Preparing for Postpartum: Things To Make A Smooth Transition To Parenthood
“Are you ready for your baby’s arrival?”
That’s a loaded question! How do you even answer that?
“Yeah, the nursery is all set up and we have a closet packed floor to ceiling in diapers!”
But is that really all that is needed to be prepared for bringing home your little bundle of joy? That sure would make life simple, eh? When preparing for your baby though, consider more than just how many blankets, onsies, diapers and burp cloths you’ll need. Because there is so much more involved in taking care of a newborn - you need to take care of yourself as well! Giving birth is exhausting and depending on what your support system looks like before, during and after birth, making sure certain systems and services are in place ahead of time can make a huge difference in your recovery and in your confidence as a new parent.
Services that will make your life easier:
Set up a meal train
You can do this yourself or you can delegate this job to a friend or family member. At your baby shower is a great time to announce this and have people start signing up! Not having to worry about making a meal everyday is a huge load off your shoulders. And if the friends and family bringing the meals are on their A-game, they’ll also do a load of dishes or laundry or maybe even hold your baby so you can shower before they leave! Request that kind of care from those around you. It doesn’t mean it’ll always happen, but make the most of those meal deliveries.
If you have a small circle and not many people who can help you out with a meal train, consider a meal delivery service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron to fill in the days when you are on your own. These boxes come with all the ingredients you need for the recipes you choose and make life just a bit simpler.
Hire a Postpartum Doula
I know, shameless plug. But I’ve worked with dozens of families as their postpartum doula and I’ve seen them go from nervous and exhausted parents to confident and rested parents with even just a couple of visits, whether its during the day or overnight. Planning ahead and hiring a postpartum doula to help with those first few weeks/months of parenthood can make a huge difference in your experience! You will have an extra set of hands (that happen to belong to a trained professional in all things postpartum and baby) to help you rest, give you confidence as a new parent and best of all, maximize your chance of sleep! Newborns have to be fed every 2-3 hours in the first couple weeks of life. And “feeding” doesn’t just mean the time they eat. “Feedings” roll into diaper changes, burping, swaddling, (another diaper change and re-swaddling) and soothing, and before you know it, a half hour feeding turns into an hour awake with your baby and you only get an hour to sleep before you have to start over again! Having an overnight postpartum doula means all you have to worry about is feeding (for breastfeeding parents) and your doula takes care of the rest so you can REST! And she can probably fold that laundry for you while you sleep too. We’re magical, I tell you!
Contact an IBCLC (lactation consultant) and set up an in-home visit
Before you leave the hospital, be sure to see their IBCLC at least twice. But sometimes things come up after you’ve been home for a few days and you don’t want to feel alone. While you’re still pregnant, find an IBCLC who will do home visits so if something comes up, you can have someone there the next day or so! A good way to connect with an IBCLC is to pop into a La Leche League meeting while you’re expecting to meet other breastfeeding moms and the leader.
Have a Webster Certified Chiropractor adjust you before you have your baby and after (growing and birthing a tiny human is hard on your body).
Have a reputable cleaning service to come once a week
The thing with labor starting is you never know when it’s going to happen. Which means, your house can be in a wide range of a state when you leave for the hospital! Sure, nesting might have been a useful thing, but you still live there. Having a reputable person come in to clean your home either while you’re still at the hospital or during the first day or 2 after you get home, can set you up to not worry about what your floors look like or how tall your laundry pile is getting.
(PS - Oh Baby! KC has a postpartum doula who also provides this service! Contact us for more information.)
Products that will make your life easier
Yes, there are products that parents and doulas all swear by that just make life better. Here are a few of those:
Magnetic Baby Gowns (not having to deal with snaps for middle of the night diaper changes is a life saver!)
Halo Sleep Sacks - because swaddling can be tough!
Bamboobies Nursing Pads (so soft and thin!)
The Calm App - For you! Sometimes winding down and relaxing can be hard. The free version is lovely, the paid version is better ;)
Any Baby Wrap (The Moby is the most widely known and used)