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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Hey momma! I assume that if you found this page, you must be anticipating the birth of your precious little one. So…Congratulations! These days of waiting and prepping for your baby are so special.
But as special as these day are, I know that they can also feel a little overwhelming, especially as a first time mom. At least that’s how it was for me!
Change was on the horizon and I didn’t quite know exactly what life would be like once our son arrived. And then there were all the decisions. What favorite baby items were worth spending our money one, which birthing class to take (you might like one of these online birthing classes), what kind of delivery plan to create, what to pack to take to our birthing center (this pregnancy hospital bag checklist is helpful!) and so much more! I felt like there was just a lot that I didn’t know and needed to learn to be prepared for our baby’s birth.
One thing that I did know though, was that caring for a baby takes a lot of time and energy. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity as a teenager to help two of my sister-in-law’s after the birth of their babies.
And I got to experience first hand just a little bit of what it was like to take care of a newborn. This made me very aware that anything I could do ahead of time to make those first months of being a new mom less stressful, would be totally worth it!
Now it’s six years later and our fourth child is just a little over 3 months old. 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.
I’ve discovered, as most moms do, that the newborn stage passes so quickly. 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!
The good news is that there are some really basic, simple ways that you can prepare for baby. And that’s what this post is all about!
Doing these things now will help allow you to enjoy your newborn and cut down on your stress level post-baby, which of course is what we all want, right?
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 (like this Cheeseburger Casserole and Oven Ready Lasagna) and soups as well as meatloaf/meatballs 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 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Classic French Bread, Easy Homemade Granola, Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal, 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.
Not sure where to get good freezer meal ideas? Thriving Home has a great list of tried and true recipes. And of course, you can always search Pinterest and find a ton of other great ideas as well.
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 (like this Easy Vegetable Beef Soup or this Creamy White Chicken Chili) 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 on 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
- toiletries like toothpaste, body wash and shampoo
- pads and/or Depends (seriously, it sounds weird, but Depends are a nice alternative to pads for those first days!)
- 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
- dishwasher detergent (or make a big batch of homemade dishwasher detergent instead!)
- 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 remember the nursing pads!
Also, 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 breastfeeding).”
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.
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 are 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.
You might also enjoy:
Life Breath Present
One of my biggest prep goals is to have some meals in the freezer. I think I’ll even attempt to solicit a bit of help from a friend or two during our initial lying in period this time. My other goal is to hopefully get a few small size cloth diapers made for our stash and have Baby Boy mostly fully potty trained by then, so the need to wash often won’t be stressful 🙂
Ah, meals in the freezer are such a lifesaver! And if you can get a friend or two to help, do. Having my mom here to help me the first week has been absolutely wonderful. I still do some things, but it allows me to relax a bit and just enjoy my baby and try to recuperate. Impressed that you make your own diapers! You obviously are more green and frugal than me. 🙂 And hope that potty training goes well. I always dread that.
Best list Ive seen, thanks so much
Thanks for the sweet compliment, Rene! Glad it was helpful….that’s what I was aiming for!
Rachel from Thriving Home
What a lovely site you have! Thanks for linking to our freezer meals. I couldn’t agree more. Having frozen meals on hand is a must-have for new parents.
Thanks Rachel! You are very kind. 🙂