How To Prepare Your Home For A New Baby
Preparing for a new baby may seem stressful and many people simply don't know where to start. The good news is, this feeling of confusion is completely normal and everyone experiences it when wondering how on earth to get ready for a new bundle of joy. We're sure even Prince Harry and Meghan had moments of panic before royal baby Archie Harrison arrived.
Read on to find out our 10 top tips for preparing your home for a baby.
1. Plan a move well in advance
If you’re thinking of moving house before your baby is born, it’s best to plan this move well in advance of your new arrival. Anyone who has bought a house knows the process can be a long one, and it’s always unpredictable and stressful – the last thing you need if you’re pregnant or supporting a pregnant partner.
Moving during the earlier stages of your pregnancy should be much easier than lugging boxes and frantically scrubbing cupboards while heavily pregnant – then you can save the cupboard scrubbing antics for your nesting period, when you actually want to do it!
However, if you have no choice but to move house during the later stages of your pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to alleviate some of the stress. Plan your move carefully, get as much help as you can and take it easy on the day to make sure the move doesn’t have a detrimental effect on you or the baby.
Taking out storage can prove useful if you’re moving house while pregnant, as you can stash baby equipment in your storage unit for safekeeping until you need it. This can be really handy if you’re upsizing and simply don’t have the space for it in your current home. You can also use a storage centre if you find yourself staying with relatives in between selling your existing house and moving into your new one, to avoid taking up space in your parents’ already-cramped garage!
2. Prepare for your future needs
Somewhat controversially, we would recommend you don’t decorate the nursery for a baby – a tip we have taken on board from property expert Sarah Beeny.
Most people focus heavily on creating a room for a baby, despite the fact the baby will usually sleep in your room for the first few months and even after that, they won’t notice or care about their surroundings.
Think ahead with a five-year plan for the baby’s room and you can hopefully avoid redecorating it a couple of years in because they feel like the room is too “babyish”.
Pinterest and Houzz are great places to create mood boards and search for ideas on creating the perfect children’s bedroom that will see your little one from the newborn stage right through to school. And don’t worry if you don’t know the gender of your baby yet, as there’s plenty of inspiration for gender-neutral children’s bedroom design ideas to set your imagination into overdrive.
In the same vein, we would actually say the nursery is not the most important room to decorate ahead of the baby’s arrival, as nobody will be spending much time in there for a good few months.
So, if you are worried about getting it all finished as you dash around preparing your home for baby before the birth – don’t. It can be a project for later down the line after you’ve emerged from the baby bubble and you have formed some ideas about what would work best for you and your child.
3. Batch cook before the birth
One of the best tips we’ve ever heard about preparing your home for a baby is to batch cook and freeze some meals to see you through those crazy newborn days. If you’re feeling up to it, plan a few easy recipes you can cook in bulk then stick in the freezer – most will keep for a few months. This way, you can quickly grab a delicious and nutritious meal that will fuel you for the tough job of early parenthood, without the expense of takeaways or the hassle of shopping and preparing food.
Easy foods to batch cook and freeze in individual portions include pasta sauces, chilli, curry, stews and soups. Stock up on microwave pouches of rice and grains and you’ll have yourself enough tasty and healthy meals to keep you going for weeks!
Similarly, you can ask friends and family if they would kindly bring meals or other handy supplies rather than gifts – as the likelihood is, you will be drowning in babygrows but lacking in time to do a food shop! Just don’t go overboard with your requests as this couple did.
4. Put together a downstairs basket
Did you know newborn babies get through around 12 nappies a day?
Unless you live in a one-storey flat or a bungalow, that could potentially mean an awful lot of trips up and down the stairs when you’re at your most weak, tired and achy post-childbirth.
What’s more, a study in 2012 in the USA revealed that 25% of newborn baby accidents occurred when they were being carried up or downstairs, so it’s better for everyone if you can minimise the number of trips you need to make during the day.
To avoid spending your entire day trekking up and down stairs, make sure a downstairs basket features on your list of things to prepare for the baby.
In it, you can stash all of the essentials you’ll need during the day to keep your baby (and yourself!) clean, dry and happy.
Your basket should include muslin cloths, nappies, wipes, cotton wool, spare baby clothes and a spare top for yourself (because you never know when you could end up covered in milk – or worse! - in the first few days as a parent).
Make sure you also have a changing mat downstairs – this should be able to slip behind or under the sofa or down the side of a cupboard neatly for easy access without cluttering up the room.
Just don’t forget to keep it well-stocked and within easy reach in case of emergencies!
5. Clear away the clutter
For such tiny people, newborn babies come with a lot of stuff. So even the tidiest of homes can soon seem cluttered when you factor in the pram, moses basket, changing mat, bouncer, baby gym, toys, bottles and whatever else you have quickly accumulated in the first few weeks.
Take advantage of the earlier days of your pregnancy, before you’re too big to bend over, by decluttering your home to prepare for the new baby. You may find that you won’t need things you used pre-baby as often once your bundle of joy comes along, like bicycles, hobby equipment, CDs, records or books.
Many new parents take out a storage unit when decluttering their home for a baby, as they find a lot of items will be in the way or unused once the new arrival has taken over their home. This can be a convenient way to make some space and adapt your home for your new lifestyle.
Alternatively, you can sell or donate items to clear some space for your new baby. It’s easier than ever to sell items on eBay, Depop and Facebook, among other places, and it can earn you some cash to spend on baby items or decorating costs.
6. Invest in smart storage
Once you have decluttered your home ready for a baby, you’ll probably be feeling very smug and Marie Kondo-like. As you should! Use this motivation wisely to think ahead and plan new kinds of storage you will need once baby becomes part of your life.
Toys and baby equipment can take over your home, but if you find a storage space for everything you can stay on top of the mess and keep your home pleasingly clutter-free. After all, it’s a great feeling to tidy away all the baby paraphernalia at the end of the day once your baby is (hopefully!) sleeping, so you can switch off and relax in your own adult-only zone.
Dare we say it may be time to face the dreaded Ikea trip? Investing in some smart storage solutions will definitely help you to house all the new toys and baby equipment you will soon be surrounded by. And if you’re worried you can’t face the trip during pregnancy, just think of how stressful it could be with a screaming newborn baby!
Of course, if you can get away with it, you can always make a list and send your partner or a friend to stock up on toy storage solutions, then put your feet up and enjoy the peace and quiet in your baby-free chill-out zone while you still can!
7. Light the way
Your home lighting solutions were probably chosen pre-parenthood, therefore your needs may change dramatically once you are desperately trying to get a newborn to sleep (or keep it that way!).
If lighting systems are on your list of things to do when planning your home for a baby, look into dimmer switches, soft ambient lamps and night lights for your bedroom and your baby’s room. This will mean those midnight feeds aren’t met with harsh lighting that wakes everyone up and makes it virtually impossible to get back to sleep.
Total darkness may seem like the best solution to keep babies (and parents) drowsy during the night feeds, but you need a little light to help you stagger out of bed without tripping or bumping into something (see point 8 for help on this!).
Plus, for longer feeds, you may well resort to reading the latest bestseller to keep yourself awake and banish the boredom - which requires some form of appropriate reading light.
So, with a little research and planning, you can easily design and install a whole new lighting system that will see you and your baby through the toughest of nights with as much sleep as possible, leading to healthy and happy parents and babies.
8. Rethink your spaces
It’s a smart move to start visualising the everyday challenges you will face once you have a new baby, and whether your home is optimised to ease you through them.
With this in mind, part of planning your home for a baby could involve reorganising your bedroom for the new arrival and your new nocturnal habits.
If your baby will be in a moses basket in your room, think about your route from your bed to the basket, as you’ll be making this trip countless times in the first few nights.
Is there anything you can trip or stub your toe on when you’re dashing to the crib, half asleep in the dark? Move any obstacles like rugs, storage solutions or awkwardly positioned furniture to give you easy, foolproof access.
Or, if your baby is going straight into his or her own bedroom, do you have a clear route across the landing without any hazards?
If you spend some time tidying your landing and making sure you avoid any accidents during your drowsy 3am trips, you’ll definitely thank yourself later.
9. Freshen up your wardrobe
Reorganising your own wardrobe may not be top of your list of things to do when preparing your home for a baby, but if you’re about to give birth to your own bundle of joy, then hear us out.
In the early days post-childbirth, you may not be feeling your best, and you’ll find yourself stuck in limbo between wearing maternity clothes when you’re no longer pregnant (depressing), and none of your pre-pregnancy clothes fitting (even more depressing).
During this vulnerable period, it can be difficult to feel good about yourself and looking at rails of clothes which don’t fit can be a disheartening experience when you’re already feeling low.
Our advice would be to have a wardrobe clear-out and pack away anything you aren’t likely to fit into or want to wear during the first few months of being a new mum.
Pack these items under the bed in vacuum bags, or take out a storage unit to stash them until you need them again if space is limited. This should leave plenty of space for you to stock up on the type of clothes you will want to wear after having a baby.
If you plan to breastfeed, there’s more choice than ever before if you are looking for breastfeeding or nursing clothes, like t-shirts, tops and dresses which offer easy access quickly and discreetly. Check out ASOS, Topshop and H&M for a great choice of nursery tops and dresses, or follow breastfeeding mums on Instagram for inspiration and ideas (you can now shop directly from their feeds, which will come in handy when you're scrolling one-handed during the night feeds!).
Comfort comes first post-partum, so stock up on soft, loose-fitting or cosy clothes you’ll love to pull on for a day with your baby. Leggings and underwear a couple of sizes up, nursery bras a size up from your pre-pregnancy cup size, matching loungewear and loose-fitting dresses which make you feel good are a great choice for boosting your self-esteem and helping you get out of the house without a drama.
One top tip is to invest in a cool pair of trainers for yourself, as you will probably be doing lots of walking with the pram so you’ll want to be comfortable without looking frumpy. This way, you can basically throw a coat over your pyjamas and still look like you made an effort – the perfect solution for that much-needed trip to the local café for a caffeine fix and a chat with a friend.
10. Hinch your home for the baby
Our last tip on preparing your home for a baby may seem like an obvious one, but it’s one many parents kick themselves about later, when they return home from hospital to a tired home in dire need of a deep clean.
Cleaning your home before your baby comes may mean giving yourself and your partner a list of jobs to complete in the days leading up to your due date. Or, you could ask friends or family to come over and clean out if they have been keen to help you out and asking for ways to support you.
If you can afford it, a real treat would be to book a cleaning company to do a deep clean of your home while you are in hospital having the baby. What could be better than coming home with your new baby to a sparkling home that smells fresh and looks amazing?
Cleaning is more popular than ever, with Mrs Hinch’s Instagram tips helping millions of people to get off the sofa and get hinching, so that’s a great place to look for tips on cleaning your home before a baby comes.
If you have other children, you can get them involved in cleaning your home for a baby by putting some soapy water in a spray bottle and giving them a microfibre cloth to scrub away to their heart’s content.
Many new parents are concerned about the impact the chemicals used in popular cleaning products can have on their home, their health and that of their children. But the good news is, there are now more eco-friendly cleaning products than ever before, so it’s easy to stock up on chemical-free, natural and vegan cleaning products to avoid harmful effects on your family.
Alternatively, you can make your own natural cleaning products easily and cheaply, which deliver incredible results when preparing your home for a baby.
Where to store your clutter when preparing for a baby
If you opt to store your stuff safely away when preparing for a baby, we can help to lighten the load. Our self-storage centres offer secure storage units which you can take out on a short or long-term basis, with no deposit and no notice period to vacate. Find your nearest location here or get a price here.