One of the best mantras for the early days with a new baby is: “prepared means shared”. The first few weeks can be a bit of an overwhelming blur so having those baby essentials for the first three months – from nappies and bibs to muslins and babygrows – in an easy-to-find place that everyone in the family is familiar with will really help things go smoothly.
Preparing for a baby: all hail the nappy station
One thing you can have stocked and ready before the baby even arrives is a well-organised storage box for nappies. How you store and organise your nappy essentials depends on where you’ll be changing your tot’s nappy; some people prefer to stick to a dedicated changing area, in which case having a box or cubby for each thing will help keep everything organised.
A newborn averages 12 nappy changes a day, so for maximum convenience you could pop a few changing mats in different spots around the home (the tops of sturdy chests of drawers are good) and have a portable “baby essentials box” to hand. They’re portable, so you can easily bring them with you from room to room (saving you from carrying an infant with a leaky nappy through the house).
These days, you can buy bespoke ones that come with handles and handy compartments for nappies, wipes, cotton wool and cream or you can easily make your own using a large box or basket and dividing it up using storage boxes or even old Tupperware containers.
Don’t forget, you'll also need a bin (ideally one with a lid) nearby as well.
Baby organiser box for feeding
Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed or do a mix of both, there will be essentials you’ll want to have on hand every time your little one needs to eat, especially in those early months when the feeding is constant. If you’re breastfeeding, these might include burp cloths, nursing pads, nipple cream and a bottle of water or snacks.
For bottle-fed babies, a great idea is to get a small, clear, countertop three-drawer set. You can easily label each drawer, and use one to hold lids, nipples and collars, another for teethers etc. This can live beside a dedicated bottle-drying rack for maximum convenience.
Another Pinterest favourite is to create a “baby essentials” trolley – those three-tier metal trolleys on wheels have that little bit more storage, so can usually hold a handy mix of nappy and feeding essentials, plus a spare outfit or two.
Dressing for success: Drawer dividers and clever baby wardrobe hacks
High on your newborn baby shopping list will be lots of vests, sleepsuits, socks and babygrows, so it’s important to have somewhere ready and waiting to store them.
Newborn baby clothes are (adorably) teeny tiny, so for the first the few weeks at least one well organised drawer should be able to hold all your essentials, so long as you use drawer dividers to compartmentalise things. The goal is to make everything as quick and easy to access as possible.
Many people are also lucky to receive lots of cute baby outfits as gifts. However, they usually come in a wide variety of sizes – some people like to gift newborn clothes while others want to help you stock up for when baby grows. Here is where wardrobe dividers can be an absolute lifesaver.
These look like hotel “do not disturb” signs and can be used to segment up your wardrobe into sections (e.g. 3-6 month outfits, 6-9 months etc). You can easily make your own before baby arrives, buy them on Etsy or find free printables on Pinterest. Just pop the outfit into its dedicated slot (it helps to have a few spare baby hangers to hand for any outfits that didn’t come with them), and you’ll have a little collection ready to go as soon as your little one is big enough, and, bonus, you’ll avoid getting frazzled frantically checking sizes as you go.
Speaking of growing babies, it can also be handy to have an empty basket near where you dress your little one – you’ll be shocked at how quickly they grow, and having somewhere to pop those too-small vests will save them working their way back into the mix.
Sweet dreams: Preparing a baby sleep storage box
One thing all newborns do is sleep – a lot (though not always at night!). It can be useful to keep a linen box near the Moses basket or crib to hold spare sheets, extra blankets and muslin cloths. This will be particularly useful in the event of there being middle-of-night nappy leaks or spills – of which there’ll no doubt be a few.