Preparing for Baby: Tips from NYC Experts

So you’re having a baby? Congratulations! Time to sit back and relax for the next nine (actually more like ten) months, right? Well, you should certainly relax and be sure to take extra good care of yourself during your pregnancy, but many moms-to-be feel overwhelmed with all there is to do to prepare for the arrival of their little bundles of joy.

To help you navigate the overwhelming world of baby, I got together with some of the industry’s most well known experts to talk about what you really need to do to prepare. Here is our list of seven things to consider:

1. Think about where your baby will sleep and play. For those of us in New York, the nursery may be a section of the living room or our own room, or it may be a full bedroom with windows and all! Whether it’s a closet or entire wing of a home, the experts offer the same advice: stick with the basics and make sure to invest in attractive storage, because you will inevitably acquire more toys and trinkets than you could ever imagine. For ideas and inspiration, I turn to a great blog, Nursery Notations. Interior Designer Andrika King has impeccable taste!

2. Enjoy a little shopping. Babies need a lot of stuff. Stroller, car seat, carrier, monitor, onesies, pjs, tiny little socks, and the list goes on and on. Luckily you are not the first person who needs to shop for a new baby, and the stores who sell all these baby things have registry lists ready and waiting, and they’ve passed the tests of thousands of new moms before you. Allison O’Neill, owner of Bundle in New York, stresses the importance of asking for help when shopping:  “Our store associates are trained to fully understand every product in the store, so take advantage of that and ask questions. They can help you chose what makes most sense for your situation and end up saving you hundreds of dollars.”

3. Consider how you’d like to document baby’s arrival (and the first few months): Time and time again, I hear new moms comment how quickly the first few months go by, so I always encourage them to keep a baby book and take LOTS of pictures. As you think about documenting this time, you might want to consider a professional photographer. “Many moms find one important thing missing when they take their own photos – themselves!” says photographer Alice Garik. “By working with a professional, you’ll be sure to get beautiful pictures that also include you and capture how you feel during this amazing time.” I agree! I love documenting the relationships between family members. The little details can tell such amazing stories: holding a parent’s hand, cuddling the family pet, playing with siblings, and exploring the world around them.

4. Start thinking about childcare. Finding reliable and qualified childcare can be overwhelming, especially in a big city.  If you are returning to work, you will need solid childcare in place whether that is in the form of a daycare or nanny, and most stay-at-home moms, or those who work from home, also find they need regular childcare to stay on top of their personal lives (and maintain their sanity). It’s also a great idea to consider a regular sitter for a “date night” with your partner. Brooke Woodward, founder of New York City-based Metropolitan Sitters recommends: “Having a babysitter for a consistent ‘date night’ will help you keep a good balance and will give you both a few hours to enjoy the company of one another.”  Whether you need a full-time nanny, or just want to have a great person on call for emergencies, using a reputable babysitting service, like Metropolitan Sitters, helps take the stress out of this process. They are experts in matching you with a sitter whose availability, experience, and values will match that of your family.

5. Begin planning your child’s education. Parents are a child’s most important teacher and reading to your child is an easy habit that not only builds vocabulary but can also help you establish a strong bond and comforting routine that will help your child go to sleep at night. Sharon Thompson, founder of Dream Workshop notes: “Sharing a favorite book with your child will create many cherished memories of time together.” Talking to your child during all the small moments of the day is another way to increase his or her vocabulary. For example, while walking down the street with your little one, name the signs you pass or introduce your child to neighbors in the elevator.

Lastly, to relieve anxiety about your child’s education, it may also be help to officially join an organization that has a nursery school while you are pregnant.  Many religious organizations, community centers, and arts organizations have a nursery school, which gives preferential admission to members.

6. Speak with your partner about your financial situation and its security. In mid-June, the USDA reported that a middle class family could incur up to $300,000 in costs to raise a child from birth to age 17 (and this does not include college).  This statistic can certainly be a wake-up call for many, so I talked with Audrey Schwartz, a financial services professional with New York Life. She gave me some good food-for-thought:  “I ask each of my clients ‘if some unforeseen tragedy were to happen, is your income, family, and college savings protected?’  My website has easy-to-use calculators that can help a new parent determine the amount of life insurance needed as well as forecast the cost of your alma mater when your baby is ready to attend.”  Audrey also offered to give any of our readers a free consultation, so please give her feel free to contact her. It will help you sleep better (when baby allows!).

7. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Nurturing the cocoon of wellness and nutrition you carefully sustained for your baby (and yourself) is even more essential post-birth.  Mindful and healthy nutrition habits help not only your body recover faster, but also fuel sustained energy even as you may feel drained from the baby’s ever-changing schedule.  Even though your days and evenings may go by in a whirl, take restorative breaths often, pay attention to the way your body feels, and proactively recruit help when you need a rest.  If you are breast-feeding, continue to replenish your body with proper hydration and nutrient dense foods.  Sara Dan, a fitness and nutrition expert with ZippyT Fit recommends: “Shop and chop fresh vegetables in batches, and keep them in a clear glass container, so they are ready to be tossed into stir-fry, salads, couscous, and late night omelets!”  She also encourages her clients to prepare to reconnect your freezer with frozen vegetables and frozen fruits, and healthy leftovers.  By implementing a proactive nutrition strategy, you and your baby will start your new chapter healthy together.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. Just remember, it takes a village, and be sure to ask for help from yours.

Comments

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Comments

  1. I wished I had these tips when I was getting ready for my daughter’s arrival. I especially love the self-care tip at the end. It IS so important to remember to take care of one self during this new period. <3 to all new moms! and yes, ask for help!

  2. Emily, after the birth of my second son, I thought I was prepared because I learned from the first one. However, it was more overwhelming to care for two kids. Great ideas for the new mommies out there.

  3. Thank you for these helpful tips! You do a great job of simplifying and organizing the overwhelming tasks that all new mothers face.

  4. Great tips that I wish I had when my children were babies. My youngest turns 14 today. 🙂 To all of the new moms out there, enjoy those precious babies!