Over the years working as a nanny, then becoming a Doula, working in home with new families and entering motherhood in my 30's I feel like I have a unique view on preparations for a baby and what is truly "needed" for a babies arrival.
Personally I love to decorate but also like being more of a minimalist when it comes to "things". We own a small 1935 farm house in Washington and it helps us keep things simple. One of the reasons I feel in love with this house was that our master bedroom has a nook (small room next to our bed, joined by French doors). When I saw this room I saw it being our future nursery. Up until this point it served as my closet/workout room. The space isn't huge but it is PERFECT for what we need!
Essentially our king size bed is in the middle of our master bedroom and I sleep on the left side, closest to the double doors that lead to the nursery nook. I have the Halo Bassinet next to my side of the bed. I chose this bassinet because it swivels back and forth so you can move it out of the way in order to get up, but can pull baby close, essentially on top of your bed if you want. I ordered 2 organic cotton mattress covers for it and have the Snuggle Me inside of it. I chose the Snuggle Me because it's organic materials, small, it will serve as something to snuggle her while she sleeps swaddled at night but also something I can bring with me to the living room or onto my bed for her to nap in during the day. Safe sleep is important. I wont go down that rabbit hole in this post but please educate yourself on safe sleep. I stress it with my clients. FLAT, FIRM surfaces only. Not tilted rockers, swings or car seats!!!
To the left side of the French doors leading into the nursery we have a rolling cart from Target. This is the "new parent" life hack I suggest to all my clients.. Essentially this cart holds all things baby and breastfeeding. You can wheel it to whatever room you are in so you aren't going from one room to another just to grab stuff! Also personal opinion, changing tables are a waste of space and money. I have no plans to change her diaper in a designated spot. I certainly don't recommend it if your nursery is not on the same level as your bedroom/living room. Stairs with a new baby, plus sleep deprivation and a healing body just doesn't make sense! Here is a breakdown of my must have baby essentials on this cart.
The top of the cart has all our changing table stuff, burp cloths (sloth pattern, hand made from a family friend + Burt's Bee's white tri fold cloths). I have bamboo cotton fold out changing pad that I can use on my bed. in her bassinet, on the couch or the floor to change her diaper. A basket with cloth diaper covers and Honest Company NB size diapers. WE plan to cloth diaper once she is big enough and essentially once we get our heads above water as new parents. The other small bin has Water Wipes, a Butt Paste Spatula to use for diaper cream. I have a tub of Boudreaux's Butt Paste a friend sent us but I plan to use good old coconut oil after that.
On the middle self I have breastfeeding supplies. I have a tin of Bamboo Nipple pads for milk that randomly leaks. during the day/night. I have a Milkies milk catcher, it essentially goes on the breast that isn't being pumped or nursed on, to collect any milk leaks. Breastmilk is gold, plus who wants to soak through their shirt all the time? Also on that level is Wild Carrot calendula nipple cream and my Cimilre F1 breast bump. If you live in Kitsap County, WA you have to go to Nurturing Expressions, they bill insurance for you and give you ALL the info on the pumps they carry. If you're not in my area I highly suggest find a store who supplies and educates about breast pumps. Not all pumps are created equal and don't just get the Medela pump because the hospital had it. In my experience helping new moms, it isn't the best option on the market, hence why I went with the Cimilre F1. You will also see on that level a baggie, it has all the breast pump accessories to catch milk!
On the bottom shelf of the cart are extras. Extra diapers, extra wipes, extra cloth diaper inserts, extra burp cloths and milk storage bags!
Once you open the French doors the nook consists of two main pieces of furniture. In the right back corner is my beloved, most expensive piece of preparing for baby girl, my glider. I went back and forth for a while on this and it was actually the final piece we got. I care a lot about limiting toxins in our home, especially with baby. We have made a choice as a family to prioritize non toxic products. After much research I chose to invest in the Babyletto Toco Swivel Glider. I love that it doesn't have chemical off gassing so the room doesn't smell of chemicals. The chair itself is super comfortable and it comes with a foot rest which is great.
Next to the chair we have a basket of books, we asked for books instead of cards or in place of a gift at my baby shower.. The white side table is from Ikea, the lamp is from Target. We were gifted a cloud lamp that I love. it is super sleek and minimal. The basket under the side table is full of muslin blankets and a few thicker blankets. Our books over flowed the basket quickly so I bought two white shelves from Ikea for her more precious books. Ya know the kind that babies rip the pages of before you can blink? The flower hoop around the port hole window is from my baby shower. My Aunt made it and it just happened to fit there just right!
To the left of the chair is a Better Homes and Gardens 3 cube storage. I liked how this one was thicker and more sturdy then most I have seen. The bins are from Home goods. They contain the random toys we have been given. I personally asked for Green toys or wooden toys to limit the chemicals found in plastics. On top is my letter board and the Humidifier. Between the cube storage and the dresser is a hang me down air purifier. Our farm house gets dusty and we have a dog so I wanted to make sure she had a small one in her space so that it was as clean of air as our bedroom is. We have a large air purifier in our master.
The 6 drawer dresser was in this room before, along with the large mirror. They shaped my choices for keeping the colors in here white and grey with a pop of green and blush. I received the dresser as a gift from my father for Christmas last year. The top 2 drawers contain drawer organizers from Amazon. the left drawer has all her winter outdoor body suits. You know those cute fuzzy bear once pieces and bath towels. The right side has wash cloths, bibs, head bands and LOTS of shoes. People can't help but send you lots of shoes and headbands when you're having a girl! The middle two drawers are her clothes. From newborn to 6 months. We have 2 small Tupperware upstairs of 6-12 months clothes. The bottom 2 drawers are extra sheets, burp cloths, Mommy's Bliss probiotic drops, nail clippers, a newborn Thermometer, The Fredababy pack: which has the nose frida, Windi and mama Frida. spray bottle, extra Honest company diapers, extra milk storage bags and breast pump parts. There are 2 cloth carriers; one is a Moby the other is an off brand of that same style, I have had it for years and use it/show clients how to use it for their newborns! I also have a ring sling in there.. Since we have such minimal space/stuff and also want to support bonding and just keep things easy postpartum we plan to babywear as much as possible.
The wood sign above the dresser was made by a family friend here locally! I knew I wanted the saying and for it to have a small wood frame. She surprised me with this custom beauty at my baby shower! Check out her Instagram @livinglovelydiy
Last but not least in the right corner there is a small space behind the door that I put a shelf from Target. The jar on the left I had before but now contains more headbands! The toys are wooden Montessori learning toys. The Diver doll was my husbands addition, a fellow Navy Diver wife made it! Under the shelf is elephant hooks that my Aunt gave me pretty soon after we found out I was pregnant. This also helped me decide to throw wood accents into the room. On the hook hangs out LilleBaby carrier. This carrier is nice for partners to wear but also just a good activities carrier and best once they are a bit older and have better neck control.
Not pictured is our only "thing to put the baby in" its a bouncer/swing. It is a Nuna Leaf. It sways back and forth with baby's body weight but you can also add the Wind attachment to it to make it a natural movement swing! The fabric on this is non toxic and I actually got it on the resale site Mercari. They are really pricey because of the quality but I got it for half price, gently used.
We chose to go with the Britax convertible car seat. My mom gifted it to us. I chose this instead of purchasing a newborn car seat AND a convertible. car seat My reasons were price and reality that I have always hated lugging an infant car seat around. They are terrible for you body and aren't safe sleep for babies. The position changes when you take the bucket out of the base and it is no longer safe for babies to be in it. SPECAILLY sleeping. With that in mind. I plan to have my carrier on me when I go to get baby out of the car, ill slip her into the carrier and we will go from there.
We also got one stroller. The Bumble Ridge. It was gifted to us by my in laws. It was again quit an investment as it was a top quality, non flame retardant/non toxic stroller. I loved that it was all terrane also. We have local parks we love to walk our dog at and they aren't paved. This should work just fine!
We chose as a family to not purchase a crib until we know what our sleeping arrangement will be once she is too big for the bassinet. Co sleeping or bed sharing is most likely our future. We would move the glider into a corner in our master and put up a crib in the nursery nook so she would "co sleep" aka sleep in the same room as us. Most likely that will still entail her coming to sleep in our bed in the middle of the night while I breastfeed. If we both feel safe sleeping with a baby in the bed, I assume we will skip the crib. Both options are safe. Both come with precautions and a lot of benefits for baby and our sleep deprivation levels as parents.
We also did not purchase bottles, a play mat, plastic toys or musical/light up toys, a traditional swing or bounder, bath tub or pack n play. Again we don't have the space, we didn't want to have more THINGS and we want to see what we truly need and to purchase it at that time.
We were gifted cloth diaper service from my dad. This will help make cloth diapering easy for us. They supply the inserts and a pale to put them in. They come each week to pick up the soiled ones and replace them with clean inserts. This will help us save money by not having to buy inserts and the hassle of figuring out washing cloth diapers as new parents!
I hope this was helpful as a base for things to consider for a new baby. When all else fails I know Amazon delivers next day!
My Blessing Way was perfect. I don't say that lightly! My good friend, possible party planning twin, out did herself hosting it. When she heard what a blessing way was, she offered to throw mine. I had no idea what was in store for me as I gave her full control over the ceremony. She knocked it out of the park.
I was going to blog about it all but since she hosted and executed it all while I just sat back and enjoyed I figured I would post a link to her blog. She shares lots of great pictures, all the info about why, how and what it took to throw this one of a kind celebration for me. I will let Sarah tell you more about the origin of this ceremony but essentially, I am excited for birth.
I do, however, want to share my reason for having a blessing way and my views on my upcoming birth.
As a birth worker for the last 5 years I knew when I was pregnant that I wanted to have a Blessing Way. I wanted to celebrate my birth in a different way. To me this is a right of passage. From WOMENhood to MOTHERhood. I wanted to welcome this in a more spiritual way!
I am excited for mother nature to take my hand and show me how bad ass I am. How capable my body and baby are and to give birth in an empowered situation. I genuinely don't have fear surrounding birth, I have been able to recognize how my pregnancy, my health and my choices allow me to not fear birth. I don't bring others stories of birth to mine, I don't allow past clients births and outcomes to affect my belief in my body. I have visualized the birth I want, I have planned for the "what if" situations, wrote my birth plan incase, but I know deep down that dwelling in fear will only stop me from experiencing this birth day in the way I want to. . Which is empowered and trusting in the process. Mother nature is powerful!
I can't wait to share my birth story but until then check out Sarah's blog on my blessing way and I will be posting a few more blogs before I pop! Stay tuned!
Quick thank you to the other amazing women in my life who came to support me on this beautiful day! Here are a few of my favorite pics from that day.
I have spent the last 5 years telling my clients, soon to be parents, to prep meals for postpartum and I am taking my own advice. Postpartum it is hard to feed yourself in the huge transition with a new baby. Sleep deprivation, new roles and learning your baby is a lot of work. Not to mention the endless laundry and keeping up with basic hygiene. Not all new families have loved ones and friends near by that can drop off food regularly. If your anything like me, I have pretty high standards for food quality and it isn’t an option for us financially or nutritionally to eat out.
I am lucky to have family and a few close friends locally who would bring by foods that we can eat, and I wouldn’t feel bad sending them a specific recipe or telling them our restrictions. With that said, I know we still need to feed ourselves most of the time. I meal prep weekly, nothing too crazy because we like to switch it up and I mostly do it to budget and have healthy food on hand, so we don’t get overwhelmed with making dinner or having lunches for the next day. The easiest way to meal plan/prep is to know your key words to search on Pinterest. Yes, I LOVE PINTEREST!! I have food boards, and a lot more birth/postpartum inspirations so feel free to go check out my pins/boards. Follow me on Pinterest
I simply search Primal or Paleo when looking for recipes. I will also search Vegan Keto as that will give you whole foods/plant based high fat options. The goal postpartum is lots of fiber (think veggies/quinoa/sweet potatoes/GF oats) LOTS of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, animal fats, nuts/seeds) and protein (clean sources of meats, avocado, chia seeds, nuts/seeds, nut butters, clean protein/collagen power). For baby’s digestion keep your diet gluten free and dairy free specially at first. I am pro gluten free for pretty much everyone! As a nutritionist I don’t see the evidence or need for it. Just too processed and yucky! If you must, go organic flour so that it doesn’t contain folic acid. As far as dairy. Most people don’t handle it well. If you do tolerate dairy make sure its quality, organic/pasture raised, grass fed. Goat dairy and local raw diary are great options too. In general dairy gives babies gas and why add to what is already a hard process for them as their bodies learn to digest?
Moving on! I did some Pinterest searching and found 2 bloggers that had great options for Paleo meals. I knew I wanted a few breakfast dishes, a few just meat (so we could make them into tacos/bowls/add veggies), a few soups for fall and a few casseroles we could easily just rewarm and eat with nothing else needed! I picked 9 recipes, printed them all.
Here are 2 blogs that have great tips for freezer meals!
Recipes I chose:
Slow cooker meat/meat only dish-
I personally chose a lot of recipes that called for veggies we had from our garden and lots of eggs since we have chickens. This made it much more cost effective for us. I also have a lot of spices on hand because we pretty much only eat at home, so I didn’t have to buy spices!
I went to Costco for the meat, it is the cheapest option for Hempler’s bacon, organic chicken and grass-fed ground beef. We got our pork sausage and pork roast at the local butcher. Like I said we had all the eggs and spices along with the zucchini, peppers and squash. My list was short and sweet, so I just went to our local grocery store for the other ingredients. I made a grocery list by category; meat, veggies and pantry (canned foods/other ingredients).
I suggest 2 crockpots, a Dutch over, 2 sheet pans, a large frying pan, gallon size freezer bags, 3 Quart size canning jars (or you can use baggies that stand up) and the best tool we had was my mom’s vacuum sealer! You could also just do double freezer bags or glass Tupperware. If you are not concerned about aluminum foil or plastic, many blogs suggest the disposable cooking trays or plastic storage containers. I personally wanted to make sure we had each meal divided into servings so vacuumed sealing each serving made most sense. You could also get quart size freezer bags for each serving and then place the whole recipe into a larger freezer bag.
I started by baking all the spaghetti squash and butter nut squash in the oven. Then I put both crock pot meat dishes in. Once those were both in I started the meat balls, then the meatloaf muffins. Once those were going I started the casserole and frittata meats. Once those were cooked the squash was done and I was able to assemble the casseroles and frittatas and cook those either on the stove stop or over. Last was the soups!
Before you store anything make sure they all cool completely. DO NOT blend the soup until it has cooled, you will get burned. I put the butternut squash in quart mason jars with ¾ space at the top of the jar for expansion once frozen. I put them in the fridge over night to make sure they were fully cooled and then put them in the freezer with loose lids the next morning. Once they are frozen tighten the lids.
Have people help you. My mom and her partner came over to help and my husband stepped in when I needed to take breaks since I am 9 months pregnant. People want to help, have your mom come or your best friend! It is was more fun and faster with multiple people! Establish your tribe and let them help.
Finally, storage organization was important to me. We have a 7 cubic feet chest freezer. It came with a small bin. In that small bin we have our garden veggies vacuum sealed. Essentially lots of squash and zucchini. Once I have breastmilk to store I plan to keep my breastmilk in this smaller organizer and move the veggies below. By that point I hope to have a few more bins, probably from the dollar store to stack things better and to use the depth of the freezer more efficiently. The other bin we have in there has all the baked goods I have made in the last few months. When I make breads, muffins or desserts I always freeze half. They go back before we can eat them all and in preparation for postpartum I wanted to have things we could defrost, and I could stuff in my face while breastfeeding! I have a few blogs up for yummy treats that are still “GOOD” for you. At the bottom of the freezer are all the meals. The Chicken Fajitas had too much liquid in them to vacuum seal, so we put them in glass Tupperware. The Butternut Squash soup was put into canning jars and then the rest of the meals were vacuum sealed into servings sizes for the 2 of us, labeled and then then put into a gallon freezer bag to keep organized. Since we will be eating these meals in the next 2 months they will all be nice a fresh to re heat/warm whenever we need them!
HAPPY PREPPING MAMA'S!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
I love that you want to share the inspiration you have found here. Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of EllenBBirth. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!