Though most of the attention is obviously on the little bundle of joy set to join the family in nine months, there’s more than enough prep work to keep any family busy before the baby arrives.

Have the basics ready to go

It might seem obvious, but in the frantic heat of the moment while bringing baby home, you’d be surprised how many things you might forget. From diapers to a few different sets of clothes that actually fit your newborn (it’s hard to nail down that size until the baby is actually out), it’s easy to forget the most obvious essentials.

To avoid that, make a list at least a few weeks before the due date, and make sure you have it all on hand and ready to go.

Make sure the nursery is good to go

Though there might be some co­-sleeping in the early days, baby will need his or her own room soon enough. Ideally, you want to get started on this a few months before the due date to allow time to buy and assemble furniture, shop, or even reach out to family and friends for items you can use (such as a changing table and rocking chair).

If you’re feeling more ambitious, you’ll want to handle any painting or redecorating duties long before the baby arrives. There’s no time for that once the extra addition arrives, plus paint fumes are not safe for a newborn.

Think outside the box

Try to think ahead to things that might make your life a little easier in the coming weeks. Many experienced parents will tell you the best laid plans often get wrecked in the waning hours if a baby won’t go to sleep and the parents are exhausted.

Regardless, there are still some basic steps worth taking. Add a night light to the baby’s room. Not because the baby will be scared of the dark at that age, but because you will be less likely to stub your toe during a nightly check­-in. Also, make sure to have a fan in the nursery to help provide some white noise to help baby sleep.

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