I’m due in about 2 weeks. Ask me what I’ve done to prepare for baby #4 and I’ll tell you I’ve done nothing.
I say I have done nothing because we have no crib, the baby clothes are still in the attic, and an additional car seat has yet to be installed. In fact, if you walked into my house, you’d be hard pressed to find any evidence that we are actually expecting to have a baby… a hurricane perhaps, but not a baby. If you look closely, you may find a package of newborn diapers sitting on the floor and a couple of side snap baby shirts because last week I thought to myself, “I should do something to get ready for the baby.”
However, I have been preparing in a different way. There are 3 other small humans in this house that rely on me and I’ve found that preparing for subsequent children is less about buying things and getting ready for the baby, and more about prepping for siblings who are still going to expect to be fed regardless of how much you’ve slept.
So in the weeks leading up to babies number 2, 3, or (in this case) 4, the “prep” is really making sure that the house can continue to run somewhat smoothly without the need of both your hands or any of your brain cells.
Here are some things we’ve done or almost finished on the baby 4 checklist:
– Declutter/home maintenance.
If it needs fixing, fix it, if it needs painting, paint it, and if it’s piled up on your dining room table, trash it/recycle it/put it away.
Of course there are things you can’t anticipate — I think my most hectic day after #3 was born was about a week postpartum when an appliance or something had broken and the guy came to fix it right as a friend was bringing some dinner and I’m holding the baby and the dog escapes and one of my children was outside in the backyard in his underwear for some reason… it wasn’t my best look. Those things happen. But if you’re dying to get a home project done, do it pre-baby; otherwise, it’s on hold for at least the next three months (or years).
– Set up the house so that your kids can be more self-sufficient.
The number of times kids want a drink or snack or something feels like it goes up exponentially when you have a newborn.
Set up your fridge and kitchen with some “anytime snacks” that are easily accessible. For example, kids can have water anytime and the glasses are within reach. Grapes are pre-washed and in the fridge in an easy to open container. Pay attention to the things the kids need help with the most and see if you can make adjustments so they can be a bit more self sufficient.
– Have dinner ready.
The baby isn’t going to know whether or not their nursery is finished but you can count on your family wondering (demanding) what’s for dinner every night. Even if you are lucky enough to have a spouse with leave, you’ll both be tired and busy. Having some meals in the freezer can be a life saver.
Last time around I started making double batches of dinner, and freezing some and cooking ahead while my kids were in school… but this time around I’ve got a two year old and two jobs and 3 kids total so I took the easy route and headed to Dream Dinners. I was out in an hour with 10 different meals (33 servings) with everything from Steak Gorgonzola to Cornflake Crusted Chicken Tenders.
What’s for dinner? Check the fridge.
– Have some (quiet) fun stuff to do.
Newborns = lots of naps (and sneaking in a nap when you can). We’re packing up a “Big Brother Box” with quiet or outdoor activities the kids can enjoy while I
take a nap on the couch care for the baby. In the box we’re putting a bubble machine and water toys (for outside time) and new books, puzzles, popcorn and a movie for inside activities. The boys will open this up when they come home to see the baby. (Memberships to museums, passes for outdoor activities are another great thing for this box so the big kids can go out with one parent so the other parent stays home to nap take care of the baby.)
So when this little hurricane finally comes, the house is prepped, the fridge is stocked, the kids have entertainment and we can spend a little time getting used to being a family of 6.
… We should probably also get a crib.
What are your best tips for getting ready for a new baby when you have older siblings? Leave a tip in the comments below to pass along to other moms…