Preparing to bring a newborn home from the hospital can be overwhelming and scary, especially if this is your very first time. What do you need to buy? What do you need to clean? What do you need or organize? There is definitely a lot to do, but I promise that if you have a solid checklist and a little bit of drive, you will get to the point where everything is ready and prepped before your baby arrives.
This post is broken out into eleven sections. It was created so that you can take it section by section as you begin to prepare your home. The list is fairly comprehensive and my goal in putting it together is to make it much easier for you to get some sleep at night and actually feel ready to have your baby. Let’s dive in.
The first and hands down, the most important thing you need to do before bringing your baby home from the hospital is to prepare yourself. Having a brand new baby is incredibly daunting and stressful. Here are the things you should consider doing before you head to the hospital for delivery:
Prenatal Class - If you haven’t taken a prenatal class yet, you should probably consider it. You should be able to find several places that offer these kinds of classes throughout your community. They also have online prenatal classes that you can sign up for here.
Learn How To Meditate - One of the best ways to deal with the stress and anxiety of having a newborn in your home is to find time to meditate every day. Meditation will help you get your “head right” and give you the headspace to think and find ways to cope with your stress. One of the best meditation apps is the HeadSpace app. It has a free version and paid version. The free version is enough to get you started. You can learn more about it here.
Prepare Your Home
After you’ve taken time to prepare yourself for your newborn, now is the time to begin to prepare your home. When you are recovering from giving birth and not sleeping from all-night feedings, etc., trying to figure out how to manage your home is near impossible.
When preparing your home, you’ll want to make sure to order a bunch of the basic necessities.
- Freezer meals
- Easy sides like rice, potatoes, etc.
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.
- Basic oils you use when cooking
- Food staples like butter, sugar, bread, peanut butter, etc.
- Easy snacks
- Quick Meals like soup, mack & cheese, etc.
- Disposable Dinnerware
Basic Cleaning Supplies (non-toxic, baby safe and eco-friendly)
- Basic multi-purpose cleaner
- Baby safe laundry detergent
- Baby safe dishwashing tablets
- Wool dryer balls
- Baby soap
- Diapers cloth or disposable
- Diaper Cream
- Baby Powder
- Formula (if you’re not planning on breastfeeding)
You can either shop for these things yourself, or do an Amazon Prime order. Don’t we love Amazon so much?
Prepare Your Living Room
If you’re like most mommas, you spend the majority of your day in your living room. This will be no different once your little bundle of joy arrives. Plan on doing tummy time, book reading, playing with toys and lounging around on the couch while baby is sleeping. You can also set up your changing and feeding station close by.
Living Room Essentials
- Tummy Time Station - as we’ve covered in another post, this is our favorite tummy time station.
- Breastfeeding & Changing Station - Many moms have several feeding and changing stations throughout their home. Having a mini station in your living room will make managing both tasks much easier.
- Books & Toys Specifically for Newborns & 0-3 Months
- Babywearing - If you’re an active mom, you’ll probably want to wear your baby as much as possible. Our favorite, forward-facing baby carrier is the Ergobaby embrace. You can buy it here.
Prepare Your Kitchen
Next, you’ll want to take the time to prepare your kitchen. I can’t stress how awesome it is to have a freezer full of food after your baby is born. Even if you have a very close-knit, support system of family and friends willing to bring you meals, having frozen meals ready to go once those meals stop is a lifesaver.
If you choose to go the freezer meal route, you’ll want to prep your meals at least six weeks in advance. Just so you don’t go into labor before you are able to get them done. Here are some of the best things to prep in advance:
- Spaghetti Sauce - Cook a few batches of spaghetti sauce (make sure to add protein like hamburger) and freeze it in ziplock freezer bags and when you’re ready, you can throw it in a crockpot and cook up some noodles that evening for dinner.
- Soups - Nothing is better than some pre-cooked crockpot soups that you can throw in and forget about until dinner time. Some family favorites include chicken noodle, minestrone, and vegetable beef.
- Waffles & French Toast - Did you know that these two awesome breakfast foods hold up great in the freezer and prepare easily with a toaster?
- Taco Meat - Cook up some taco meat including ground beef or chicken and throw it in the freezer. You can throw this in the microwave along with some soft flour tortillas and you’ve got a meal in less than five minutes.
Prepare Your Bedroom
After the living room, the next place you’ll be spending most of your time after having your baby is your bedroom. Chances are, this will not only be the place where you sleep but where your baby will sleep for the first 4-6 weeks after coming home from the hospital. Some of the items needed to prepare your bedroom can be transitioned to the nursery once your little one vacates the premises, so when you’re going through each list, make note of which ones you can move.
- Bassinet - Similar to a crib, a bassinet is what your little one will sleep in while living in your room. You’ll want to make sure to get one with wheels that you can roll up to your bed in the middle of the night.
- Swaddle - You’ll want to make sure to have a couple swaddle blankets on hand in case one of them gets soiled while feeding or changing. We love these Swaddle Me swaddles.
- Nighttime Sleep Clothes - Like a swaddle, you’ll want to keep a few extra changes of sleep clothes on hand in case they get soiled. Our newborn baby knotted gowns are a great night time outfit that makes for easy changes in the middle of the night.
- Pacifiers - If your baby takes a binky, you’ll want to have several on hand for when you drop one in the middle of the night and can’t find it.
- White Noise Machine - It’s very difficult to get a good night's sleep if you can hear every move that your baby is making throughout the night. You’ll want to invest in a good sound machine to help you get the sleep you desperately need. The Dohm noise machines are a fan favorite.
- Baby Monitor - If you’re planning on your baby taking naps in their bassinet, you’ll want to get a good video monitor for you to keep an eye on your baby.
- Blackout Curtains - Again, if you’re planning on your baby taking naps in your room, you’ll want to get some blackout curtains so they can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep as long as possible.
Prepare Your Bathroom
Preparing your bathroom is an essential part of preparing your home, especially since this activity is essential for a quick recovery after labor and delivery. You’ll want to start pulling all of these things together at least eight weeks before your due date to give you plenty of time to make sure you have everything. Here are the must-have items:
- Giant Pads - You’ll learn pretty quick that normal pads won’t cut it after having a baby. Make sure to get some of the biggest pads you can find, with wings, of course. You’ll want at least a two weeks supply.
- Disposable Underwear - The hospital will give you several pairs of super lame underwear. When those get solid, you’ll want to make sure to have some disposable underwear that you can toss after each wear.
- Peri Bottle - Fridababy makes a peri-bottle which has a nozzle specifically designed to be held upside down, which is what you’ll need when cleaning yourself when you get home. You can get one of them here.
- Dermoplast - As you’ll quickly learn, dermoplast is going to be your best friend for a few weeks after giving birth. This spray will help with all of the burning and itching that you’ll experience down stairs. You’ll want to get at least two cans, maybe three.
- Epsoak Epsom Salt - Lastly, make sure you get a few big bags of Dr. Teals Epsoak Epsom Salt for sitz baths.
Prepare The Nursery
Chances are, you won’t be using the nursery until your baby is 6-8 weeks old. Some mommas wait even longer (3-4 months), but regardless, you won’t be using it much with the exception of storing clothes, toys, etc. You might be spending more time there if you’ve placed your feeding and changing station in there, but many moms put those in living rooms and bedrooms to have them close by.
As you can probably imagine, you can really go all out with your nursery, especially if this is your first baby. Because of this, I won’t be listing out everything you can buy, but only listing some of the essentials that you need to get in order to be prepared.
- Crib - I don’t have much to share here because there are so many different types of cribs on the market. Just make sure you find one that fits the style of your home and you’ll be set.
- Mattress - Honestly, you don’t need the most expensive mattress on the market. A general rule of thumb is to pick one that’s kind of in the middle price range.
- Sheets - As you’ll soon find out, you’ll want to get a few sets of sheets so you can quickly swap them out when your baby spits up or has a blowout.
- Dresser/Changing Table - Many moms decide to get a dresser and changing table. I’d suggest getting a nice dresser and then a good changing pad that can sit on the top of the dresser. The reason you’ll want to do this is that as your child grows, a dresser can grow with them.
- Changing Pad - Like a mattress, you don’t need the most expensive pad. You should find something in the middle price range.
- Blackout Curtains - You’ll not only want blackout curtains for your bedroom, but you’ll want a set for the baby's room as well.
- Baby Monitor - Once your baby moves into the nursery, you’ll want to relocate the baby monitor. This monitor is one of the most and highest rated monitors on Amazon.
- Clothes - Obviously, your baby needs clothes. Make sure to have 8-10 different outfits ready for when you get home from the hospital.
Prepare The Nursing & Changing Station
Having a feeding and changing station close by is absolutely critical for a new mom. As mentioned before, many moms choose to have two stations, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Some moms opt to have one, in the nursery that can be used at any time of the day or night. Regardless of where you decide to have your station, there are core essentials that you must include.
Nursing & Changing Station Essentials
- Changing Pad & Cover - If you’re changing diapers in the nursery, you’ll want a changing pad that you can put on top of a dresser. If not, a blanket on the floor will do just fine. As mentioned above, we like this pad you can find on Amazon.
- Burp Clothes - Unless you like spit up all over you, your clothes, and furniture, you’ll want to make sure you have at least a dozen or so burp cloths. You don’t need anything fancy, we like these on Amazon.
- Nursing Pillow - Nursing pillows are a godsend for new moms. They make it incredibly easy for you to hold and nurse your little one. We love the Ergobaby natural curve nursing pillow. You can buy one here.
- Soft Light/Lamp - When you’re feeding in the night time, you’ll want to make sure to get yourself a soft light or lamp you can turn on to help you see what you’re doing.
- Diaper Pail - If you are planning on using disposable diapers, you’ll definitely want a diaper pail to throw those stink bombs into after you’re done changing. We love the diaper genie pail. You can buy them here.
- Rocking Chair - A rocking chair is an absolute must-have as part of your nursing station. The rocking sensation calms baby and oftentimes helps them eat better than if you were sitting on a couch or in bed.
Prepare For Bath Time
One thing that both excites and scares new moms to death is the first bath session. It can be so fun to bathe your baby, but also very scary for the first time mom. Having your bath setup with everything you need is one way to make sure you are ready to go and have what you need to get the job done.
Baby Bathing Essentials
- Bathtub - When bathing your baby, you’ll need something to hold them in place while you wash them. Many moms choose to get those foam pads that baby can lay on, but we recommend a baby bathtub. We like this one on Amazon.
- Wash Clothes - You can probably use just about any washcloth around your house to bathe your baby, but many companies make super soft clothes specifically for babies. We like these on Amazon.
- Soap - Believe it or not, your baby needs special soap for their soft, delicate skin. We love the Burts Bees baby wash. You can buy it here.
- Hooded Bath Towel - Sure, you could use any towel you have laying around, but hooded towels make it easy to keep your baby warm after bathing, but also makes it incredibly easy to dry him/her off. We like this towel on Amazon.
- Kneeling Pad - If you’re bathing your baby in a large tub, with their baby tub in it, you’ll definitely want to buy a cheap kneeling pad. I promise it will save your knees and make the experience that much better for you.
Prepare The Car
Even though your car is outside of your home, I thought it was still very relevant and needed to be addressed in this post.
Basic Car Essentials
- Car Seat - If you plan on going anywhere with baby, it’s probably a given that you’ll need a good car seat. Most moms out there prefer a car seat that can attach/detach from a base so the car seat can be carried or attached to a stroller. One of the more popular, basic strollers is the Chicco. You can buy it here.
- Car Seat Cover - Car seat covers are a relatively new thing. What once was just a blanket thrown over the car seat has transformed into a full cover that keeps the elements away from baby. One of our favorite covers is the Milk Snob cover. You can buy it here.
- Car Seat Mirror - You’ll also want to purchase a mirror that can be attached to the back seat so you can keep an eye on what’s happening with baby and why he/she might be fussing. You can find these anywhere and just about anyone of them will do.
Prepare The Diaper Bag
Also, not necessarily a “home” item, but having your diaper bag packed and ready to come with you to the hospital is a must. I recently wrote a pretty robust post about it, so I won’t rehash it here, but here’s the link if you want to dig in: Diaper Bag Essentials For a New Mom - What To Pack In Your Bag.
Two wrap things up, if you haven’t gotten the hint, it’s probably best to start preparing your home early in your third trimester. If the task seems daunting, just take it room by room. Soon you’ll be ready and bringing your baby home from the hospital will be much easier and enjoyable. Good luck mamma!