foods, water–drink, drink, drink, sleep–as much as possible, and breaks—time to sit & read a book at a local bookstore, time to knit at the park, etc. I also immersed myself in preparing for the birthing process and really tried to be grateful and present for this pregnancy & baby as I knew this would be the last for us.
    My husband nested! He cleaned, prepared freezer meals, lined up help for before & after the birth, packed bags, set up the bassinet, etc. What an amazing man!
    I wish you much luck & rest in the upcoming weeks before your birth!

  21. I blogged my list (for our fifth!) today here: http://magicandmayhem.homeschooljournal.net/2011/07/03/baby-preparations/ We thought we were done with babies but I’m so glad we were wrong. :) We’re all really excited about her and I am feeling really calm and ready despite the things still left undone.

    Congratulations on your upcoming arrival!
    Magic and Mayhem´s latest post: Baby Preparations

  22. Hi Kara and congratulations! D-Day is so close. What totally helped me was getting everything I needed for the baby all ready and done. It also helped that I am an obssesive organizer so I had the closet ready, hospital bag ready, the house cleaned. I let go off a lot of activities and needless chores so that I could focus on what was most important – getting ready for baby. I also kept my affirmation to be chilled out and calm in my head all the time. :-)
    Prerna´s latest post: Moms in Business: An Interview with Darcy, of His & Hers Photography

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