Whether you’re just days away from your due date or only just discovered your pregnancy (congratulations either way!), you’re likely wondering what you can expect after you give birth. Understandably, your life will change massively!
Life as a new mom can be extremely busy; you’ve got ever-changing nap times, breast or bottle feeding, nappies, and finding time to take care of your own needs on top of all that. You can easily become overwhelmed during this time, so it’s good to prepare as best you can.
Here are a few things to expect and how you can best prepare for them so your new life with a baby starts as smoothly as possible:
What to Expect After Birth & How to Prepare
1. Don’t try to be superhuman!
We all hope that we’re going to take to being a mom like a duck to water – we’re going to be full of energy, get back into shape, be awake for every feeding, do our hair and makeup every day, get back to work as soon as possible or keep the house as clean as possible. If you’re shaking your head – you’re ahead of the rest of us! It’s normal to want to be supermom and keep on top of everything, but you need to understand that it’s okay to look for help during this time.
Make a list of names and numbers of people you can turn to when you’re struggling or have a question. This may include:
- Your mom/dad/guardian/mother-in-law/another parental figure
- Other friends and/or family members you can call on for help, advice, or just a chat
- Neighbors you’re close to
- Groups you’ve joined online
- Doctor(s), doula
- Other experts you may need to reach out to, such as physical therapists, lactation consultant, therapist, etc.
For the latter, you may never need those numbers or website addresses. But if you find yourself struggling, you’ll thank yourself for having spent 15 minutes doing the work to put that list together.
2. Make self-care in the weeks after birth easy
In the first few weeks postpartum, your body will go through a lot of changes. In some cases, new moms have to relearn how things work – your body has literally made another human being, so give it some grace! Prepare your home for your self-care, as well as your baby. Consider ensuring you’ve got:
- Sitz baths to be filled with hot water and sitz herbs. This can be healing for your urethra and any vaginal tearing.
- A donut-shaped cushion to sit on. Sitting down postpartum can be tricky, so eliminate this issue by having something comfy at the ready.
- High-waisted padded underwear. This can help wick away any postpartum bleeding or hold your pads in place.
- Medium-to-high compression shapewear – this isn’t just to help you feel better about your figure post-baby, it’s actually incredibly helpful in assisting your body to return to it’s normal shape and make you feel more comfortable. Our High Waisted Strapless Body Shaper is a perfect candidate for this, and we have many other suitable options should you want something with more or less coverage. We’ve got a complete guide you can watch here.
- Something to make going to the toilet easier. After having a baby, the last thing you’re going to want to do is to push, so have some prune juice or stool softeners to hand just in case.
- A heating pad. You’ll want to stay warm and comfortable, and an electric heating pad can help reduce discomfort. Cold packs are another good thing to have to hand.
- Make lists of books you can read on your phone (much easier to hold and read when holding a baby – Kindle Unlimited may be a good choice), invest in audiobooks, find new podcasts, and TV shows you can watch for comfort when you’re caring for your baby. There are some great podcasts out there for new moms, so find a few you like now so you can find comfort in others when you need it.
3. Don’t make plans until after you’ve had a day or two at home
The most effective way to ensure you can care for your baby is by being well-rested. You probably already have plans for how you’ll introduce your new baby to family and friends, but resist the urge to make plans until after you’ve got home. You can’t know now how good you’re going to feel, so delay setting dates or making plans until you’ve got the baby home.
4. Consider Buying a Journal
“What…?” You say. This may sound odd, but having a journal to hand to record how you feel and talk to yourself and think through how you feel is a good idea. You are going to have a huge identity shift, face struggles, and feel all over the place emotionally thanks to your hormones. You don’t need to write in it every day, but it’s a good way to wind down if you can’t get to sleep and just need some quiet time to reflect.
5. Sort Your Food Ahead of Time
Make room in the freezer, because it’s time to stock up on easy to heat up foods. If you’ve got friends and family around who want to help, ask them to make you meals and drop them to you after you give birth. This will give them an excuse to drop by, and you get a cooked meal out of it.
- Making and freezing meals you can reheat later
- Buy easy-to-eat frozen meals
- Consider investing in a meal delivery service for 2-4 weeks after your due date.
- Grab healthy-ish snacks – they don’t have to be perfect, but don’t binge on chips and chocolate!
This is going to be an exciting and stressful time as you recover and relax into your new role as a mom. Do all you can now to ensure you have everything you need so you can focus on yourself and your baby as you recover.