Preparing for baby

A new baby is the new beginning of all new beginnings! In an excerpt from her new book, Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool, author Shantelle Bisson tells Parenting Times readers how to get ready for your new arrival

Shantelle Bisson advises on all things parenting in her new book. Photo Courtesy Shantelle Bisson

A baby doesn’t really need all that much. Really. Mostly diapers, a small mountain of washcloths, some baby blankets, or swaddling blankets, if you’re into those. Another small mountain of one-piece underwear or, depending on the climate where you live, half a dozen pairs of long PJs; a Baby Bjorn or some equivalent to strap them to you if they get fussy; a car seat for safe transport; and a stroller to keep you on track for that healthier lifestyle you’ve adopted. And that’s it. Oh, and your boobs, if you’re nursing, and if not, then some really high-quality, low-allergenic formula, and glass bottles to feed with.

This is about what a baby needs, and as you can see the list is quite small, because they don’t need all that much. So many people go crazy with adorable little newborn outfits that their baby either pees in or pukes on, usually the instant the clothes are put on. It’s an unwritten rule: the nicer the outfit, the quicker your child will vomit on it. Or immediately have one of those poops that comes spraying out of the side of their

diaper, staining the cute getup instantly. If you’re lucky, as we were with our second daughter, your baby will sleep so many hours at a time that you can really cut down on the costume changes. Babies also grow out of clothes at the speed of light — practically from bath time to bedtime. So, save that money and put it into your baby’s college fund. A fantastically cute outfit that baby can wear for 15 minutes just isn’t worth it. Like your new healthy-eating lifestyle, a college fund is something your baby will thank you for later.

As with everything about bringing a little human into your lives, I truly suggest you and your partner make a set of “need it,” “can live without it,” and “if only” lists together. It’s a good starting point.

Whatever you do happen to pick up for yourself along the way, do yourself a favour: bring your stash home and get organized, right away. Don’t let it pile up to the point where you can’t see the floor or your furniture.

If you do have a baby shower, take the time to thank people for their lovely gifts. Don’t be one of those people who can’t take a few hours to write and send out thank-you notes. There are many other things people could be doing with a half-day on the weekend than spend it watching you open baby gifts, so please be thankful — outwardly, not just silently in your heart.

Do the easy stuff first. Pick the paint colour for the baby’s room. Have fun setting up the nursery, even if your nursery is inside your bedroom, tucked in a cozy corner. Make that space all about the baby. Remember this will be the last time you’ll bring your baby home for the first time, so make it something to treasure.

If you have a mountain of newborn clothes, now is a good time to wash, fold, and put them away in age-specific drawers. Put anything that is size three to six months or bigger in a clear bin in the baby’s closet, to be used when your baby grows into them. This really helps with not grabbing the wrong size when packing your diaper bag.

Also, now is the time to pack your hospital bag. Pack it like you would for a beach holiday: light but with more than you might need. We all hope and pray that delivery will go well, that your baby will latch at the breast easily, and that you’ll be home before you know it, but in the event there is any sort of delay at the hospital end, you want to have exactly what you need to be comfortable. They do rush you in and out of there quickly these days, so try to see if you can squeeze an extra 24 hours out of them. It really helps to have that extra day of sleep, expert support from the nurses, and recovery time before you get home.