Whether you’re expecting your first child or a seasoned parent, every new baby brings excitement and challenges. There are many things to do to get ready for bringing home your baby -- and it’s easy to overlook important steps.
Consider this your checklist for bringing baby home.
- Choose clothes for your baby, but keep in mind clothing is a popular baby gift, so be careful not to buy too much too early.
- Buy a mix of newborn, 1 to 3 months, and larger, as your baby may be ready for 1 to 3 month clothes soon after birth.
- Remove tags, wash, and sort clothes after baby showers.
- Pack clothes for the hospital and going home.
- Purchase bottles with nipples, brushes for cleaning, bibs, and burp cloths, whether you plan to formula feed or breastfeed.
- If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll probably want a breast pump, a nursing pillow, nursing bras, and breast pads.
Diapers and Hygiene
- Build a stash of disposable or cloth diapers. Look for various sizes, as it’s best not to buy too many in one size early on in case your baby grows out of them quickly.
- Get a good diaper pail to cut down on smells.
- Choose a changing pad and cover.
- Use a plastic infant tub and stock up on baby soap, wash cloths, and hooded towels
- Get a first aid and baby care kit with items such as a bulb syringe, nail clippers, and a thermometer.
- Get a crib and crib mattress, with fitted crib sheets and a waterproof cover for your mattress.
- Some babies benefit from swaddling or sleep sacks.
- Consider using a white noise machine or loud fan to help your baby sleep without noise distractions. (Check out our Sleep & Slumber options. Some even come with a sound unit built right in! )
- Choose a safe car seat and install it before you head to the hospital.
- Some fire departments, baby stores, and other organizations offer free car seat checks so you can verify you’ve installed yours properly.
- Meal times can be a struggle when you’ve just brought your baby home. Plan ahead and prepare some dishes ahead of time.
- Ask family and friends to bring food or set up a meal train.
Talk About Visitors
- Decide how you want to handle baby visits in the early days. Set boundaries and consider whether you want visitors in the hospital, at home, or none at all. You can set specific visiting times, too.
- Think about whether you want help when you bring home your baby. You can invite a close friend or family member to stay with you for support.
- Make a plan for child care if you have older siblings.
Get Your Home Ready
- Before the baby comes, catch up on laundry and cleaning.
- Consider hiring a cleaning service for the first few weeks if you don’t have one already.
- Though newborns won’t come home crawling, baby proofing becomes necessary early on. It’s a good idea to get started on making your home safe for baby before you bring them home.
Bringing home a new baby is joyful, but it’s a lot of work. Get started as early as you can and set expectations early so you can have an easier time when you’re ready to come home with your newborn.
Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life -- sometimes expertly, sometimes not.