favorite baby prep ideas

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the writing here at Beloved Nest. 

Whether you are pregnant or growing your family through adoption, expecting a child definitely takes it’s toll – I realize you are already drained. And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this is nothing compared to the exhaustion that’s on it’s way. With two of my best friends joining me in this new life of motherhood, (one welcomed a baby boy in November, and the other is expecting her baby girl in June), I’ve been thinking back on what I would do in advance to prepare for a baby if I were a first time mom again. So here’s my list of suggestions that will ultimately make the newborn twilight zone a tiny bit more sane and manageable, which in turn allows you to enjoy that short phase more. Only take on the ones that speak to you and forget the rest. Well, actually, I lied. There is one must-do that I included for everyone…it’s super important so don’t skip it.

The purpose here is to simplify and prep now so your life is easier later. I promise you’ll thank me.


Decide now which mom friend you’re gonna call or text when (not if) you have a strange mommy or baby question, need a good cry, or just a pep talk. Let them know they’re your “person” – maybe with a coffee and donut in hand as a bribe? – and make sure they’ll be pleasant when (again, not if) a need arises at 3 am. 

Download a baby care app on your phone. It’s convenient for tracking diapers (wet vs. dirty), frequency of feedings, which side you nursed on, baths, naps, etc. since your brain will be on hiatus especially the first few weeks. This is also helpful for pediatrician visits. Instead of a blank stare when they ask “how many times a day is she pooping?” you can just refer to your app. I used the Total Baby app. 

Also – we STILL use a great lullaby and noise app called Sleepy Sounds. It’s nice to have it with me whenever I might need it – in the car, at a hotel, etc. 

Do something to pamper yourself. Mani/pedi, hair trim/color, massage, facial, shopping in Target alone (this would be my pick!) – or all of the above! 🙂  Because lets face it – becoming a mom means you will often be putting yourself at the bottom of the list.


Read a non-baby book. Or at the very least read a book about what to do after the baby gets here. There’s so much focus on the baby’s actual arrival, which is obviously important, but that’s just the beginning! Because then you have a kid to raise, ya know? I would also suggest downloading the She Reads Truth app on your phone or ipad for daily bible devotionals. They are written by women for women. Super convenient during a marathon rocking-your-baby session or while breastfeeding.

Brunch/coffee/dinner/Target shopping trip with girlfriends….just something. Whatever you can make happen – make it happen. This one is for sanity purposes only -you can talk to them about all your crazy thoughts and irrational fears, and they’ll listen without judgement. After the baby comes these outings will be a bit more tricky to plan, but girl time is crucial for mommies and mommies to be. 

While you’re at it…..plan a last supper with your man. Sure, it’s to enjoy one last date with no time constraints, but the real purpose is of the date is to go ahead and put another outing on the calendar 3-4 weeks out from the baby’s expected arrival and set up a babysitter. I’m not kidding – bring your calendars to dinner with you! If you don’t make it a priority starting now, you will honestly be surprised at how quickly 6 months can pass with no date night.

Get bills and other paperwork up to date and organized. Set up automatic online bill pay if possible. This is just one of those things that you could easily get behind on, because snuggling your baby will win out over nearly all tedious tasks.

Pick out a birth announcement (or at least a couple favorites) and have a photographer on deck for newborn photos. While you’re choosing the announcement, go ahead and type the name(s) you’ve chosen into the template as one last check to make sure you really love it!

Grow an extra arm. I know I needed still need one. Kidding.


Clear out the storage on your phone. I’m not kidding on this one. My phone consistently tells me “Cannot take photo. Not enough storage” which is beyond frustrating when I’m trying to capture something in the moment. On this same note, go ahead and have your “real camera” battery charged for baby’s arrival. Take a million and one photos, and also video some of those newborn moments. You will be so happy you did.

If you’re planning to even TRY breastfeeding, take the time to educate yourself. There is so much more to it than you would imagine. You can take a class at a local hospital (they will discuss the basics and show some videos), skim through The Nursing Mother’s Companion book, or watch some of Dr. Jack Newman’s informational videos.

Make one or two baby essentials baskets for around the house. Pack some diapers, wipes, large burp cloths, diaper cream, and hand sanitizer into a basket so everything you need is easy to reach quickly and portable. I also had a couple of roll up changing mats so I didn’t have to take her to the nursery for every diaper change. Kindly ask guests to use the hand sanitizer before snuggling your baby.


Purchase some Shout Color Catcher sheets for the laundry. This allows you to chunk all your laundry in the same load together without risking running colors. That = less loads, which = less work! I love these things. You may also want to consider signing up for Amazon Mom Prime membership; you can read about it here.

Ask a girlfriend to set up a Meal Train for you right after the baby’s arrival. This is truly the most genius idea ever. Family and friends can sign up to bring you meals and easily view which dates are available. You can warn them of any food allergies or aversions, and select the best time for drop off. See? Genius.

Here it is, the must-do for everyone. 
Looowwweerr your expectations on back down to reality. For your baby, your spouse, YOURSELF. Despite how excited you are now, there WILL come a moment when you think what have we done?! It’s normal. There is a giant learning curve to parenting that never ends. Give yourself some grace. Please don’t expect your baby to be superbaby – they will cry inconsolably at times. Your husband will not always be superdad – he’s tired too. And no one expects you to be supermom. You’ll feel inadequate and have way more questions than answers, but you CAN do this. Perfection is not a pre-requisite for becoming a parent. (Praise Jesus!)

Tackle some of these now so you can have less to worry about later!

Also, I’d love to hear other helpful suggestions from any moms who have ideas to share.


I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now, but my kid is ONE. I have a one year old. I’ve been a mom for 12 months. WHAT.

Funny how all the stereotypical parental sayings are turning out to be one-hundred percent accurate.
“They just grow up so fast.”
“Parenting is the toughest job there is.”
“It’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”
ALL TRUE. I guess that’s why people say them. Because they’re true.

This first birthday has created a strange mixture of feelings inside me. Disbelief/happiness/sentimental to the max/pride/joy/compulsive need to remember everything and take note of all the ways she’s still little. But mostly, happiness. 

There are times when I think, how can it be a year already? Weren’t we just taking our last drive as a twosome to the hospital to meet this baby? Then on other days it feels like she’s always, always been a part of our lives, and how can it possibly be only one year? It’s definitely bittersweet. I’m purposely making a point to not describe it as “sad.” Being present in the life of my growing, happy, healthy child is nothing to be sad about. (Thank you Kelle Hampton at Enjoying the Small Things blog for this post that opened my eyes to seeing my baby’s growth in a whole new, contended kind of light.)

I still wake up surprised that this is my gloriously messy life. Constant exhaustion from the job that never ends. The job that I never, ever want to end because there’s a perpetual ray of bright joy pushing through the dark clouds that can easily creep into motherhood.

Becoming a parent is a lot like getting married. Anticipation, nerves, excitement, and ignorant bliss prelude the big day. Even when people tell you of the highs and lows you’re about to experience – you can’t know until you’re all in. I was UTTERLY unaware of how utterly UNPREPARED I was for motherhood. For this challenge – it has stretched me in every way possible. For this love – it’s so extravagant. For this girl – oh, this girl. Every bit of this past year has exceeded my expectations and I’m grateful I’ve been called to motherhood. What a gift.

kissing her monkey. I die.

She refuses to lay down for these pictures anymore. So….this is what I’ve got.

Nicknames: Wildflower girl. Ave. Avie. Baby girl. Bird.
Eye Color: Still blue as can be!
Hair: blonde….getting in her eyes in the front. Don’t make me trim it.
Who does she look like? Me, from what people say.
Weight/Height: 20 lbs / height- will update after her Ped visit this week
Clothing: some 12 months still fit, but mostly 18 months (!)
Diapers: size 4
Favorite toys: Activity Table, big Legos, a barn that has a door she likes to open and close and stuff other toys inside of.
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: Up by 7am. 
Eats solids 3x/day. A bottle (transitioning completely to whole milk now) 5x/day. (I still nurse in the am and pm, but will be cutting that out soon as well.)
Bath at 7:30pm. In bed by 8:30pm.
Nighttime sleep: sleeping good through the night but waking up early (6ish)
Teething?: not currently
New Words
“thank you” (sounds like “daaadoo”)
“gone” (says this one alllll the time. after finishing every bite. after throwing each toy into the floor)
“uh oh” 
Loving lately: always so obsessed with our dogs!
Hating lately: being confined in any way. Girlfriend wants to explore.
Walking? Not yet – soooo close though!
Milestones & New Discoveries:
standing by herself
first tastes of cake and sugar!
feeding herself (some)
drinking whole milk
first aquarium experience
can sign “bath”

Here’s one thing I need to know, though. CAN I STILL CALL HER A BABY? I mean, I know she’ll always be my baby, but I need to know when it’s no longer socially and developmentally acceptable to call her a baby. She can stand up on her own and is half as long as me when I hold her. But she’s still a baby for now…..right? Just say yes.

And here’s a recap of her first year in monthly pictures! 

To my little wildflower girl, I love you more than anything. I kinda wish there was a word bigger than love that I could give you, but it’ll have to do. 

{I had to revisit her birth story, probably something I’ll do every year in some capacity. If you’d like to read it, click

the phrase that got me through my first year as a parent

I know a lot of moms really love having a newborn, so I’m probably in the minority on this one, but I’m gonna go ahead and say I don’t think I’m cut out for the newborn phase. 

Maybe I’ll feel differently if/when I have a second newborn….maybe it’ll come to me a little easier…a little more naturally. But when I think back on life with Aven up to about 8 weeks old, I mostly feel happy to have made it through to the other side. Not that she was a particularly difficult baby….she just wasn’t a particularly easy one either. 

There are certainly things I miss about a brand new baby…like her soft fuzzy head and countless little rolls. I miss her all curled up in a ball on my chest and the way she stretched with her whole body for a full 30 seconds every time she was awakened. But now that she’s older, I feel like I’m actually enjoying motherhood rather than just trying to survive it. She’s becoming super interactive, can actually communicate some, and is just plain hysterical. 

Being only a couple weeks out from her first birthday, it got me thinking about what words of advice were most helpful to me in navigating not only the newborn days, but my entire first year as a mom. There is one phrase that has been my go-to, my mantra, my life-saver, from day one to now.


Simple, right?

Funny how it’s not even specific to motherhood. It’s pretty universal. But as a new mom, it spoke hope to me.

What it meant to me was that it didn’t matter if she or I had cried multiple times the day before.

It didn’t matter if I had to sleep cramped up in the crib with her because it was THE ONLY THING that made my sick baby feel better.

Ultimately, it didn’t even matter if I had made all the right decisions in parenting her over the last 24 hours.

Because every.single.morning when I hear her stirring around in her crib I am sweetly greeted with the thought that I get to try again. We get to start fresh. Even though every day holds new challenges, it also holds new opportunities. What I didn’t get right the day before can be tossed aside. And that new trick I learned for soothing my baby or making her laugh? ON REPEAT. At least until it doesn’t work anymore. With every mistake and every victory, there is a lesson about who your child is, and who you are as a parent. 

Tomorrow is NEW.

This mindset has also helped me learn to start again in the middle of my day, if needed. A bad moment doesn’t equal a bad mom, just like a bad moment doesn’t equal a bad child.  One minute she can be completely losing her little baby mind over the tragedy of her Puffs being “gone gone,” and the next she’s playing patty cake with a big grin and a scrunched up nose. I could learn something from her in that sense. She doesn’t get bogged down carrying the junk of the day with her. She knows how to shake it off (also one of her favorite songs, by the way.)  She’s teaching me a lot, this girl. I hope I always take the time for the lesson.

The STEADFAST LOVE of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are NEW EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22-23 

What about you? What words of encouragement have gotten you through the toughest days of being a mom?