Organizing for a New Baby

When you have a new baby, it's easy to get overwhelmed—your workload doubles and your free time is cut in half. Peter Walsh says there are small things you can do that will help you to better enjoy the first weeks and months of being a new parent:

  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Ask for cash in lieu of gifts and hire a cleaning person to help you around the house.
  • Ask friends and family to prepare meals for the first few weeks after the baby is born.
  • Join a moms group so you can ask questions and learn from other moms.

In the months before the birth of her first baby, Dani Rasmussen kept a detailed checklist that later became the book 40 Weeks +: The Essential Pregnancy Organizer. "I started putting together my own checklist of things I needed to do to get ready, and by the end of my pregnancy, I had a big notebook full and I decided I wanted to share it with everybody else," she says.

Dani shares tips about the essential things she says many new parents forget to do before the baby is born:

  • Get a life insurance policy. If something happens to you, your child needs to be taken care of financially.
  • Make a will and list guardianship for your child in the event of your death.
  • Stock your pantry. The grocery store may be the last place you want to go with a newborn.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian. Making sure your pet is healthy and caught up on shots and treatments will reduce pet emergencies after the baby is born.

Seven years ago, Gina gave birth to quintuplets. Gina tells Peter that keeping life as simple and organized as possible was her saving grace while caring for five newborns.

Gina shares tips she says can help parents get through the first few weeks with one—or many—newborns!

  • Don't splurge on big-ticket baby items right away—buy them as you need them.
  • Put the baby on a schedule. Keep a chart of when you feed them, change them and put them down for a nap.
  • Don't pick the baby up every time he or she makes a noise. Gina says that this practice helps babies learn how to self-soothe.
  • Only give the baby a nighttime feeding if they wake up, otherwise Gina says the baby will not learn to sleep through the night.

The new experiences of being a first time parent are exciting and exhausting, but when you are the parent of a newborn and a toddler, consider yourself ready for a challenge!

Christian Oliver is the father of two boys—a 2-year-old and a newborn. "It is as wonderful as everyone will tells you it will be, but it is also difficult—remember to eat!" he says.

Christian shares tips to help you prepare to bring home baby number two:

  • Prepare your other child for the new baby by talking with them and reading them children's books about the subject.
  • Spend extra time with your first child after the new baby comes home.
  • Bite the bullet and buy a minivan. Even though he vowed he would never own one, Christian says he likes the convenience of a minivan for his growing family.