Must haves for new parents: what you will need before (during) and after you have a baby

08/19/2017 Author: Ginny Foster

Experienced and established parents shared their stories and advice on ways to prepare for parenthood and save money in the process.

Many first time parents are eager for tips on what they will need before and after having their baby.  And who better to offer advice than those who have been down that road before?  We asked experienced parents what they wished they would have known and what they found that they needed as they prepared for parenthood.  Listen up, parents-to-be!  This advice could save you both time and money!

Before

You Will Need to Choose Baby Furniture Wisely

Many parents are forewarned of the long hours and sleepless nights that can be expected with a newborn infant.  However, many parents are not prepared for the onset of lower back pain.  Why lower back pain?  Because with the weight of a small baby in their arms, parents find that they are hunched over more and more.  Livestrong offers insight into this often unexpected side effect of caring for little tiny ones.

Sitting upright can ease lower back pain, while slouching and hunching over can make a small irritation feel even worse.

One thing that expecting parents can do to ensure minimum stress is to choose baby furniture that mitigates low back pain.  Adjustable baby changing tables that can raise and lower to match the height of the individual parent are ideal for mitigating lower back pain.  So are straight-backed rockers and gliders.  Amazon.com has a fantastic search engine that can help you find the right baby furniture to match your needs.

Additionally, there are ways that parents can prepare their bodies physically to support the weight of a small child.  Physical health and fitness is important for mother and baby.  FitPregnancy.com has sample exercises and advice that you can share with your doctor to make sure both you and your baby are healthy leading up to the birth of your child.  Make sure all the people within your support group know your commitment to health so they can help you along the way.

Get Started

Set up Payleaf Account for Baby

As you prepare yourself for parenthood, one of the best ways to ensure you have enough resources available for the future is to create a Payleaf account for Baby.  A Payleaf account is an FDIC insured account that helps you save for future goals as you meet milestones along the timeline that you have outlined for yourself.  Even if you are unsure about the future, it is wise to have money set aside in a savings account that you can access at any time.  Payleaf helps to set funds aside for the future, to receive gifts from friends and family towards your goals, and to receive rewards for meeting your timeline and total amount goals.  You can also access additional opportunities to earn income through Payleaf.  It never hurts to start saving early, even if you are just beginning to think about what your life will be like after adding a baby to your dynamic.

Babies quickly learn to pull themselves up, and then reach for and grab anything and everything that they can!

Find Deals on Childproofing

Once the baby is home, you and your partner’s time will be in short supply.  In the weeks leading up to your new arrival, it is wise to get your house prepared.  Time flies, and soon you’ll be chasing your curious toddler around the house.  Baby-proofing is an essential step in making your home baby-friendly, and you can do it while saving money and not sacrificing safety.  Pinching small fingers, pulling down top-heavy shelves that crash on little craniums, and eating objects that are choking hazards are disasters that can be avoided.  Not sure where to start with your baby-proofing efforts?  This list of the top nine child-proofing items from Parents Magazine is an excellent place to start.  

How to Clean Baby Toys

One of the most important, but most undervalued questions is: how do I clean my child’s toys, and how often?  Young children are the best hosts for bacteria and viruses.  Thus, asking this question is critical, both at home and where your child is spending a lot of time.  Make sure that wherever your baby is spending time playing, especially with other children, that the toys are cleaned regularly.  For places like day-care where there are many children playing with toys, a regular cleaning should happen every one to two weeks.  

Babies will put anything and everything in their mouths! Keeping their toys clean and sanitary means less germs for baby and for parents.

One of the best guidelines for cleaning children’s toys comes from Clorox.  The recommended ratio for cleaning solution is 2 teaspoons of bleach to one gallon of water.  Depending on the size of the toy, you can either soak your child’s washable, color-fast toys in the solution for 2 minutes, or scrub with a cloth that was soaked in the solution.  Rinse with water, and let the toys air dry.  Obviously, you would want to select toys that are plastic for this type of cleaning.  Porous or stuffed toys require a different cleaning method.

During

Have Multiple Plans to Get to the Hospital Based on Your Location

Babies don’t come with timers yet!  Doctors can guess, but sometimes we just don’t know the exact moment we will be blessed with our new arrival.  Especially for parents on the go, it is wise to have planned numerous routes to get to the hospital, depending on your location.  

Make your list of family and friends to call well in advance. This will give you peace of mind and also prevent the potential for drama after the delivery.

At work?  Have your route planned.  Baby decides that rush-hour is a good time to make their debut?  Have alternates planned and practiced for every scenario!  After talking with mothers, the one theme that repeated over an over was the peace of mind that came from having a plan.  

Have a List of People to Call

When the time comes, there will be a lot going on and you may be slightly more concerned with other matters.  Keep a list of family members’ phone numbers (right beside your list of routes to the hospital, preferably) that you want to inform about the urgent delivery.  In the event that you are personally unable to call, or complete the whole list, the phone call list an be easily delegated to another person who can make the calls on your behalf.  Being prepared in this way can make for some ease in the moment . . . and prevent future hurt feelings.  

After

Frozen Meals That Are Easy and Healthy

A new mother just got home with her baby!  Think she’s ready to waltz into the kitchen to cook dinner?  When asked, an overwhelming amount of new mothers said what they appreciated most in terms of help from others was quick, easy food.  It can be such a relief, when every little moment with your new baby is precious, to have something you can just pull out of the freezer and toss in the oven.  Things like homemade lasagna, pizza, or casseroles can be easily stored for later and make for hearty meals when time does not allow for the required prep time.  The grocery store sells these types of items in their frozen section, but let’s be real.  Homemade is always better.  One of the best one-liners we heard from an experienced mom: “Cook the girl some lasagna”. 

Continue Contributing to Payleaf

After you have your newborn bundle of joy, you receive lots of congratulations!  And you deserve it – you worked really hard to have your new baby!  But as every parent will remind us, saving for the future has only just begun.  You may need another milestone purchase down the road to support your growing family.  Perhaps an upgrade in size of vehicle or a new place to live in a better school district?  Just because you have met your Payleaf milestone does not mean you stop saving to your Payleaf account.  Keep going!  The financial health of your family will depend upon your discipline and your financial planning abilities.  As you set new goals and new timelines within Payleaf, you will have additional opportunities to receive rewards for meeting your own goal amounts on time.

Get Started

Going Out to Eat Where Kids Eat Free

You know all those signs at restaurants you never paid any attention to?  The ones that boast that kids eat free?  Those shall be your beacons now.  Those pillars of promised bargains will guide you from restaurant to eatery, from buffet to pizzeria, saving you money at each stop.  And why not?  You have enough expenses.  Many parents recommend that you take advantage of the offers, or at the very least take the freebie home to save for lunch the next day.

One of the things to emphasize here is that many parents say they did not eat an entire meal, or a hot meal for months after their baby arrived.  Why?  Because their little bundle of joy requires so much time and attention!  Having the time and resources to prepare meals in advance, and keep meals healthy, requires discipline and foresight.  Parents Magazine recommends preparing meals in advance to keep ahead of hunger and have a healthy advantage as you grow your family.

Concluding Wisdom from Experienced and Established Parents

In summary, there are many things that you can prepare before, during and after the arrival of your new baby.  Having a calm and stable environment in which a parent can plan for the future and connect with their baby is absolutely important.  Additionally, having the foresight to set up a savings fund for a new baby gives parents a head start on their journey to parenthood.  You can start years in advance, nine months in advance, or even a few weeks in advance. No matter when you begin to save, Payleaf is a fantastic resource.  

Many parents emphasized baby-proofing as an important part of the journey to parenthood. Having a clean and safe environment for baby to grow and play is important.  So are lists and plans that ensure you are prepared for the important day!  And afterwards, many parents say that meal preparation and eating out require new strategy and focus.  

The advice we received from many established and experienced parents was overwhelming, and we want to thank them all for sharing their stories and wisdom.

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