Nothing is sweeter... and more exhausting than a newborn. I know from experience – I've had three. Talk about life-changing. And yes, absolutely for the better – but it can take a while to get used to. Late nights (understatement), tons of new gear (a lot of which you wont use), and brand new schedules and routines.
Luckily, you can do a few things to make the transition easier. I'm only an expert on one of those – getting organized. And an organized nursery truly will make your life easier. It made mine easier (not easy, but easier), and I've had dozens on new-parent-clients who tell me how vital their organized nursery was to their entire families sanity.
Why an organized nursery helps so much:
Like I said, you get a lot of new stuff: diaper stuff, bath stuff, carrier stuff, medicine stuff... so much stuff that it can feel very overwhelming. You'll need a place for everything – and a practical place – so that when you actually need that "stuff", it's easy to find.
Babies grow extremely fast. You'll want to know where all the sizes are and how many of each item you have, so that you can find it easily, but also so your baby doesn't grow out of things before they've even worn it.
You'll need help. Whether it's dad, Nana, a friend or nanny, other people in your life will need to know where everything is too.
You'll crave a calm environment. When everything around you feels like it's upside down, you'll appreciate your environment having a sense of balance and peace.
How to organize a nursery:
Take inventory & categorize: once you've had your baby shower, or even after your baby is born (it's never too late), take inventory of everything you have. put it all in the center or a room and sort into categories:
Bathing / hygiene
Toys / books
Eating / nursing
Map out your zones: think about your routine with your baby and where you'll need everything – in a simple and manageable way. This might mean you put a diaper caddy right next to the couch, have your pump gear in a basket next to the rocking chair, have medicine in a bin in your bathroom, etc.
Create simple systems: Similar to above, it'll be so helpful to create systems to make your day run smoother. Keep a few day's worth of diapering items in a basket on the changing table with the rest in the top drawer, categorize clothes by age with the smallest/current size being the easiest to spot and retrieve, keep back stock in bins in the closet, etc.
Label everything: There are things in a home that are only labeled for aesthetics – nursery items aren't one of them. It's so important in a nursery to have things labeled so that you and your loved ones know where everything is.... and WHAT everything is. Trust me, you don't want your husband using a Windy to clean up snot (google it). You'll also want to know where the crib sheets are, the swaddles, the burp clothes, and breast pads.
Get help: and I'm not just talking about for when the baby comes (that too). But get help with organizing your baby's room. From your mom, a friend or a professional. It's always nice to have someone around to share in the process of creating a calm space for your baby, and it's helpful to get input from someone who has experience.
Know yourself: if you're about to be a mama or you already are one, you do a lot. And you're probably tired. I'm giving you a big hug right now. Organize to make your life easier, not to be hard on yourself. If folding your baby's onesies isn't working for you, don't. If your diapers aren't perfectly lined up in a basket, that's okay. Be as gentle on yourself as you will be on your babe!
Simple little tips:
Use hangers to keep bulky items off the ground: DockAtots, Ergo Babies, long wraps, etc.
Designate a drawer in your kitchen to pump parts... preferably near the dishwasher. Use plastic bins so that any trapped moisture from the parts doesn't ruin your wood. You'll thank yourself later.
Keep a caddy of essentials next to the couch: diapers, wipes, diaper cream, a small toy, sanitizer, etc.
Create an "outgrown" and "next size" basket in the nursery closet. Since they grow so fast, this will help you quickly set aside items that your babe has outgrown so they don't clutter the drawers, as well as the next size coming in another bin.
Keep medicine handy with a dozing chart visible. When a middle of night fever comes on, you'll want to know exactly where the baby Tylenol is and exactly how much to give. I like writing out a dosing chart and sticking it to the inside of the cabinet. This also helps for when Grandma, Dad, or a sitter are in charge.