Getting Ready for Baby: Postpartum Checklist
With Reaghan, I really wasn't prepared in any way for the newborn stage or postpartum period. I tried to read a breastfeeding and sleep book and all the concepts felt totally over my head. I just couldn't wrap my mind around everything! Well, this resulted in a lot of unmet expectations (sometimes we figure out our expectations after they haven't been met!), disappointments and stress those first few months.
This time around I was determined to be prepared and of course knew from my own experience what would have been totally helpful to plan ahead for. I mentioned this to a newly pregnant friend the other day and she wanted to know my tips, so I thought I'd share my perspective for any mama's out there who want to prep well and make their postpartum life a little bit easier!
- Do you have any projects or deadlines that you need to plan ahead for? Thinking through these things can make all the difference especially if you'll be taking some time off from work to be able to rest at home with your new addition. Owning my own business, I know it's going to require a lot more boundaries since something can always be done from my phone and my laptop is never far away. I'm already thinking through content for the blog, social media, and streamlining my shop so that I can keep the ball rolling with little to no effort for the first 3 months.
- Some resources to help you out if you are a small business owner, blogger or just work from home:
- Schedule one last hair cut, manicure, and pedicure. I actually can't remember the last time I got a manicure, but it was probably for a wedding! Something about those newborn days and postpartum hormones warrants a little splurge in my book ;) I already scheduled a hair cut for a few weeks before baby is due, and will most likely get together with my mom or another pregnant friend to get our nails done around the same time. Never underestimate the power of just feeling "you" and a little bit pretty when everything else in life is all about baby!
- Purchase comfy pajamas and lounge or work out clothes that make you feel confident and beautiful. You'll have people coming over to visit often those first few weeks and I always want to look somewhat presentable but not have to get dressed for the day if I don't want to.
- Go through your closet before baby is born and remove all clothes that don't fit or don't make you feel beautiful and comfy. Think through nursing friendly tops and stock up on any nursing tanks or bras to make life easier.
HOME + FOOD
- Whether this is a regular practice for you or not, I would highly recommend hiring someone to deep clean the house before baby arrives. Your bump will be so big, that bending down to clean things will probably be last on your list of chores to do. Plus baby's immune system is so fragile those first 3 months, so a clean home is ideal. We were gifted with a certificate for this at my baby shower and I am so excited!
- Here's a list of all the food I'm making pre-baby to prepare. I didn't do this with my first, and there were plenty of nights where no one came with food and in the later months, I would completely forget to make dinner. I feel a little bit like I'm preparing for the end of the world or something.....or just having a newborn in the winter. #yikes
- Buckwheat waffles x2 (about 24 waffles)
- Banana Muffins (2 dozen)
- Lactation cookies (2 dozen)
- Bone broth and veggie broth
- No-bake energy balls or Protein balls (2 dozen)
- Slow Cooker Pork Ragu
- Dinner Soup
- Chicken Nuggets x3
- Sausage and Egg Burritos (2 dozen)
- Cilantro Lime Pesto Chicken Tacos x2
The following are all from my e-cookbook, Nourished:
- Meatloaf x2
- Curried Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Pot Pie x2
- Chicken with Creamy Leek and Mushroom Sauce x2
- Balsamic Baked Chicken Legs and Peppers
- Poor Man's Vodka Sauce x3
- Meatballs x3
- Spicy Sausage and Black Bean Soup x2
All of this should make about 18 dinners + some breakfasts, snacks and lunches for Reaghan and I.
- Along the lines of food, I'll be making a big trip to Costco to stock up on food essentials but also household essentials like paper plates, toilet paper, baby wipes, etc. No time for dishes with a newborn!
- Call insurance to double check on coverage and policies for baby and maternity. This was so helpful to know what was covered/isn't and to be reminded of the following...
- Mark your calendar for adding your newborn to insurance (you have until 30 days after delivery) and applying for social security.
- It's nice to have a plan and budget for these things before the exhaustion hits, as often times health insurance rates go up as your family grows.
SPIRITUAL + EMOTIONAL HEALTH
- Order a couple books to read while nursing. You might just be using one hand, so one on a Nook or iPad would be best. I spent WAY too much time on my phone when Reaghan was born. Mainly looking up sleep articles online and googling every question I had, and although I gained some good information, I look back at that time and realize how much anxiety it added to an already stressful transition for me. This time around, I want to be a lot more conscious of the fact that the phone is not the healthiest place for me to be spending hours and hours, and to have a couple good books to read while I'm up feeding or snuggling a baby. I wanted to find books that weren't heavy or too emotional, but would be thought provoking and refreshing. I've landed on For the Love by Jen Hatmaker and Hands Free Mama by Rachel Stafford.
- Pick a simple Bible study to go through. I highly recommend The Names of God by Ann Spangler. Each lesson is short, yet doesn't lack in depth.
- Find one or two lactation consultants and have their numbers on hand for the day of/after birth. We struggled with breastfeeding right from the start, and having gone home right away after delivering at the birth center, we felt so lost. This time, I'll know to have some great resources on call to help us get a great start.
- On that note, I plan to find a good breastfeeding book or class to take online. Lactation Link has some classes I'm really interested in, so I'm hoping to make that happen before baby arrives!