January is an exciting month. It’s the beginning of a new year, a recovery period from the stress of the holidays and a momentary break for many of us. For others, it’s the start of something far more formidable – taking care of a newborn baby. If you’re due in January, you may be feeling the pressure.
There’s no reason to stress, however. As long as you set aside some time to prepare, you’ll feel ready for the challenges ahead. So how do you prepare, exactly?
1. Stock Up on Warm Clothes
If you’re bringing home a baby in January, you’re going to want to stock up on warm clothes. Blankets aren’t safe for infants unless you’re swaddling, so you should seek out other options during the chilly winter months. Look for footie pajamas and sleep sacks for those naps and nights when they’re not swaddled.
Of course, you won’t want to buy too much newborn clothing. Your little one will quickly outgrow anything you’ve bought, leaving you scrambling to keep them warm while you wait for spring. Just buy a few outfits and swaddle them whenever you can to keep them warm while they sleep.
2. Take Advantage of the Break
January is the time of year when most of us are recuperating from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the stretch from Halloween through New Year’s Eve. If you’ve brought home a new baby this month, take advantage of that societal slow-down and bond with your child.
For example, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond. Not only does it help you feed and care for your child, but the act also causes your brain to release oxytocin, the body’s ‘love hormone.’ It helps you naturally bond with your baby while improving your maternal instinct and soothing your little one.
If you can’t breastfeed, you’re not without options. Rocking your little one helps to calm them and can even teach them to self-sooth as they grow. Cuddle your baby or use a carrier to keep them close while you go about your daily chores.
3. Baby proof Your Home
You’re going to want to baby proof your home long before you need any of those safeguards. Don’t wait until after Christmas or after your relatives leave to get started on making your home baby-friendly for your little one.
Yes, your parents or other family members might find it annoying to have to manage cabinet locks while they’re trying to cook. But you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re ready for anything without having to scramble to get things done at the last minute.
Make it a point to remove anything that might be harmful from your home, from things on the floor to the cords on window blinds. Infants explore the world around them by putting everything in their mouths, and in most non-childproofed homes, many of these items are a choking hazard and are dangerous to consume.
While you might not need to worry about them getting into cabinets or snacking on things on the floor until they start crawling, that can happen at any time, and it’s better to be prepared if you’re due in January.
4. Get Your Finances Ready
We spend a lot of money on the holidays. The average American will spend upward of $668 on holiday gifts during this time of the year. While you don’t need to skip the office White Elephant or Secret Santa event, you do need to be more mindful of your spending as you prepare to welcome your little one into the world.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund — one that will cover three months of living expenses — start one now. That way, if you have to stay home from work longer, you won’t have to rely solely on FMLA or the equivalent in your area.
Make sure you’ve got a budget set up for after the baby is born. A good rule of thumb is the 50/30/20 budgeting method. You spend 50% of your income on needs like food, shelter and baby supplies. Another 30% goes to wants, and you set aside 20% from each paycheck to repay debts. If you put a lot of your Christmas shopping on credit, you use that last 20% to pay that off, for example.
Raising a kid is expensive, so setting a budget and sticking to it can help you make sense of all those extra expenditures that come with bringing home a January baby.
5. Stock up After the Holidays
Ideally, you’ll want to have all your supplies ready long before you make that drive to the hospital to bring your bundle of joy into the world. However, you’ll have a leg-up on other moms with the post-holiday sales.
They make it super easy to stock up on items you’re going to need all year. Sure, the Christmas-themed stuff will be 50-75% off, but so will a lot of other things as stores clear their inventories to get ready for new spring items.
Try to wait until after Christmas so you can stock up on things your baby will need for a fraction of the cost. You might be surprised how much money you can save.
Enjoy Your New Bundle of Joy
All the preparation in the world can’t get you 100% ready to bring home a new baby. If you’re due in January, the best advice we can offer is to take things in stride and enjoy every moment with the newest addition to your family!