Organizing Services for Boomers, Seniors & Heirs
NEVER BEFORE has 7 or 8 pounds had such a dramatic impact on your life as the day your new baby, and each subsequent child, comes home. Change is never easy, and positive changes are no exception. To avoid disorganization, you’ll need new systems that fit your new life with baby.
Practice Organizing 101
Keep supplies where you use them. For example, if your home is two stories, you may find it easier to have diapering stations upstairs and down, both stocked with the essentials. Same principle for night feedings. If you like to watch TV while feeding baby, have needed supplies near the TV. If you’re a reader, keep a book handy by your rocking chair, or wherever you feed baby.
Tip: Don’t turn on bright lights and wake baby and yourself fully. Soft lighting — whether through low-wattage bulbs or dimmer switches — will get you both back to sleep once feeding is over.
Keep a diaper bag stocked with the items you might need when you’re out with baby. Babies have frequent doctor appointments, and you’ll be less stressed and on time if your bag is always packed. Keep the stroller handy, either in the car or garage.
The dinner hour is one time of day that babies are known to be fussy. Ways to make mealtime less crazed include preparing simple meals (lower your standards and try for gourmet meals next year), using a slow cooker and doubling recipes (make two casseroles, one to freeze for later).
For the baby
Parents often feel guilty about accepting help for a positive life change such as the birth of a baby. If you feel this way, accept help for the baby’s sake. This can come in the form of delivering meals, taking an older child for a walk, picking up groceries or doing laundry. Alternatively, your helper can stay at home while you go for a walk. Any of these things can help you relax and get rest, which is good for baby.
Baby bits of time
Parenting encourages making the most of time — when you have it. Learn to do chores and errands in small increments of time. Fold clothes or pay bills until baby starts to fuss. Try to accomplish tasks, but don’t expect to finish at one sitting.
Have the right tool for the job
Resist buying every little thing you see advertised for babies. That said, one of the greatest tools for the early months is a baby sling, which keeps baby close while its wearer is free to move about. Another piece of equipment that many parents swear by is the baby swing — great for buying time while baby is awake. Share equipment with family or friends for items such as bassinets that are helpful, but used briefly.
VIP, or Very Important Papers
These start with the birth certificate and Social Security number. The hospital will have you complete a birth certificate questionnaire, prepare the certificate and send it to the county. You will want to request a certified copy of the certificate, and the hospital generally provides the form to do so. (If the request form gets lost, call the county birth records office.) The second part of the birth certificate questionnaire includes a request for a Social Security number. For details, visit www.ssa.gov or call 800-772-1213.
Many parents also get a passport for their baby.
Set up a safety deposit box at your bank or a fireproof safe at home to store these documents.
Get a large basket (no sharp wicker ends) to toss all of baby’s toys in at day’s end.
Most parents lack time to do scrapbooks until the child reaches high school. To keep photos and momentos organized now, buy nice-looking photo boxes and store it all chronologically (date each box). Also, always order double prints, since relatives like copies. Avoid promising reprints (unless your baby sleeps a lot and you find the time), and avoid loaning precious negatives.
Gift bag it
Use those pretty shower gift bags to store all those congratulatory cards, time-capsule items (birthdate newspaper) and other overflow.
Running out of basic items such as diapers or wipes can be avoided by making one list to which anyone in the family can add things. A magnetized refrigerator list is ideal.
And baby makes clutter
Your baby will grow like gangbusters. Pack up clothes as they are outgrown, keeping a container in the laundry area or in baby’s room. If you’re saving them for the next baby, mark the box with age/season, i.e. “Birth to 6 months/summer.”