Practical money saving ways to prepare for baby, so that you can relax and enjoy your sweet little one once they are here!
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All of us want to be able to just relax and enjoy cuddling our new baby once they arrive- we’ve waited 9 long months to meet this amazing little person after all! But the reality is, even though you’ll hopefully have moments of being able to enjoy just snuggling your precious little one, babies take a lot of time and energy to take care of! In fact, I’ve been amazed with each of our three children just how much my life revolves around taking care of them those first several months. The good news is that with a little planning, you can prepare for your baby’s arrival and help make those first several months much less stressful!
It’s been just a little over 3 months since we had our fourth child and I can’t stress enough how much planning ahead has helped alleviate my stress level and allowed me to enjoy these days as much as a busy, sleep deprived mom can. I’ve been so, so grateful for every single thing that I took the time to do to help make these days easier. The newborn stage passes so quickly and I knew that unless I was intentional in preparing beforehand, I would end up feeling frustrated that I wasn’t able to cuddle and enjoy my baby more!
There were 7 things that I did to help prepare for our baby’s arrival. And if you want to be able to enjoy your newborn and cut down on your stress level, I’d recommend doing them too!
7 Ways to Prepare for Baby (and save your sanity!)
1. Stock the freezer with food
In those first several weeks post baby, it is such a blessing to be able to simply pull dinner out of the freezer and have one less thing to worry about for the day! Actually, I love that feeling any time! But, it is especially nice when you are adjusting to life with a new baby.
I like to stock my freezer in the following three ways.
* FREEZER MEALS
I make a variety of casseroles and soups as well as meat loaf/meat balls and marinated chicken and then stick them in the freezer. Then all I need to is to pull out one of these and I’ll have my dinner mostly complete once I bake or heat up the dish. (I love using disposable pans, that way all of my baking dishes aren’t tied up in the freezer!)
I also like to make extra homemade bread, homemade granola, homemade breakfast sandwiches and even cookies to put in the freezer too. Really, anything like that, especially if it’s something you typically eat anyway, is very helpful to have ready to pull out to use when needed.
Tip: Be sure to label your foods with the baking/reheating instructions as well as any additional instructions. This will save you the hassle of having to find the recipe to get that info later. Plus if your husband or someone else is helping you, it will make it super easy for them to know what needs to happen!
* CONVENIENCE FOODS
While not as healthy, sometimes convenience foods like chicken nuggets, frozen pizzas and fish sticks are just nice to have. As I see deals for these, I’ll grab the occasional box to give me a little bonus boost. We try to avoid prepared foods but sometimes, well, I think they have their place!
* COOKED MEAT
Obviously this isn’t as handy as having a whole dish prepared, but it’s also nice to have some already cooked chicken, ground beef and even sausage on hand to speed up dinner prep. This is especially great to throw in soups because you don’t even need to take the time to thaw it! But I like to use it to make lots of other things as well.
Tip: Depending what you plan to use the ground beef for, it’s helpful to go ahead and cook it up with the onion already added. Or if you plan to use it for tacos, go ahead and add the taco seasoning to it before you freeze it.
2. Stock up on household basics
It takes a little bit to get back into the swing of things with grocery shopping, especially if you have other children as well as the new baby. You’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you gradually stock up on the basic pantry and household items that your family typically uses.
You can do this a couple of ways. I know one person who, in order to not stress her grocery budget, simply buys an extra item or two each week for several months before baby arrives. Since I deal shop and tend to stockpile a bit anyway, I prefer to just gradually stock up on these items as they go on sale. I often start buying extra as much as 4 months before baby arrives. This allows me to buy the items at really low prices while at the same time stocking up.
Here are some of the things you might find helpful to stock up on:
– laundry detergent (this is my favorite– it gets stuff so clean!)
– toiletries like toothpaste, body wash and shampoo
– hand soap
– paper plates for the first week or so (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher!)
– pasta and rice
– toilet paper and tissues
– thank you cards and stamps (not really a household basic, but you’ll be so glad to have them on hand!)
3. Stock up on diapers and wipes
I highly recommend having at least several packs of newborn diapers as well as several packs of wipes bought ahead of time to save having to make extra trips to the store. With newborn babies easily going through up to 10 diapers a day, you’ll soon discover that a pack of diapers doesn’t last long at all! Plus, if you buy ahead you can watch for sales and hopefully save yourself some money too.
Planning to stock up on diapers? Check out my 4 Tips on How to Save Money and Build a Diaper Stockpile for even more helpful ideas.
Tip: If you have other children that are still in diapers as well, buy ahead for them too. There is nothing more annoying that realizing at 11 pm. that you just used the last diaper in the house! Ask me how I know!
4. Buy post-baby essentials
When you’re thinking about how to make your life easier after baby, it’s easy to forget your own post-baby needs. But you’ll be grateful to have plenty of pads and/or disposable underwear and ibuprofen/Tylenol on hand. And don’t forget about nursing pads! (If you prefer reusable nursing pads, you can get 5 pairs for free -just pay shipping- when you use code FRUGALMOM1 at checkout.)
And don’t forget the snacks! When I asked on The Thrifty Frugal Mom Facebook page what people found helpful to do to make things go more smoothly after the birth of a baby reader Monica said this, “Stock up on diapers and plenty of ready to eat snacks. (I was so hungry while breast feeding).”
Some of my favorite go-to snack ideas include nuts, fruit, granola bars/Energy Bites and cheese sticks.
5. Remember the siblings
The arrival of a new baby can be a tough adjustment for older siblings, especially if they aren’t very old themselves. It’s helpful to purchase a few fun toys ahead of time and have them handy to pull out when needed. (If you need some inexpensive ideas, here’s a list of 50 Gifts for Kids- all for $10 or less!) Or if you are wanting to be super frugal, arrange to borrow a few toys from a friend instead. We also like to go to the library and get a bunch of new books and books on tape. If your children love books as much as ours do, this is a real lifesaver!
You can also prepare a few fun activities to do as well. If you need some ideas, checkout my Pinterest board. If your child is a little older you might also want to consider some of these educational ideas too.
I’ve also found that it’s beneficial to include the children in helping with the new baby as much as possible. They love feeling needed and important! Reader Susie shared a great way of doing this. She said, “Make a small basket for after the baby comes with diapers, wipes, pacifier, burp rag, receiving blanket (my absolute favorite blankets– perfect for swaddling!) etc. As you move from room to room, just grab the basket with all the ‘baby items’ including your phone. It helps especially if there’s younger children and they want to help. When you move from one area to another just grab your basket!”
6. Line up help
I’m blessed to have my mom come help me for a week after my baby is born. It allows me to sit back, rest, focus on healing and just enjoy my baby while someone else makes sure everything happens. And I’ve been especially grateful to have her be able to take the baby at night those first several days when the baby isn’t settled into any kind of sleep routine and doesn’t want to settle well at night.
With each of our children we’ve also had someone help out a day or two a week for several weeks after that as well. It’s been so nice and I can’t recommend it enough! Sometimes that help has volunteered their services and sometimes we’ve gone looking for someone who is willing. If you don’t think you’ll need help with daily housework, you might still want to consider lining someone up to do your cleaning, do your laundry and/or entertain your older children occasionally to give you a chance to nap.
And by all means, if someone offers to help you, let them! It’s not every day that you have people actually wanting to give you a hand. And they’ll enjoy the blessing of being able to do something for someone else while you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy those newborn days more too as a result!
7. Pre-select birth announcements
Reader Monica O. sent an email with this great idea. She said, “One thing I remember doing that helped and was kind of fun was pre-selecting one or two birth announcements online and filling in as much information as I could before our son was born. Then, after he was born, all I had to do was upload my favorite picture, type in his length and weight, and press the order button. As an added bonus, a helpful friend gave us some baby themed return address labels as a gift that I could use when sending out announcements. ”
I love this and had totally forgotten that I had done this very thing with our firstborn! It made is super easy to get the birth announcements out soon after he was born instead of getting pushed off for a couple of months (or not done at all!) like happened with our other three.
What do you recommend that parents-to-be do to prepare for baby and make those post baby days more enjoyable?