So often the focus on preparations during pregnancy are for the new baby or for during labor. Moms wash and fold miniscule socks, soft swaddle blankets, cutely designed onesies, and get all our baby gear ready to go months in advance. We think carefully about how we envision laboring, diving into books and birthing classes for tips and practice, writing up our birth plan….
But, don’t forget to think beyond labor and the baby!
Postpartum recovery is pretty crucial as well, for both baby and yourself as you transition into this new season of motherhood. Maybe it is your first baby, maybe it is your fifth like mine, but regardless it is important to make a plan so you have things on hand or have help in place. It actually took me until after welcoming our third child when I hit a horrible year of postpartum depression and anxiety (which went even deeper than the blues I experience with our second) that I realized just how important it is for my own mental health. With adding our fourth, I prepared better and spent as much time possible at home resting after birth– not trying to be supermom bouncing back to life fast. I learned that I needed to slow down and treasure this rare, short bonding time with my newborn and allow my body to heal. In the long run I had a much happier postpartum year as I felt healthier all around.
Here’s what is on my list of to-do’s for postpartum prep:
Create my postpartum plan
I found this super helpful printable that dives into things we need to think about in preparing. I love that it has worksheets to fill out so that you have a clear game plan and can communicate those expectations with your partner and momma village. You can download yours here free.
Gather necessities and pampering supplies
Things like various pads sizes for the bleeding that takes forever to finish, a heating pad to ease after pains and aches, over the counter pain reliever, arnica homeopathic tablets (a natural pain reliever), essential oil blends for cramping and hormonal changes, postpartum perineum spray, herbal baths, or padcicles are all things to pamper yourself and the lady parts after birth.
When not observing every inch of my newborn while they sleep or sleeping myself, I’m getting my entertainment lined up! Create your wish list of TV series to binge and movies on Netflix or Hulu, plus load up your reading device with books and magazines to read. If you are like my husband and I, who love board games, download a few gaming apps too. Carcassonne is an easy (aka not mentally challenging when you are an exhausted parent) and fun app we enjoy playing together.
Make a bedside postpartum basket
Having a basket nearby the bed or rocking chair for nursing sessions and baby-moon bed rest is so helpful! My midwife encourages at least 2 weeks of bed rest to help physically heal, encourage a strong breastfeeding relationship, plus to prevent uterus prolapse. However, it has so many emotional benefits as well, like minimizing postpartum depression. Keeping a basket of supplies like burp cloths, wipes, diaper cream, healthy snacks for the nursing munchies, vitamin supplements, pain reliever, essential oils, and things to entertain yourself helps keep necessities close by without having to get up too much.
Create a meal train website
Usually a sweet friend has made this for me in the past, but if no one steps up there is no shame is making it yourself! Take Them a Meal is a helpful website to schedule meals being brought to you for a few weeks by friends, family, church, or whoever wants to help. We’ve used it for the last three kids and it was an abundance of support to our family to eat well while I rested and we all transitioned (plus my husband doesn’t cook…)
Prepare freezer meals
Even with a meal train set up, it’s beneficial to have some meals you (or partner) to toss into a crock pot or oven for a healthy easy meal when you need it. Even 8 weeks later, you can feel exhausted with sleep deprivation or the baby always needs to nurse right when dinner needs to be made. This gives you an quick way to get it done with little time standing in the kitchen! Pinterest is your friend here to find the best freezer recipes, but in the past we have enjoyed having spaghetti (including the meat) done so just noodles need to be made, bbq chicken, beef stew, chicken tortilla soup, and chicken pot pie.
Set up help from the village
This time my husband has a glorious 6 weeks off with paternity leave (hurray!) so he will be my main go-to man for helping with our other kids and needs, like grocery shopping. However, even if your partner has time off it is helpful to recruit your village. Dad’s need a break too! Or, for when he returns back to work and you still need to take it easier.
While I may have most everything for our 5th addition, these last weeks of pregnancy are being spent preparing for our homebirth and for a restful postpartum. What would you add to the list?