At 6-weeks postpartum (which is now long past), I reflected on how we made some simple, inexpensive preparations for the arrival of our sweet baby #4! Whether you’re a first time parent or you have multiple kids, I hope you leave inspired to simplify the process of welcoming a new life into your home.
Simplifying The Process of Bringing Home a New Baby
I have always been drawn to simplicity but haven’t always been good at keeping things simple. In fact, I kind of have a track record of overcomplicating things and getting lost in the details.
Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned before that as our family has grown, I have come to realize more and more the value of keeping things simple – food, possessions, routines, schedules, etc.
What better time to put into practice the act of slowing down and simplifying than when we’re bringing a newborn into our home?
In my experience, new babies are hard! Yes, they’re an absolute joy and blessing, but the transition has never been easy for me. The last thing I need is to overcomplicate those first few months with too much stuff, too many commitments, and (here’s the kicker) too much time spent using technology.
Newborns need very little besides food, shelter, clothing and a parent’s love. But our world tells us a different story! According to popular advertising, there is a baby item to solve every problem and make your life a breeze in those first days and months with a new baby.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for modern baby items. Nose Frida anyone? But my point is that nothing you buy at Target can compete with the value of taking your time getting to know your baby and figuring out how to care for your uniquely created child.
All that to say, here are the simple preparations we are happy we made before bringing home baby.
Simple Preparations for Baby #4: Preparing Our Home
Decluttering everything (instead of buying everything).
Much of my spare time in the weeks leading up to my due date were occupied with decluttering possessions. Like in every room of our home.
And let me tell you, it felt so good!
It made the daily house cleaning and tidying easier in my last trimester, and it helped our home not to fall into total disrepair in the weeks following the arrival of our baby. Do keep in mind we still have 3 lively kiddos running around, so our house is a few hairs shy of tidy!
With past babies, I spent lots of time browsing Pinterest and coming up with the perfect registry on Amazon and gathering new baby things for our home. Not only have we saved money this time around, but I’m more satisfied with the way I have spent my time leading up to bringing home baby.
Just a note, if this is your first baby you will have to gather more things than we did, of course! But speaking from experience, you probably need less than you may think.
Gathering baby essentials (that are actually essential).
Once we got most of the decluttering out of the way, we were better able to see what we needed for the new baby.
Since this is baby #4 for us, we quickly realized there was very little we actually needed to purchase in the way of baby items. When deciding what we needed I focused on 4 main categories: clothing, bedding, feeding, and diapering.
We gave most of our baby boy clothes away to a friend a few years ago, so we needed a few clothing items. Instead of going out and buying a complete wardrobe for our baby boy’s first year of life, I chose to focus only on the first 3-4 months for a few reasons.
We didn’t know how big he would be or what size clothes he would need as the seasons change. Christmas was also coming up, and he would likely be gifted some clothes by family.
By now, I also know that for the first few months our babies mostly wear one-piece footed sleepers. I picked up a few newborn sleepers at the thrift shop, Amazon and Target, and a friend lent me some sleepers in the next couple sizes. We were also gifted some larger sizes from friends and families. The same friend also let us borrow a warm fleece bunting/”elf suit” for when we go outside in the cold. So we were set on clothes.
We already had all we needed for bedding from previous babies. From storage, I pulled out some muslin swaddle blankets, sleep sacks, and a pack-n-play with a couple fitted sheets. We were good to go.
I breastfeed, which keeps this category pretty simple. From storage, I gathered my reusable nursing pads, nursing cover, and burp cloths. I also pulled out and cleaned my breast pump, just in case I would need it occasionally to relieve engorgement.
While I like cloth diapers, I always stick to disposable diapers and wipes for the first few months. I have a stash of cloth diapers and wipes, but I have never had the wherewithal to use them in the first few months with baby.
A few friends gave me wipes and Sizes 1 and 2 diapers as gifts, so I didn’t buy any before baby came. When he arrived, he was pretty little so we stopped at Target on the way home from the hospital and grabbed some Newborn diapers.
We do keep a changing table in the kids’ room, but I don’t use it very often with a newborn because it’s on the other side of the house from our room. Instead, I simply place a boppy pillow with a hand towel draped over it on our bed. My little guy tends to spit up after nursing, so I like to use the boppy pillow to keep his head elevated during diaper changes. And the towel is to protect our bed from messes. I’ll use this setup as long as he is sharing our bedroom.
We have one soft baby bath towel and a few small soft wash cloths for quick wipe-down baths.
I pulled out and washed my Moby wrap from storage, so I could carry the baby around with me and still be hands-free. My wrap is a well-loved item I use everyday!
For travel, Drew pulled down the infant car seat from a shelf in the garage and cleaned it. We also have a couple warm blankets we use when we go places in the fall and winter.
I purchased a used rocking baby seat to be able to move around the house. And it has been nice to have a safe place to set baby when I need to be hands-free but need a break from carrying him in the wrap.
Simple Preparations for Baby #4: Childbirth
Preparations for childbirth were pretty simple this time around. And I’m thankful this was a very straightforward pregnancy with no complications.
I went to regular appointments and took my prenatal vitamins. The last few weeks, I read and listened to several natural birth stories to get my head in the game. I also reviewed some notes I had taken during Lamaze class when I was pregnant with my second baby. Drew and I talked about our strategies for coping with labor pain, and we prayed!
In the past, we definitely spent much-needed time preparing for childbirth by going to classes and reading books. It was nice this time, to have a couple unmedicated births under my belt to draw experience from though.
A Couple Quick Notes…
First, please know I don’t think there is one cookie cutter approach for preparing for YOUR baby. These are the preparations we found helpful. And I hope you’re able to find some encouragement and inspiration from our experience!
Second, for more on the topic of simplicity and its importance, particularly in the life of a Christ-follower, I highly recommend John Mark Comer’s book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. This book has really motivated Drew and me to simplify our lives even more in order to slow down to walk more in step with Christ, to love people well, and to make the best use of our short time on Earth.