Have you ever heard the phrase “a baby takes over your house”? It is so true! Almost every room is affected by bringing home a baby. During pregnancy, prepare your home for a baby. Preparing your home ahead will relieve stress and help keep from being overwhelmed later.
There are many items to find space for throughout your home. Figure out locations for all the items and actually set them up and out at least a month before the baby arrives. This way you are ready when the baby decides to make his/her arrival. In addition, this way you can see everything and it is a good time to test things out. If something doesn’t work or you change your mind then you can make appropriate changes.
Certain items you might not have or use right away, but it is a good idea to think about them and prepare for where they will go. Be sure to keep all the receipts in case something doesn’t work or you need to make an exchange or return.
A baby changes so much their first year and goes through so many different stages. Babies start different stages at different ages. So you want to think through and get each room ready to prepare your home for a baby. For more on getting ready for a baby check out my Ultimate Baby Planning Guide – a 30 item checklist to preparing for a baby here. It includes a printable list!
Prepare a Nursery
The baby will need a space to sleep, house their clothes and items, and change diapers. Although the baby might not spend much time there in the beginning, eventually the baby will use its own room.
Where Will Baby Sleep
At first you may have the baby sleep in your room in a bassinet or pack n play. It is to totally your preference. Do what works best for you and the baby as long as baby is safe.
Prepare the crib in the nursery. If you need to put one together do this well in advance before baby comes. Then put the mattress, waterproof mattress pad, and sheet in the crib and you are done. It’s relatively easy to prepare the crib since babies are not supposed to have anything in the crib with them until they are at least 1 year old.
Prepare a changing station
Prepare and stock up the changing table in the nursery with all kinds of items including the following:
- Diaper cream
- Hand sanitizer
- Changing table covers
- Q tips
- Healing ointment
- Couple of toys to distract them during changes
Also, depending on where the nursery is located, you may have another diaper changing station. For example, our nursery is on the 2nd floor, but we spend lots of time on the first floor so I have a changing table located on our first floor as well.
Prepare the Baby’s Wardrobe
Prepare closets and dressers with onesies, jammies, socks, pants, and outfits. Have a few of each item washed and ready for the baby to wear. However, do not go overboard with preparing a ton of newborn clothes since you do not know what size baby will be when born. Both my babies were only in the newborn size for a week so I didn’t need many newborn clothes. It may be a good idea to have a few newborn clothes just in case, but keep the tags on some of them to return if you do not need them. A tip to keep in mind is a baby can always wear something a little big vs wearing something too small. For more on how to organize a closet click here.
Some other helpful essentials for the nursery:
- A humidifier is another common item you may use if your baby has a stuffy nose or cold
- Comfy chair with footrest
- Garbage can with lid or diaper genie
One more area I prepared in the nursery was a feeding area. This way when my baby woke in the night to eat I didn’t have to go far and could do it right in the nursery. Some choose to do it in their bedroom or bed which is fine too, but for me the nursery was best so the baby didn’t wake up my spouse. For more on how to set up a feeding area see below.
Feeding and Pumping Area(s)
In general, a baby eats a many times throughout the day, especially in the beginning.
So when preparing your home for a baby it may be helpful to set up multiple feeding areas. I found it essential to have a feeding station in my living room, the nursery, and in my bedroom. When the baby got up in the middle of the night I fed them in the nursery. Right before bed at night or early in the morning I would feed them in my bedroom. Throughout the rest of the day I fed them in the living room.
Items to have at a feeding station:
- Comfy chair. You are going to be sitting here a lot. In the living room I used a recliner. The nursery had a rocker with a foot stool. In my bedroom I sat on the bed with pillows supporting my back.
- Table. It is nice to have a place to put all of the items below while feeding.
- Boppy to support the baby and to make feeding easier on your body.
- Several burp clothes
- Nipple shield or other feeding tools if needed. I used a shield and found it handy to have several at each station.
- Full water jug or cup. It is important to get enough water while breastfeeding and this was a good time to get hydrated.
- Snacks. I kept several snacks at my living room feeding station because that was a good time for me to grab something to eat. So I kept a granola bar, and other small packaged snacks handy.
- The remote, a book, your phone or something to do while the baby eats.
Once my baby was no longer eating during the night, I set up a pumping station in my bedroom. This way I could pump in the night if needed or any other times it was necessary. I had a tv tray stand next to a chair that had my pump, all the parts, hands free pumping bra (which is one of the best inventions ever), and kleenex. Also, I would set my phone on that chair before bed so I had it when I got up groggy in the night to pump.
Living Room Area
This is the area you will most likely be in the most with a new baby. It is where the baby will eat, sleep, play and hangout. The area may include a swing, floor or play mat, bouncy seat, jumperoo or playstation, pack n play, and various toys. In addition, set up a comfortable feeding area for you and your baby using the information above.
The kitchen is another area the baby needs a lot of space when trying to prepare your home for a baby. If you are using bottles you will need to make storage room for bottle and bottle parts. Bottle drying racks and grass will take up your kitchen counter. To clean bottles you need bottle brushes.
Then there’s creating cabinet and drawer space for bibs, spoons, bowls, cups, baby food and formula. Made bottles and food will need some fridge space. Once your baby is ready for solids (around 4-6 months) then you will need space for a high chair, and/or counter space for a bumbo or table top seat. Set table top items on hard flat surfaces away from the edge or other harmful items the baby could get its hands on.
The baby needs to get clean so you may keep a baby tub, baby shampoo/soap, towels, and wash clothes in your bathroom. When the baby is a little older he or she will need something to do in the bath so you may have a few bath toys as well. An alternative to a baby bath tub is using a kitchen or bathroom sink as a baby bath tub. It just doesn’t have quite the support.
Another space to consider while trying to prepare your home for a baby is the space needed in a garage, porch or patio, or outside storage facility. Again, you might not have all these items right away, but soon enough they will have them. Strollers, little cars, toys, bikes, a wagon will all need to go somewhere.
Other Miscellaneous items to prepare in your home
There are other miscellaneous items to think about where to put when you prepare your home for a baby. Like where are you going to keep the diaper bag, a car seat carrier and its accessories. It is something you will use all the time so it needs to be kept somewhere easily accessible.
Baby Safety In the Home
When you prepare your home for a baby, always think about safety first. Keep things away from window blinds or shades with strings that could choke the baby. Set things up away from windows where the baby could be in the sun, or from decor and furniture that could hurt the baby. The baby won’t be mobile right away, but it happens fast so it doesn’t hurt to prepare ahead.
Move and/or put away things that baby could get into and hurt themselves with like various decor and nicknacks, vases, and sharp furniture. Some other helpful safety precautions include putting locks on kitchen cabinets, covers on outlets, and latches on drawers. Stores offer a whole baby proofing kit for you house.
Gates are a necessity for steps when the baby is mobile. Think where you would need them and how many you need. For example, we live in a 2 story and need a gate for the stairs going down to the basement and the stairs going up to the 2nd floor. This way they wouldn’t fall down or try to crawl up the steps and fall. We didn’t put a gate at the top of the 2nd floor stairs because we weren’t up there often. If we were upstairs with the baby, we would close the door in the room we were in so he could not get out.
Besides the home, car safety is important too. Get age, height, and weight appropriate car seats. Install them properly as well. Your local fire and/or police department can help install your seat. If you have trouble contacting them, check with your doctor or local hospital and they should have recommendations too.
Clean and Organize Your House
Now that you have your baby items set up and prepared all throughout the house, give your house a deep clean before baby comes. Likely you won’t have the opportunity to do this for awhile with a new baby. Clean up any piles or messes and put everything in its correct place.
Then, stock up on toiletries, paper products, and household items that you go through. With the addition of your baby be sure to stock up on diapers, wipes, and diaper cream as well.
Final Thoughts on How to Prepare Your Home for a Baby
Make things easier on yourself during this time by preparing your home for baby in advance. Do not procrastinate because your baby could come early. Instead of stressing near the end of pregnancy, be prepared and feel in control before the time comes where the baby controls you.