So, you’ve had your baby shower and stocked up on essentials, now it’s time to follow a home checklist, so that you don’t have to worry about anything but your new baby when she arrives.
There’s no doubt that bringing a new little one home can be overwhelming and all-consuming. You may even feel as though you can’t cope with much else for the first six to 12 weeks, and that’s OK. One of the best ways to feel calm is to have a clutter-free home.
“Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stuff that’s not important,” says Dr Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout. A cluttered home makes it more difficult to relax and sends the signal to the brain that work needs to be done. As a new mom, chances are you’ll be busy and sleep deprived, so you want to ensure that your home is a haven where you can rest and relax when your baby is sleeping.
Try these tips to declutter:
- Tackle the nursery first thing in the morning when you’re feeling fresh and energised. Start by washing, folding and putting clothes away – remember to place the most essential items like vests, nappies and babygros in the front of the cupboard or in a drawer that’s easy to access.
- Organise shelves, toys and baby essentials in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, you might want to keep things minimal in the beginning, so you don’t overstimulate your baby. Pack away excess toys and only leave out what’s necessary, such as baby books or soft toys in a basket near the feeding chair or crib.
- Make sure there are plenty of towels, facecloths and other essentials like cotton wool swabs, aqueous cream and nappies within easy reach. It’s important to make designated spaces for these everyday items, so that you can quickly find what you’re looking for, says Dr Carter.
- After the nursery is done, look at items in the rest of the house. If you don’t use it, don’t want it, or don’t need it, get rid of it, says Dr Carter. You can toss, recycle, or donate items. If you use it, but only rarely, store it in a box in the garage to have more space in the house for things you use more often.
- Make room on kitchen counters for sterilisers, bottle warmers and other baby essentials you’ll regularly be reaching for.
Work out a menu plan
Most new moms will agree that babies are the fussiest between 4pm and 7pm, which is often when you’re asking, “What’s for dinner?” Avoid having to multitask by planning ahead. Now is the time to compile shopping lists and set up online accounts, so that all you have to do is order or restock at the push of a button.
Start cooking in bulk and loading your freezer with ready-made meals you simply have to reheat. Or make life even easier by ordering pre-cooked meals in advance.
Here are a few meal delivery services:
- Simply Fresh Foods; www.simplyfreshfoods.co.za
- Brigid’s Catering; www.brigidscatering.co.za
- UCook; www.ucook.co.za
(Also delivers in Johannesburg and Durban)
- The Flying Pan; www.theflyingpan.co.za
Clean, clean, clean!
The cleaner your house is when your baby arrives, the less chance there is she’ll pick up any infections. Get set with a scrubbing brush, mop or cloth and tackle germ hotspots first. The biggest red zone in a home is the kitchen, according to a recent survey conducted by NSF International, not the bathroom like most people would assume.
NSF swabbed for coliform bacteria (a family of bacteria that includes salmonella and E. coli) and found them lurking in:
- More than 75% of dish sponges/rags
- 45% of kitchen sinks
- 32% of countertops
- 18% of cutting boards.
In the study’s findings, the areas in which food is prepared contained more bacteria than many other places in the home.
Warm, moist environments also need to be cleaned regularly. These include areas in the bathroom, kitchen sponges and coffee reservoirs.
Choose good cleaning products
Once your baby arrives, chances are you’ll have to clean up vomit and baby food, not to mention the stains on your baby’s clothes and your floors once she becomes more mobile.
Invest in a good mop. The ultra-absorbent Floorwiz Microfibre Mop, R115 from Verimark, is suitable for tiled, wooden or vinyl floors. It has a machine-washable replacement pad and works well with water, so you don’t need to use harsh chemicals in your home.
For common spills in and around the home, ditch paper towels in favour of microfibre cleaning cloths. They’re quick drying and absorbent.
You’ll also need a gentle, yet effective, stain remover for your baby’s clothes. Purity & Elizabeth Anne’s Baby Stain Remover, R22 from Clicks, is colourant and chlorine free.
Baby proof your home
Although your little one won’t be mobile initially, she’ll grow quickly and before you know it, she’ll be moving and reaching for any object she can find. Rather than waiting until later, spend time baby proofing your home before your baby arrives. Things to consider:
- Cover all plug points with baby proof covers and secure cupboards in the kitchen and living areas with a lock.
- Remove all ornaments or heavy objects from countertops, tables and shelves.
- Ensure that all low cabinets are free from toxic chemicals, cleaning products and dishwasher tablets, which could be mistaken for sweets.
- Store all medication out of sight in high cupboards.
- Invest in stair gates to keep little ones away from stairs unsupervised.
- Ensure windows can be latched securely and ropes from blinds are out of reach.
- Keep electrical cords and equipment, such as heaters, out of access.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.