The arrival of a new baby is always a matter of great happiness….and one has to admit, a great deal of added housework and responsibilities too. In spite of its small size, the bundle of joy in your arms can increase your workload manifold and occupy a great deal of space in terms of baby clothes, baby products and whatnot.
Whether you are about to give birth for the first time or the fourth, there are a few basic things that you should tackle beforehand. Many women suffer from depression, stress and post-natal blues because they are not physically and mentally prepared to cope with all the added housework. Of course the hormones do not help either.
Give your house a thorough cleaning
You might not consider it a priority but cleaning the house from top to bottom is one of the best things expectant mothers can do before giving birth. In between the second and third trimester, go over each room of your house critically and get rid of all debris and clutter.
If carpets, curtains and other linen need to be washed, get this done too. Clean out your freezer, fridge, bathroom cabinets and bedside drawers. After the delivery, you might be too busy, too sleep deprived or too worn out to take care of dusty fans or hanging cobwebs. Beside they are not good for the baby’s health.
Create space for baby’s things
Have at least a couple of drawers for baby’s things in a place of easy access. If you are buying new stuff, prepare a list and do your shopping beforehand. Baby clothes, pampers/diapers, shampoo, soap, soft towels and sheets for the baby can all be bought prior to the delivery and should be kept separate from other household linen. If you are using the things which your older children have outgrown, wash and air them thoroughly and put them away neatly in the drawers. Re-arrange your furniture to accommodate the baby’s cot, pram, high-chair etc.
If you have young children, prepare them mentally for the new addition to the family. If you have to leave them with grandparents, aunts or friends while you are in the hospital, talk to them about it as well. It can be very scary for young children if they are suddenly ‘deserted’ by their mother and father and one of the main reasons for sibling rivalry. Also make sure you have help lined up in case of an emergency or an early delivery. You must have someone to call and take care of your children on a moment’s notice.
Fill up freezers, refrigerators and pantry:
Cooking a meal for the entire family will be the last thing you have time for in the early newborn days. Plan ahead and stock the freezer with foods that can be easily thawed and served like kebabs, haleem, chicken stock for rice and soups, and ready-to-cook frozen products.
If you do the grocery shopping yourself, buy things with longer shelf-life in bulk so that you do not have to run to the market every time you run out of tea, jam, cereals, detergents, sugar, rice etc. Plan ahead for at least four months. Between frequent breastfeeding, nappy changing and other household chores, shopping for everyday things can be quite a burden.
Where there’s a baby, there will be guests. While no-one expects you to prepare gourmet meals for all the well wishers that drop in, common courtesy demands that you entertain your guests with some goodies on the tea-trolley. Again planning and shopping ahead will come to your rescue.
Get your hospital stuff ready:
Another important thing is to get your hospital bags ready by your eighth month. It is better to use two small bags… one for your baby and other for yourself …rather than one big one which contains everything. This will give you more privacy as the baby’s stuff gets handled by everyone from the hospital staff to nurses to relatives.
Remember to pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush, undergarments, change of clothing, comfortable shoes and your own soap and shampoo. There is no need to look and smell like a zombie just because you have given birth.
Put in your favorite lipstick, other essential cosmetic items and a light fragrance too. It is also prudent to pack your own towels. It is best not to wear any gold jewellery, expensive watches etc. to the hospital so take off any gold rings, locket and bangles that you habitually wear by your ninth month.
For the baby, you will need at least three sets of clothes, bibs, diapers, wrapping sheets for summer or a blanket if it’s winter, baby pacifier and a feeding bottle. Baby soap, shampoo and soft towels are also necessary. Pack this stuff and keep the bags in an easy to access place by your ninth month.
The birth of a child can be one of the most important and scariest times in a woman’s life. Being well prepared and having tackled all the important things before the baby’s birth will make you more calm and ready to embrace motherhood.