At our house, we’re waist-deep in preparations for the arrival of a second child, which makes for interesting times and interesting choices. Our house is filled with this air of imminent change; even our son can sense it and he’s already talking about the baby as though he knows she’s about to arrive.
Here are seven tips we’ve figured out along the way to get things ready for the arrival of the baby.
Reuse everything you possibly can from the first child. Even though she’s going to be a girl, we’re going to dress her in all sorts of clothes that our son wore, especially early on. We might select gender-appropriate outfits for going out in public, but around the house? There’s no reason not to dress her, especially as an infant and as a toddler, in her older brother’s outgrown clothes around the house. Even the camouflage stuff. Along these same lines, we’ve pulled bottles and other such things out of storage as well.
Evaluate new purchases in terms of hand-down-ability. Similarly, our most recent purchases for our son, especially in terms of clothes, revolve at least to an extent on the possibility of being handed down to his younger sister. Things like corduroy and denim work well for both genders, so we give preference to clothes like that.
Watch for tremendous diaper deals. If you have closet space, any time you know you have a child coming, whether it be the first or second or third or even more, watch for great deals on diapers and stock up on the size one diapers. You will use them, so be patient and look for really stellar deals, then pick them up and stick them in the closet. To a degree, you can do the same thing with formula, just be mindful of the expiration dates.
Prepare lots of food in advance. Immediately after the birth, life is very chaotic, so prepare a lot of food in advance that can be frozen and prepared very quickly and easily. This way, you can spend time bonding with the new child instead of preparing food or burning a lot of money on takeout or delivery.
Simulate the experience of having a baby around with the older child. Our son has a doll that we’ve been using to pretend that a baby is already there. The baby lays in the crib and the bassinet and on the changing table, and he hugs it occasionally and tells us to be quiet sometimes around it. We encourage his imagination down this path in realistic ways. How is this frugal? It saves on a lot of disruption and other issues when the baby actually arrives, again allowing for more bonding time.
Clean everything. We’re re-washing all of the baby blankets and thoroughly cleaning our room and the baby’s room, not to the point of sterility, but to the point that it’s a clean environment with minimal germ contact. This improves the chances that the baby will experience good health in the early months.
Invite family to stay with you. This one is sure to arouse some curiosity, but it can be invaluable. My mother has already offered to stay for as long as we wish to help with the transition. We will be using this some, particularly in the weeks after the birth, probably for a number of short periods. This will enable her to bond with both of her grandchildren and also provide us some nearly free relief from constant management of two children in diapers.