After bringing home your new baby, things are going to be different. Whether this is baby number one or baby number four, there are three things you can do now to make life a lot easier later.

1. Make sure you choose the right car seat

Car seats are a long-term investment because their lifespan depends on how fast your child grows. In some cases, car seats might be used up to 12 years of age. Investing in a car seat that grows with your child can save you money in the long run. Although convertible car seats are more expensive, you can use the same seat as your child grows. Weigh the pros and cons for your financial situation.

All newborns need rear-facing car seats until they are at least a year old, weigh 20 pounds or more, AND have reached the highest allowed height for their rear-facing seat. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that kids stay rear-facing until age two.

Parents have a choice of buying infant-only seats that can only be used rear-facing or convertible seats that can be turned forward-facing for older children. There is a lot of variation in the weight limits for both types of seats so pay attention when you are making your decision, or you may end up needing to buy additional seats later.

Keep in mind that most hospitals require you to bring your car seat in to be checked and properly installed upon discharge. Practicing before the baby is born helps get the procedure down so you have one less thing to worry about.

2. Plan and prepare pre-cooked meals

After bringing your baby home, the last thing you will have time and energy for is cooking. Even if loved ones drop off meals or offer to cook, keeping a semi-normal meal schedule will be difficult to balance between your infant’s feeding schedule.

Any planning ahead will help! If you can cook and freeze meals or stock your pantry/freezer with quick meals that you or your significant other can prepare at a moment's notice.

For new moms who are planning to breastfeed, diet is critical. Nutritionists recommend eating a balanced, healthy diet rich in iron, protein, calcium, and vitamins C, D, and B12. Plus, drink plenty of water. Here are some great foods to include:

  • Whole grain products (iron, protein, calcium, and vitamins)
  • Lentils (iron and protein)
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables (iron and calcium)
  • Dairy products including milk, yogurt, and cheese (protein and calcium)
  • Peas and dried fruit (iron)
  • Eggs, nuts, and seeds (protein)
  • Fruit - especially blueberries and oranges (vitamins)
  • Lean beef (protein and vitamin B12)

3. Invest in feeding tools

You’ll want to make sure you have all the tools you need to make feeding comfortable. A cushiony chair, support pillows, and even foot stools make the endless hours you spend a lot more enjoyable.

If you plan to breastfeed, you may want to invest in a good breast pump as well as nursing bras, pads, and creams. For lower-priced items, consider buying a few different types to have on hand at the start. That way if something isn’t working for you, you won’t have to run out and shop for something else. Clothing that allows easier access can also help, like button-up shirts.

If you plan to bottle-feed, have different styles of bottles on hand in case you have a picky eater. Talk to both your pediatrician and the hospital support staff to learn what types of formula to have on hand when you come home.

Check out our 40 Weeks Alexa skill for more tips. You can also find a doctor, explore our maternity center, and register for classes.