Becoming a new mom is tough business. You spend months. years (OK, maybe just weeks) preparing for the arrival of your little one, only to realize you're not prepared. Babies are a lot to handle, and it’s wise to try to be as ready as possible for this new way of life. Emergencies might come up, or you might just be too damn tired to hit the store for supplies. That’s why it’s always good to try and figure out what you’ll need to survive your first week of motherhood. After all, the learning curve is brutal, but at least there's one at all, right?
Some of the things on this list have to do with simplifying the process of caring for your baby. Considering how exhausted you’ll be (and the healing you'll have to do thanks to the rigorous and taxing activity that is childbirth) you don’t want to end up doing things the hard way. (Like sterilizing every baby bottle in a pot of boiling water. Seriously, invest in a sterilizer). Other items on this list have to do with keeping the new mama cozy as can be.
Then, of course, there are the things you can do to help make sure you maintain a bit of sanity in an otherwise chaotic and sanity-free time in your life. If you’re getting ready to welcome a new baby into the world, use the following as a checklist and help yourself be as prepared as possible. In other words, you got this, mom-to-be.
A Cozy Robe
Robes are great. They're easy to put on, even when you have birth injuries, and they keep you toasty and warm. If you gave birth, you might have trouble regulating your temperature in those first few postpartum days. Also, it’s pretty easy to breastfeed in a robe.
Sometimes you might need to leave your room while you’re exhausted and maybe feeling too lazy (read: tired) to wear pants, which is cool if you live alone, but a robe might be useful when company is over.
A Ton Of Extra Baby Clothes
I know you probably don’t want to invest in a ton of tiny baby clothes. Baby clothes can add up, plus newborns grow at an alarming speed. I suggest investing in lots of inexpensive onesies and pants that are a bit oversized for your baby. Not only will you be well-stocked in a few sizes that your baby can grow into, but you'll have more than a few pairs to replace the stain-covered ones.
A Proper Feeding Strategy
If you plan to breastfeed, figure out the easiest way you'll be able to meet that goal. Maybe you’ll want to try co-sleeping or even breastsleeping.
If you’re bottle and/or feeding your baby formula, you’ll want to set it up so it’s easy for everyone involved. Maybe buy premixed formula at first. Yes, it's costly, but can you really put a price on sleep?
A Solid Laundry Plan
If you can afford it, maybe opt to get all your clothes dropped off at the dry cleaners for a couple weeks. You’re going to be doing a ton of laundry for the next few years, but more so in the messy early days of motherhood. If you have the luxury of an in-home washer and dryer, maybe set aside one nap time every other day when you sneak away to wash as much as possible.
Oh, and don’t even worry about folding.
A Dishwasher And/Or Disposable Silverware
If you don’t have a dishwasher, and you’re going to become a parent, listen up. You are not going to feel like washing anything with a crying baby in your arms, so either buy one, rent one, or come up with a system that works for you and your family. Worst case scenario, you buy lots of disposable plates, cups, and silverware in the first couple weeks. Yes, it sucks for the environment, but one or two weeks isn’t the end all be all. Buy the stuff that’s made from recycled material, at the very least.
A Comfortable Rocking Or Gliding Chair
I wasn’t sure this was necessary before I became a mom, but my folks bought me one and it made feeding and getting my baby to sleep so much easier. Seriously. Get one.
A Fridge Full Of Frozen And/Or Ready-To-Eat Meals
Hopefully your friends have already dropped off a frozen casserole or two, but if they haven’t, you need to make sure you grocery shop a week or two before the big day. Make all your favorite comfort foods and freeze them up. You’ll be thankful later.
Hide Snacks In Every Part Of The House
Sometimes you are in dire need of a snack, but your baby cries whenever they sense you leave the room. No worries! You’ve packed plenty of snacks away in the nursery, your bedroom, living room, car, and, well, everywhere else. Also, don’t forget to use noise-free wrapping (like a ziplock bag) rather than anything with crumbly wrapping.
Medicines And Other First-Aid Goods
You don’t know what will happen in those first days of motherhood. You might get a belly ache from eating bad cheese, and you’ll be glad for that bottle of anti-nausea medication in the cabinet. Maybe your partner cuts their finger while trying to open up a box of diapers and you need some bandaids. Whatever the case, best to be prepared.
A Decent Camera
OK, you don’t actually need this to survive. However, your baby is only this tiny once. You’re going to regret not taking more photos.
Select Postpartum Products (If You Gave Birth)
I already went over many of the postpartum products that saved my life, and I’m linking you to that article because that include many of the items you’ll need to survive your first week as a mom. Among the items on this list are dermoplast and witch hazel pads (in the event of any, ahem, vaginal discomfort), plus things like streaming services and headphones (so you can marathon The Office while rocking your baby to sleep).