A baby is on the way. How wild is that to say out loud? It gives me goosebumps just knowing how many amazing things are on the horizon for you.
Obviously, there is alot to get in order before baby arrives. It can be overwhelming to think of everything that needs to be accomplished. And at your current state, extra stress is NOT what you need. My hopes is that, by taking on this nesting challenge, you will get everything done to where you feel prepared, but it is spread out enough that it doesn’t leave you feeling stressed out. Each project is designed to take one week to complete.
Take this set up at strictly or as openly as you like. You may decide to swap projects 1 and 7, or you may decide to disperse food prep over the full challenge time. Whatever works best for you! Again, this is not meant to add stress to your life, but make it easier!
When you start this challenge is completely up to you. When I created it, I imaged around 28-30 weeks pregnant would be ideal, although the final project of a “last clean” should happen right before you bring home baby (although none of us know EXACTLY when that might be). So be lenient with yourself.
Let’s jump into the challenge!
Project 1: Food Prep
Once new baby is home, cooking meals becomes difficult, yet fueling your body becomes SO important. As a new mom (and dad) you need your energy! Plus, if you have other littles at home, they’ve got to eat too!
Meal prep was a huge life saver with both of my babies. It reduced so much stress when dinner time rolled around. I have to frantically search for food or stress through attempting to cook a full meal. I would just pop a pre-made casserole in the oven or dump a bag of crock post contents in.
Now, you don’t have to prep 30 meals this week, but it might be nice to get started on a few (maybe 10 or so) and then continue to make more as the weeks come one. As you make a dish for your family, could you make a second and freeze it for baby?
The absolute best place to find a long list of freezer meals that meet your family’s taste preference is Pinterest. If you do a search for “Pre-Baby Freezer Meals”, you are going to see this post pop up first thing! It’s been shared over SEVENTY THOUSAND times since I wrote it! It has a ton of great recipes that are both freezer dump meals and freezer casseroles. Once you go through that one, browse through my “Prepping for two under two” post. It has about 10 more of my all time favorite recipes at the bottom. I did a bunch of doubles or recipes when I prepped for baby #2 and it made things much easier.
The biggest piece of advice when it comes to meal prep: Do a ton of prep work before heading to the store. Make a full list and check it twice to ensure you aren’t missing any ingredients. Make sure you have enough casserole pans, foil, wrap, and freezer storage bags before you get to cooking.
And lastly, call in reinforcements if you need it! I’ve done both of my prep days with my younger sister and it made some wonderful memories.
Next: Research and test out a grocery pick-up or delivery service. We used this heavily when my second daughter was born. We are able to order groceries online and pick up same day if a time slot is available (Walmart, HEB and Kroger all currently offer same day). It took some time to get used to their system and “stock” all of our most used items into my accounts favorite folder.
If you plan to use a service like this, get acquainted with it before baby arrives. You can also look into signing up for Amazon Pantry. I did then when we moved into our first home and we needed all those every day essentials. It was the bomb.
Another tip: If grocery delivery or pick-up is not something available in your area, then make a list of your family’s essential items that you would typically pick up if you were going to the grocery store. This way if husband or a wonderful family member/friend offers to go for you, you have a thought-out list ready to go and you aren’t scrambling to think of things when the time comes.
Week 2: Educate and Begin to Stock Up
Educate.If you have not already taken your birthing class, time is tickin’! While you’re delivering hospital will likely offer a class on a Saturday, you could also consider taking an online class. It has its perks! You get to take it in the comfort of your own home, whenever you like and you have the options to replay over and over to make sure you are getting all the info. Hilary, a labor and delivery nurse, has an awesome course that covers just about everything you would ever need to know. You can read more about it here.
Stocking up. Now would be a good time to check on your stockpile of baby wipes and diapers to see if you need to purchase any additional. Here’s a diaper stockpile list, but keep in mind that every baby is different. My first daughter grew out of size 1 diapers QUICK while my second seemed to be in them forever. Make sure you have at least a few boxes of each size on hand (through size 2).
There are also some non-baby essentials you may want to stock up on as well. Our family switches to paper plates for the first week or two after we bring home a new baby to cut down on dishes. If you have any pets, you may want to stock up on their needed items. Batteries, toilet paper, paper towels are just a few other things we have on our non-baby essential checklist.
Lastly, it may be a good idea to stock up on items for baby’s medicine cabinet. While I hope you do not have a sick baby at ANY time in the future, you’ll be happy you have a few of the essentials on hand if you do. Going to Walmart at 2 AM to pick up infant fever reducer is no fun (speaking from experience). Here’s a list of what we stock in ours.
Project 2: Declutter
NOTE: my personal preference when taking on declutter/cleaning tasks is to separate my ducluttering and cleaning. I like to go through the whole house and remove all necessary items and then go through the next week and do the deep clean.However, you could declutter a room then immediately deep clean it and just take the two weeks to do the whole house if this aligns more with your preferences.
When you have a baby, it seems that everything in life seems to need to happen faster. Putting groceries away needs to happen quickly, finding a matching pair of socks for mama to get out the door for a doctor appointment needs to happen quickly, finding a pen and paper to write down the phone number for a babysitter that your best friend just referred needs to happen quickly.
And the #1 thing that can slow us down: CLUTTER.
Now, even if you think your home is great and there’s no need to declutter, you also have to remember that baby brings a lot of stuff with them when they arrive. Baby swings, toys, all the gear needed to breastfeed, bottle feed, spoon feed, all the extra clothes (so.many.clothes). You need to make room for all of that stuff.
This week, it’s time to declutter the areas that are issues and make additional room for what’s to come in week 3: prepping those decluttered spaces.
Here are a few spaces you can focus on:
-Your Closets. It can be tough to throw out clothing while you are pregnant because you very well may wear it again after baby comes. But take some time to go through and see what can be donated. Organize as best as you can. Use space-saving hangers and storage accessories when possible.
-The Kitchen Pantry and Fridge. Check for expired foods. Organize things into logical places.
-Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers. The biggest thing we tossed out was all the multiples. Somehow my husbands old college set of utensils was still around. We had 2.5 sets of measuring cups, like 16 measuring spoons, 2 garlic presses and enough spatulas to arm an IHOP kitchen. We also had an entire drawer full of koozies from various events and weddings and 3 wine openers (we kept all of those). My point is, when you really LOOK at what you have, you may have alot that isn’t needed.
-The Cabinets: Bathroom, Laundry Room, etc. Searching for things that are old, no longer useful or duplicates.
Project 4: Deep Clean
Considering you are now VERY pregnant, don’t try to deep clean your entire house in one weekend. Split it up and try to just tackle one room at a time.
When you start your deep clean, always work top to bottom. Be sure to clean ceiling fans, high up shelves all the way down to the baseboard.
Here are a few areas that are commonly forgotten:
- Blinds: easiest way to clean them if with the attachment that comes with your vacuum cleaner. However if you do not have one, Amazon has about the niftiest tool ever to help clean them in no time flat.
- Top shelf: Those shelf that are above eye level are the least likely to be dusted on regular occasions.
- Behind Furniture: this includes behind beds, dressers, couches, etc. Again, use an attachment from your vacuum to reach these areas and DO NOT attempt to move them on your own.
- Baseboards. Wipe them down with a cleaning solution. Once they are dry, you can wipe them down with a dryer sheet to help keep them clean.
According to WebMD, most cleaning products are safe to use while pregnant, but you ALWAYS want to ensure you are using them in a well ventilated area. If you have to bring in the big guns (odor wise), it might be best to ask a friend or your partner to help with that part of the cleaning.
At some point before the baby comes, you will also want to have your carpets deep cleaned. You will be so happy you did once baby is crawling around!
Project 5:- Prep For mama
- Ensure you have your postpartum care kit stocked and ready to go.
- Consider making padsicles in order to help with any down there postpartum pain.
- Make sure you have plenty of nursing bras on hand (I temporarily removed my regular bras from my drawer while BF to sure I didn’t have to spend time searching)
- Get you some granny panties. Like the big ol’ cotton Fruit of the Loom panties. You can thank me later.
- Prep postpartum clothes. I like to set up a drawer with comfy clothes (think leggings, tanks, loose-fitting t-shirts). Having a dedicated space makes it easier to get dressed quickly!
- If you have not already, pack your hospital bag this week! I’ve had the honor to pack for 2 little ones and learned alot in each instance. My greatest takeaways from each time: pack comfy clothes over cute nursing gowns, skip the full make-up bag and only take essentials, and pack a “just in case bag”. More details on my hospital bag experience here.
Project 6: Prep Space for Baby
Now that you actually have everything you need after stocking up, it’s time to start putting things into a logical place and getting truly ready to bring baby home.
- Put any finishing touches on the Nursery.
- Assemble any baby gear that is not yet put together.
- Wash all baby clothes and organize in closet and drawers.
- Set up mom and dad’s room for baby’s temporary stay close by. We used a rock-n-play and also kept our pack in play close by for the use of the diaper changing station. For both of our babies, we moved the glider from their room into our bedroom so that I could sit and feed at night. I always liked to have extra clothes for baby downstairs and in the bedroom as well. This would help if there were any blow-outs or major spit up’s at night.
- Disperse supplies through the house. Bottles of hand sanitize, burp clothes and baskets with wipes, diaper and cream are just a few things we would keep in the living room during those first few months.
Project 7: Organize Your Affairs
At this point in both my pregnancy’s (around 36-38 weeks), I was totally over the physical work that came with nesting. Instead I took on the “administrative” tasks so to speak. Surprisingly, there was alot to do!
First off, if you have any other children who will need modified child care once new baby arrives, now is the time to ensure all of that is taken care of. Ensure day care or schools know who will be authorized to pick up your child in the case that you are in the hospital or simply unable to.
Ensure Maternity Leave Paperwork is complete. Make a quick call to your HR department to make sure you have everything in line for your time away with baby. This may be a good time to start tying up any loose ends with work tasks and ensuring the proper person is delegated to any open-ended projects.
Make sure all hospital registration is complete. If there is any paperwork you need to take with you, place it in your hospital bag.
Do one last mental check through your insurance. Are there any forms you need to complete?
Based on when you baby is coming, what bills will be due shortly there after? Can you pay them early? If not, set reminders.
Make sure to fill any prescriptions that may be needed for yourself or other family members in the coming weeks after baby is born.
If you plan to send out birth announcements, pick out a few that you like before baby comes. Also, be sure you have all family addresses on hand for when it comes time to send them out!
If you plan to do newborn photos, you will want to make sure you have a photographer lined up.
Project 8: Final Clean and Rest
You are in the home stretch mama! You really need to be relaxing and hopefully spacing out all of these tasks has given you peace of mind that YOU ARE READY and you can just sit back and enjoy these last few days with baby in belly.
I hope this challenge helped you! Be sure to follow along with my little family of 4 on Instagram and message me with any feedback you have!