You spend forty-ish weeks, dreaming, imagining and picturing every waking minute with your little one. Then they arrive, and you’re like “UMMMM…..!!!!”.
If you’re already a Mom you know what I am saying, first time Mom? Don’t be scared. It’s not horrible. Life with a newborn is a huge adjustment! Learning how to parent, how to change a diaper, discovering what each cry means and learning how to function on minimal sleep. Sounds daunting, but with some physical and mental prep you can make it easier on yourself.
After two kids, going onto my third very soon! I have learned some tips and tricks to make the newborn phase smoother for yourself and everyone in your life.
Prepare for your postpartum recovery. You are going to want all the supplies you need to get you back up and running, properly! I learned after my second child that you need to rest till you are healed. I went back to Mom life too soon, and ended up bleeding for a whole month postpartum. And experienced quite a bit of pain in my pelvis region and made my diastasis recti worse without knowing. To help you prepare for your postpartum recovery…
Stock up on food. Fill your kitchen with all your favourite snacks for both you and your partner. You will need lots of food the first couple weeks especially if you choose to breastfeed. Fill your freezer with some meals to make it easier for making food. Check out Pinterest and a few weeks before delivery start cooking. If you have family and friends asking what you need right now, maybe such a freezer meal or two they could drop off.
Set up the house. Wash all the clothes and organize them by size. Same with blankets, swaddles and receiving blankets. Make sure the sleeping area is set up. Create a baby and Mom station in your favourite room to hang out in, such as your TV room. Have blankets, diapers and other baby supplies in that station to stop you from always having to go all over the house for things. Make sure all gear is built and out so you can use it right when you get home. And that everything has batteries!
Practise using baby items. Install the car seat a few times so you feel comfortable switching it over incase the car seat needs to go in a different car. Try out the baby carrier and practising tying it or buckling it on. It will make it easier when you go to use it the first time. Know how all the baby gears work, what buttons do what etc. Also make sure partner practises as well!
Plan Visits. Family and friends are so excited for you when they know your little one arrives. Some people love to visit right away. If you think you want visits to wait, talk to everyone now so they know and understand before your little one arrives; prevents any unwanted emotions. Or if you want all the visitors start making a plan or schedule just to make life less chaotic for you.
Start teaching yourself to ask for help. Newborn life is hard and tiring. Coming from an experienced Mom, it’s important to ask for help when you need it. Even if you just need someone to pop over for an hour so you can shower and actually sit down to eat a meal like a human being. It’s OK to make yourself a priority, and I highly recommend that you do to manage your mental health. If someone comes over for a visit, and ask if you need anything. Don’t be afraid to say “sure! Can you throw a load of laundry in for me? Or switch over the load? Do you mind doing the dishes?”
Lower your expectations. You will be tired, your partner will be tired. If the house is a mess, you are behind on laundry it is OK! If someone wants to come over to visit and the house is a disaster, it is OK! You can’t be the hostess with the most was with a newborn. Trust me, you will exhaust yourself physically and mentally, and you will want a vacay after the visit.
Look in to Mom and Baby Classes. Baby life can leave you feeling lonely sometimes. After the excitement of the baby has worn off, you might notice some people not around as much. Find classes in your community that you and baby can drop into to socialize with other Moms. It’s also a great way to meet new people, and learn more about baby life.
Learn all that you can about babies. Find some blogs, buy some baby books and try to absorb as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider a ton of questions before baby arrives. Or bug all your Mom friends! Did you know baby girls sometimes will bleed after birth? Call it a mini period, and it’s from your hormones during delivery exiting their bodies. If you didn’t know that like we did with our first Daughter, trust me you will most likely call an ambulance. Learn how to change a diaper, swaddling, burping etc. It will help on those rough days.
Most of all! Trust your gut, and don’t let unsolicited advice get to you! Many people have a lot to say about raising a baby. Things to do, not to do and what they did and didn’t do when raising a kid. It may make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, annoyed or that you’re a horrible Mom and doing everything wrong. Don’t let what they say get to you. Parenting is different for everyone, and there isn’t a right way of doing it. All you have to say is thank you for the advice, but I’m going to…. or just say thank you. Or if someone has a lot of advice, you can just say you appreciate it but that you don’t want to hear it. IT IS OK!!!!! So if you choose to formula feed, use cloth diapers, have a strict schedule, don’t have a strict schedule or whatever. It’s your choice and that is all that matters.
I know there is so much information to take in when preparing for a baby. But trust me! The effort you put in beforehand will help make the few couple of weeks easier for you and your partner. Checkout my Third Trimester Checklist for more to-dos!
Thanks for reading!