The title of this entry is ‘life-saving’ but really it is ‘time-saving’ as these tips are things that you can do right now to free up some time later for ‘future you’ who is going to be super-tired and all-consumed with new baby stuff. In the later stages of pregnancy, it is easy to feel stressed about the unknowns that are around the corner…
With my second baby due soon, I have decided that rather than worry about all of the things that are going to change/all of the unknowns – I can focus on some things I can actually do to help me (and my family) prepare.
These five tips are things that I am currently doing – and you might find them helpful too.
1. PRETEND YOU ARE NOT THERE
I am currently preparing my house as if it were a ‘beach bach’ so that visitors will easily be able to find their own tea/coffee/treats when I am busy with the new baby.
This will free me up when the new baby arrives to breastfeed and just relax. I won’t even have to tell them where to find anything because I have just prepared a shelf in my pantry as if it were a motel/hotel room facility. Future me will be really grateful for this one.
(If you have a coffee machine – it could be a good idea now to quickly write a set of instructions so that someone else can do it themselves… I have even added a container of ‘DECAF’ so that breastfeeding mummy -me- can have one made for her too…)
2. LABEL THINGS
This might seem a little over-the-top but I have recently managed to save myself from ‘stupid conversation’ time with my man just by organising and labeling clothes into ‘categories’ in my toddler’s room. I cut an old hanging shoe organiser into segments and slid the segments into crates. I then labelled the segments with removable stickers and a permanent marker (with a picture as well as the word so that my toddler will be able to find things too) and I have already saved myself unnecessary confusion around questions like, ‘where are the long-sleeved tees?’ or ‘where are his pyjamas?’ – because it is all conveniently sign-posted.
I have to admit that this is a hangover from teaching where I liked my classroom to be easily set up and packed down by students… it made my job back then much less stressful!
3. HOUSE TRAINING
With reference to number two above, by adding labels to your child’s room/the linen cupboard etc. the excuse of ‘I don’t know where things go’ to get out of putting the laundry away is no longer a viable one. Enough said.
4. UTILITY STATIONS
Most offices have streamlined systems for processing paper work and orders etc. In trays and out trays and super-organised stationery refill cupboards… For some reason households often survive without any clear system and this can make things hard when people want to try and help you later.
Think of all of the tasks that you will be doing daily and look at the area like it is a work area. You need to minimise potential complications.
Our nappy area: pre-stacked cloth nappies, stack of reusable wipes with arms reach (but out of toddler’s reach), squirty bottle of witch-hazel and rose-water home-made nappy wipe solution, paw-paw cream or nappy cream, Outie Splat Mat under changing table (can be kicked with foot and used as a ‘dumping ground’ for soiled clothes, wipes and nappies, disposable nappies for overnight use and ‘fluffy bums’ or pilchers for wearing over nappies…
The nappy change area has a strap for safety and a box of toys beneath it to keep wriggly toddler amused. Once change is complete – everything goes into clip-lid air-tight bucket in bathroom next to toilet where soap is easily accessible for a quick clean up.
(NB: There are only two door handles to navigate through on the way there too which is worth considering for one day when you are covered in poo…)
I also use a vinyl changing mat (another Splat Mat!) on top of the nylon table so that I can de-contaminate it outside with a hose if things take a turn for the industrial.
It is useful to think ahead to what you might need and make sure your nappy area and other utility areas are optimised for a stream-lined process.
Another thing you can do now is prepare some entertainment for future you – and for the other children if you have them.
FOR TODDLER: My current project is coming up with ways that might work to keep my toddler entertained while I will be busy with the new baby. Some of his toys have already been ‘squirreled’ away so that he can discover them anew later and I am making him some sensory/discovery bottles with bright buttons hidden in rice for him to roll around/shake and explore. Some of his puzzles have been sealed in plastic zip-lock bags so that they can brought out one at a time and I am putting together a special photo album of his life so that he can have his own special board book to look at during quiet times when I will need to feed the new baby. I am also working on making him a set of personalised flash cards that he can play with to learn the alphabet. There are some other fun ideas at Project Mum you might like to check out.
(Here is a little ‘treasure discovery bag’ I quickly made with random items from my studio and some rice in a zip-lock bag).
FOR YOU: Subscribe to a magazine you might like to read now so that it will be delivered as a nice surprise. Invest in a Kobo or Kindle so that you can read one-handed (I found turning pages while breastfeeding really tricky). Download a set of e-books so that you have some books to look forward to reading in ‘down times’ – or make sure you belong to a library so that you can pick up a stack of new books (also good for other littlies)…
Five things to do right now to prepare for a new baby. That’s one thing for every weekday this week.
Are these do-able tasks for you?
What have you been doing to prepare future you for your future baby?