Since our youngest three children were still preschoolers, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the thought of having baby number eight. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was enthusiastic about having a new baby. She was a welcome addition to our growing family. And I love the newborn stage. It’s just that the thought of it made me feel uneasy, just not quite prepare. So, I decided to make a plan for this inevitable change, and get our household – and my mind – ready for the upcoming event. Let me share with you some of the things I did to make me feel more prepared and ready for baby number eight.

Before the baby was born we prepared in the following ways:

1.   Dinners:  We wrote a menu to cover the first two months after baby was born. For our household, it works best to have the main dish ready in the freezer, so we cooked, packaged and froze them for later use. Also, we designated our oldest two children to alternate being supper-maker or chef. It was their responsibility to check the menu, thaw it in time, and put it in the oven or microwave. Also, they would add a few simple things to complete the meal, such as cooked vegetables or a salad, perhaps some bread or rolls, and our beverage.

2.   Breakfast:  We made a list of breakfast ideas ranging from pancakes, muffins, granola, and eggs. Then we prepared as many of these ahead of time as we could. Pancakes and muffins freeze well, as do French toast and other breakfast foods. We also bought additional items to have a variety of offerings: frozen orange juice, frozen fruit.

3.   Lunch:  Our third child was put in charge of lunches. Since he was a bit younger, we made things very simple: We planned a two-week menu together to repeat two times per month. This consisted of things he could make: PB&Js, salad, sandwiches, canned soup, hot dogs, corn dogs, little frozen pizzas, and other easy-to-prepare meals.

4.   Baby items: We went through the baby clothes we had in the attic up to 12 months size. We tossed some, washed the rest, and put them in drawers according to size.

We also made a basket with diapering needs. This included very small disposable diapers (and I wondered if our infant would really be that small), baby wipes, any medicines or diaper rash ointments, and included items for umbilical care such as Q-tips, and alcohol. We also tucked in some burp towels, baby outfits, baby blankets, changing pads, and socks, for when the baby soiled these items. This basket was placed in the living room, where we spend most of our time, and it sure beat running to the bedroom for everything every time the baby wet.

Also, we went to the attic and pulled out the baby items we had stored: bassinet, infant seat, baby swing, and car seat. We cleaned them up, bought batteries for those that needed them, and repaired whatever was necessary.

5.   Mommy items:  I went through my nursing gowns, hospital needs, nursing bras, and basic mommy needs. I made a list of things to replenish and bought the necessities: nursing pads, lotion for nursing soreness, slippers, and a few decorating magazines to read. I even made a pretty fabric bag to hold all of those necessary toiletry items I would need after the baby, and hung it in the bathroom. You could easily put these things in a pretty hat box or a basket with a lid. At least it makes it look nice and not so cluttered.

6.   Baby-sitter: We scheduled several people to be available to watch the children while we delivered, so the responsibility wasn’t just on one person, and it didn’t tire them out. After my previous baby, the day after I came home from the hospital, a friend took my middle children for an overnight stay at her house. She left the newborn and the oldest child with me. That gave the younger children time to see the new baby, then some excitement of spending the night out. It also gave me time with the new one to set a schedule and rest, while still having someone who could bring me tea and meals. It was almost like a baby honeymoon!