How to Prepare Your House for a Baby

The following guest post is from Amber Hunt. Amber is an experienced personal finance writer with a knack for taking complex money issues and making them clear and simple.  By day, she’s a home loan expert at Quicken Loans, America’s #1 online lender, where she specializes in writing about mortgages and helping people refinance.

Congratulations!  You’re having a baby!  There are probably a million things racing through your mind as you prepare to embark on this huge next step in your life.  If you have started to search the internet for advice and tips you know that there are plenty of lists out there that tell you all of the things you should buy to prepare for the arrival of your bundle of joy.  But how should you prepare your living space?

Corner, Southeast by timsamoff on Flickr

Here are some important things to think about when you are preparing to add a human addition to your household.

  • Nursery – Measure the room to make sure your purchases and gifts will fit.  If you are painting, look for environmentally safe paint.  Non-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint will reduce exposure to fumes that cause headaches, nausea and respiratory problems.  Be sure to check if the tint is also VOC-free, as many tints are not.
  • Water – In general, local drinking water is safe.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the public municipal water supply and tests the water frequently, often daily.  However the USEPA does not directly regulate private wells and the safety of tap water depends on the condition of plumbing in the home.  Before you put tap water in your baby’s bottle, make sure you are fully informed about the current water quality in your municipality.
  • Electricity – If you’ve noticed lights or appliances not working but have put off checking out the electrical system in your home, don’t put it off any longer.  If you know what you’re doing, turn off the power and test the electrical wiring. You can also call a professional and have them check things out.  Buy special plugs for electrical outlets and do not draw attention to outlets with decorative covers or nightlights.
  • Stairs – Stairs can cause many injuries, for all ages and sizes.  In addition to using baby gates, ensure carpeting on stairs is secure and that a handrail is attached securely to the wall or floor on all staircases.

Now that you know what to do to prepare your home you can focus on all the other things that will be occupying your time (and wallet) for the next 18 years.  If you’re interested in leveraging your home to ease the financial impact of having a baby, consider a home refinance.

If you’re looking to get cash from your home to help pay for your newfound baby expenses you may want to talk to a Home Loan Expert and use a mortgage calculator to see how much you can save.

Your life is undoubtedly going to soon change, and all the planning in the world cannot prepare you for the best experience of your life!  However, planning does help ease your anxiety, relieve stress and can make the journey more rewarding.  Taking time to manage the little things before the baby arrives can take some weight off your shoulders when that time comes.

Note from Frugal Dad: Funny how having a baby makes us more aware of safety issues in our home. While we may be willing to live with outdated electrical systems, or a little mold found after buying a fixer-upper, having a baby suddenly makes those issues more pressing. A word of caution here: you can go nuts, financially, trying to prepare your house for a baby. Make things safe and sound, but remain practical.

Comments

  1. Good comment above, but I don’t understand the part of a home equity loan. How is that being Frugal?

    • Frankly, neither did I. It was a guest post and I ran it as is, but decided to add a little disclaimer at the bottom cautioning against “baby spending” – my description of new parents dropping thousands of dollars preparing for baby.

  2. Good post. If I were bringing home a baby, I would also do the following:
    *Start a 529 plan immediately for college
    *Get rid of all houseplants that also may be toxic
    *Move all detergents and such out of reach. (Obviously more of a concern for when you have a toddler, but when I had my kids, my friends with toddlers quite often came to visit)
    *Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy that baby, the chores can wait.

  3. I thought this post was going to be about avoiding all the useless crap that magazines and baby stores cram down your throat and make you think you cannot live without. It makes me cringe when I think of of the hundreds of dollars wasted on things we didn’t need at all. At least we didn’t buy a fancy $500 crib like some of my friends did. -phew- Babies don’t require a whole lot of gadgets. If this is your first baby, talk to a few experienced parents and find out what they used and what went to waste. People will have differing opinions on what is useful and what isn’t, but if you talk to a diverse group of people you should be able to figure out what you need. Good luck and congrats! Also, don’t refinance your house to pay for a baby. Medical expenses do not get interest charges tacked on. if you feel you will have trouble paying for your child’s birth and pre-natal expenses have a talk with the hospital and drs office. As long as you stay in communication, they are usually very reasonable and will help you work out a payment plan, sans interest and late charges. Do not charge it to your credit card.

  4. I’m sitting here giggling since we checked our drinking water quality and put up baby gates around the house when we entered the world of pet ownership. We also had to make sure to keep bathroom doors closed so trash wouldn’t get eaten and toilets wouldn’t be used as water fountains (my little sister had this habit too as a 2 year old).

    I second Everyday Tips suggestion to make sure to have non-toxic house plants and to have baby locks on cleaner cabinets.

  5. I also spent way too much on my son when he was little and bought things that we never needed. The one thing I am really glad I bought is my video baby monitor. I love being able to see him and not have to risk going into his room to check on him. I found the one best for my family and budget at http://www.nextstepbabymonitors.com. They have a great selection and also helped me find the best one for my family.

  6. Also, make sure the room you use stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We painted and decorated our first daughters room and realized that is didn’t stay very warm with the door closed in the winter, and was very hot in the summer. It had a vent, but it was on the 2nd floor and the sun hit it all day in the summer. We eventually had to move her room.

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