Hello to all of you expecting parents out there. I know you’re riddled with anxiety, over the top with excitement, and ready to get this baby-raising thing started. First, I’m sure you’ve been frantically googling ‘baby checklist’ or ‘How to prepare for a newborn’. You’ve probably scoured your local library and Amazon looking for the perfect book with all the right answers. It’s okay, I did the same thing. Most of these lists will be the same. They’ll offer similar advice on what to buy, for instance, did you know you need a crib? Amazing! You don’t need a crib yet, just so you know.
This baby checklist is going to approach things differently. Let’s talk about how to prepare for that newborn and then we can worry about what to buy.
Things To Do Before Creating The Baby Checklist
Having that baby is going to consume all of your time and energy so let’s concentrate on making other parts of your life easier. You should bookmark this page and make sure that those helping you, read this baby checklist as well. That means you need to share it with your partner, parents, best friend, or sibling. You’re going to want them to assist you with these tasks because everyone needs to be on the same page.
Make A Budget
Whether you’re three months pregnant or eight months, now is the time to sit down with your partner and make a budget if you don’t already have one. The reason you need a budget is that it’s easy to go into a lot of debt once you bring home that newborn. Let’s face it, most of us are already in enough debt. So before you take a look at our list of awesome maternity clothes, give some serious thought to how much money you’re currently spending a month. Once that baby comes home you’ll want to eat out more, lose track of spending, and be tempted to buy more things to distract you from the stress of taking care of a newborn.
I highly recommend delegating one person as the official Master of the Budget. This person, either you or your partner, keeps tabs on everything you spend every month.
Unfortunately, Geek Baby Clothes is not a personal finance website, but we did create a simple budget template in Google Sheets to get you started.
To get started, click on our Simple Budget Template.
You’ll need to save this spreadsheet to your Google Docs to edit it. Click the Add To Your Drive icon in the top left to do just that.
Alternatively, you can download the template and open it with Excel.
For the next month, the “Budget Master” so to speak, will keep track of and record all of your family’s expenses. Alternatively, you can use your past month’s bank and credit card statements to fill out the following items. Begin by entering all your fixed expenses. The template provides some commonly used ones, but feel free to add your own on the lines provided. If you need more lines just insert them. These fixed expenses are the same every month. If your electric varies, then just come up with an average, but list it as a fixed expense. Keep in mind this budgeting exercise should keep you more conscious of your trends in increased spending – we’re not trying to plan your retirement. You’ll notice that we’ve added formulas that will automatically tabulate your totals. You’re welcome.
Next, add your monthly net income. You really only care about the actual cash deposited in your bank account every month.
Finally, the most important part is your variable expenses. These items fluctuate every month, but we want you to try to lock down a set number that you try not to exceed.
For instance, if you eat out once a week, then maybe you are spending $200 a month in the Eating Out category. Don’t worry, you won’t be eating out after the arrival of your child, but you will be ordering takeout. Spending the same amount on variable expenses is fine, but you want you to try to stay within 5-10% of the total. Obviously, some variable expenses will increase. That’s fine, you’ll need to add baby items, and things like that, but variable expenses not related to the baby shouldn’t be increased.
Knowing how your money is being spent will definitely keep you from going overboard. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine how much dedication you want to put into this. Personally, I feel this is the most important item in our baby checklist. There are a ton of personal finance websites out there, but I love Reddit’s subreddit Personal Finance to get ideas and ask questions about specific money topics.
Bookmark Everything For The Future
Now that you have a plan for saving money after the birth, it’s time to talk about saving all of these useful articles for future reading. Remember when I mentioned how you should bookmark this article? I’m not joking. Seriously, you’re searching the internet, browsing social media, and getting recommendations from everyone on what you should be reading. If you’ve never bookmarked anything using your browser, then I suggest you start today. Your brain is going to be mush the first three to six months. Luckily, you’ll actually have time to catch up on reading. Categorize your bookmarks so that you can easily find the different advice articles you’ve saved. Feeding, changing, sleeping, and playing are a few examples of categories (Folders for you Chrome users) that you might want to use.
Getting Into A Routine
You’ve made a budget and organized the articles you want to read. Now it’s time to start thinking about getting into a routine. I’m not talking about precisely planning every second of your day. Actually, it’s more about laying the foundation to raise your child by doing the same things around the same time every single day. Sounds like a nightmare, right? I thought so too, but I can tell you that by getting used to living my life in a daily pattern, parenting has become a lot easier. Babies, as well as older children, are happier with this type of predictable structure. Don’t take my word for it check out what the doctors at the CDC have to say on the subject.
Forming a daily routine means doing the same repeatable tasks over and over. These tasks can be anything like exercising in the morning, cleaning the bathroom every two weeks, brushing your teeth twice a day, ordering groceries every Sunday evening, reading a book for 30 minutes a day, or going to bed at the same time every night.
We’re not going to give you advice on what tasks you need to do, I’m just suggesting you keep track of them using a list and trying to stick to them around the same time every day. This will help prepare you to get your baby into a routine for naps, feeding, and going to bed. The sooner you get your little one on a daily schedule the better off everyone will be in your household.
Getting into a routine involves two things; making a list and delegation.
Making a list can be as short or as long as you want it to be. Sit down with your partner and write up a list of daily/weekly activities. You can use regular paper, or a free task manager like Asana. I use Asana for work and personal use as it easily allows me to set repeatable tasks for different projects. You use whatever you want. Remember to start with a small list and gradually incorporate other tasks in the coming weeks and months. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Try listing several to-dos every week or every day.
Next, you’re going to delegate tasks to your partner that they can do. Like cleaning the toilets, buying groceries, or feeding your pets.
Finally, set your alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Besides waking up early, you really want to try to go to bed at the same time seven days a week. Get your family in a rhythm and break any old habits.
Treat completing tasks like you are conquering small goals. For instance, if you created a task to make the bed every morning, then once you make it you can rest assured you’ve completed a goal today. How awesome is that? Make it fun and reward yourself for getting into this new groove.
Make A List Of Movies Or Shows To Watch
Speaking of making lists, here’s a fun one to do. Make a list of all the movies and TV shows you want to watch while feeding the baby. That’s right, you’re going to have plenty of time on your hands while feeding that little one in the first couple months. As long as you keep the lights dim and the sound low, you should be able to feed your little one with the TV on without distracting them.
Thoroughly Clean Your Home
No one looks forward to cleaning their home, but the good news is that your nesting instinct will aid you during pregnancy. Your home needs a thorough cleansing because you most likely won’t have the time to deep clean for at least several months. Keep in mind, you don’t need to do everything in one day, space it out over a couple of weeks. Make sure you delegate some cleaning responsibilities to your partner as well.
Finish Any Home Improvement Projects and Repairs
While you’re busy cleaning, make a note of any home improvement projects or repairs that need to be done. For instance, repainting a room, patching any holes in your walls, and fixing a leaky faucet need to be completed before you go into labor. It’s up to you on what needs to be fixed or improved. Here’s a comprehensive house maintenance checklist that you can use to brainstorm ideas. Be sure to check with your doctor on what kind of activity they recommend at your stage of pregnancy.
Make A 3-Month Meal Plan
Meal plans are great ways to save money. Planning out your dinners, leftovers for lunch, and snacks can discourage multiple trips to the grocery store or impulsive fast food purchases. Not to mention, a plan will keep off unwanted pounds from weighing you down. A three-month meal plan relieves the stress of worrying about what you’re going to eat during those chaotic first months of taking care of your newborn. This doesn’t mean you need to plan out every day from the start. Instead, make a list of 10-14 meals your family enjoys.
Write out a shopping list of all the ingredients and rotate the meals every two weeks. Maybe every Wednesday is pasta night or Fridays are homemade pizza nights. You can get other family members involved as well if you are lucky enough to live near them. Having a pre-made shopping list and meal routine is going to make your life a whole lot easier. It’s also something you can start now and get used to. I’ll let you fight over who’s going to cook dinner every night.
Buy A Scrap Book
Scrapbooking is something your grandmother might do, but it’s actually a great way to preserve those first moments you have with your little one. You can keep it very simple or become a scrapbooking pro. For instance, you can just save your baby’s hospital bracelet, birth certificate, cards from the grandparents, or even the ultrasound photos. You don’t need a whole lot of supplies to start. I used a three-ring binder and some protective sheets for the one I made.
Plan How You’re Going To Share And Backup Photos
You’re going to take a lot of photos and chances are, so will the rest of your family. Obviously, you can post all the photos of your little one on Instagram or Facebook for friends and family to see, but we really recommend having a central location to store all those photos that allow you to easily share them. I personally store all my photos using Google Photos and two separate hard drives with the exact same folders.
Google Photos allows you to store unlimited high-quality images for free. It’s easy to use and share with anyone, all the while allowing you to set the level of privacy that you’re comfortable with. Google Photos is not a social network like Pinterest. Meanwhile, I store all my original quality photos on my two hard drives. I’ve found that using external hard drives like this one are the best for this. This way if the grandparents want to print a photo I can easily email them the highest quality image.